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(NationalSentinel) A new study by the non-partisan RAND Corporation helps explain why it’s going to be difficult, if not impossible, to ever stop the illicit drug trade: It’s worth tens of billions of dollars per year.
Researchers at the think tank wrote in their report that illegal narcotics generate some $150 billion annually, or as much as the amusement and gambling industry generated in 2016.
Analysis - Drug - Use - Spending - Data
The exhaustive analysis of drug use and spending data contained in the report indicates that there are about 30 million chronic drug users in the U.S. alone as of 2016, with major increases in the number of methamphetamine, marijuana, and heroin users. The estimated revenue from all of this drug use is $150 billion a year, researchers note in the report.
The Washington Free Beacon adds:
Estimates - Data - Arrestee - Drug - Abuse
The estimates are based primarily on data from the Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring (ADAM) program, an annual survey that tracked drug use behaviors among male arrestees between 2007 and 2013.
The RAND team then applied data from other surveys and estimates of drug use—including overdose death figures and rates of drug seizure among police—to bootstrap the national number of chronic users and the amount they annually spend on drugs.
RAND - Notes - Drug - Market - Buyers
RAND notes that analyzing the illicit drug market is extremely difficult, mostly because buyers and sellers have an interest in remaining secretive. As such, the report’s estimates contain very large confidence intervals, with certainty falling off after 2013.
“In other words, they are just a guess at magnitude, albeit the most certain...
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