at what costs?violence



Crimes caused by territorial disputes between rival drug dealers

"In 1988 in New York City, 85% of crack-related crimes were caused by the market culture associated with illicit crack sales, primarily territorial disputes between rival crack dealers."

Goldstein, P.J., Brownstein, H.H., Ryan, P.J. & Bellucci, P.A., "Crack and Homicide in New York City:
A Case Study in the Epidemiology of Violence," in Reinarman, C. and Levine, H. (eds.), Crack in America:
Demon Drugs and Social Justice (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1997), pp. 113-130


High costs lead to mostly acquisitive rather then violent crimes by drug addicts

Many prohibited drugs are very strongly addictive, as well as expensive. A serious heroin user needs to find say £50 per day to fund their habit, in cash. This sort of money is difficult to obtain by legitimate means, so they have to turn to crime. Nationally about 30% of persons arrested by the police are dependant upon one or more illegal drug, and about 32% of the proceeds of crime seem to be geared to the purchase of heroin, cocaine or crack. .... The main crimes committed are shoplifting (by far the greatest), selling drugs and burglary. One research project has shown that 1,000 addicts committed 70,000 criminal acts during a 90-day period prior to their intake for treatment. It is clear that the very high cost of drugs is caused by their illegality, and that these high costs are causing large amounts of acquisitive crime. Is this acceptable?"

Source: Chief police constable, Barry Shaw QPM. BA. (Hons), “UK Drug Policy Report
to The Cleveland Police Authority, Page 6


Enormous profits breeds organized crime

"...illegal drug trade was now a multi-billion pound industry ...having a turnover amounting to a staggering 8% of the total of all international trade. This amounts to over £400bn-the same as the global trade in oil and gas. Organised crime is involved in this trade for two reasons (i) vast profits can be made and (ii) legal businesses are excluded by definition. The profits to be made are truly enormous - the pharmaceutical price of heroin is less than £1 per gram, but the street price in the UK is about 80 times higher. At these sort of profit margins it is well worth while buying a gun to protect your investment - and a third of all firearms incidents committed in Cleveland in 1998 are demonstrably drug related. Organised crime gangs are every bit as difficult to stamp out as are terrorists, once they have taken root, and provided the market continues to exist. The best example of this is the mafia in the USA whose development was given an enormous boost by alcohol prohibition."

Source: Chief police constable, Barry Shaw QPM. BA. (Hons), “UK Drug Policy Report
to The Cleveland Police Authority, Page 6


Enormous profits breeds terrorism

"In 1994, Interpol's chief drugs officer, Iqbal Hussain Rizvi, told Reuters News Agency that "Drugs have taken over as the chief means of financing terrorism."

Source: Jawed Naqvi, Reuters (New Delhi), December 15, 1994
Canadian Foundation of Drug Policy


In an interview shortly after the September 11, 2001, attacks in the United States, Mr. John Thompson of the Mackenzie Institute, a Canadian think tank studying terrorism and organized crime, suggested that the extent to which terrorist groups finance themselves through drugs varies widely. "With the Islamic fundamentalists, (it is) maybe 25 to 30 per cent. It's probably the single biggest money earner."

Source: "Terrorists get cash from drug trade: Trafficking prime source
of funds for many groups", Ottawa Citizen, September 14, 2001
Canadian Foundation of Drug Policy


"Terrorists and criminals alike need a steady cash flow to operate. In the case of terrorists, where state sources of funding may be diminishing, drug trafficking is an attractive funding option. Increasingly, terrorist organizations are looking to criminal activity and specifically the drug trade as a source of funding. The FARC [the left-wing guerilla group in Colombia] is but one of many cases in point. It is estimated that drug trafficking activity generates between $400 and $600 million of tax free dollars a year for FARC guerrilla coffers."

Source: Raphael F. Perl, "Organized Crime, Drug Trafficking, and Terrorism in a Changing Global Environment,"
eyewitness statement before the US House of Representatives Judiciary Committee,
Subcommittee on Crime, December 13, 2000
Canadian Foundation for Drug Policy


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