The Economics of Drug Abuse [Infographic]
The United States spends $300 billion on drugs – every year!
In a recovering economy, how do these astronomical costs add up? Approximately $100 billion is spent per year on the purchase of illicit substances like heroin, crystal meth, marijuana and cocaine by the 22.5 million current drug abusers in America. The resulting cost to the United States economy is double that amount, totaling $200 billion. These funds end up in the criminal justice system, labor participation programs, incarceration expenses and even hospital and emergency department visits.
So how much is $300 billion? It’s enough money to give every single person in the United States $950! The money could also be used to pay the entirety of 3 million students’ college tuitions, or to purchase Google – the world’s largest media company.
Most importantly, according to the United Nations, $30 billion per year is enough to end world hunger. The $300 billion spent per year in the United States on drug abuse is enough money to end world hunger for 10 years. And for every American drug abuser, that’s $13,333 that could be used instead to feed the poor and underprivileged. Since the average American family of four spends $751 per month on groceries, that’s enough money to feed them for almost a year and a half!
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