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The Failure of the Overseas Drug War

By Harrison Dean

After spending over seven billion dollars, the U.S. Government has not only failed to stop the production of opium, but its production is at record highs. According to the BBC:

The special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction said the US had spent $7.6bn (£4.72bn) over 13 years trying to eradicate the plant.

A number of agencies gave to the funds aimed at supporting narcotics officers and helping farmers change livelihoods.

Despite this, Afghanistan grew 209,000 hectares of the plant in 2013.

A UN body says the value of this crop was nearly $3bn (£1.86bn), up 50% from 2012.

"With deteriorating security in many parts of rural Afghanistan and low levels of eradication of poppy fields, further increases in cultivation are likely in 2014," said the US inspector general, John Sopko.

This should come as no surprise to those who study economics. Economics and experience teach us that when the state bans a desired good or service, people still demand it, and they go to the black market to obtain it. This in turn leads to lucrative profits for drug cartels.


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