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False Claims of "Success"


Drug War Defined

Failure to Stop Supply

Failure of Prisons

Measuring Results

Figures for

Texas News



"The real problem is that no affordable sum spent trying to stop smuggling has any effect on supply." 

"Since the early 1980s when Ronald Reagan launched his much-trumpeted war on drugs, their country has spent nearly $300 billion to stem the flow - with 'no discernible impact on either price or availability', as even the State Department admits." 

-- The Economist, 1997 

The Drug Enforcement Administration [DEA] is charged with stopping supply. 

Jack Lawn headed the DEA for five years under President Reagan. He has recently appeared on TV [Charlie Rose Show and the PBS show, FRONTLINE] to say the budget for drug law enforcement should be cut by 90 % because it's a waste of talented personnel and money. 

"My job is to chase flies through the dark all over South America." 

- DEA agent to former prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi 

Robert Stutman, a former high official with the (DEA) under Lawn and others, in The Christian Science Monitor, 10-6-00: 

"I think going after product is basically a foolish objective ... [the cartels] can afford to lose 90 percent of their product, probably 95 percent of their product, and still turn a profit. Yet, the basic concept of US government and most state drug wars is to go after product. Well, my three-year-old grandson knows that doesn't work." 

Nobel Prize winning economist Milton Friedman and a host of other economic gurus have been trying for 30 years to explain that it's as simple as understanding that you can't pass laws that overturn the law of supply and demand. 

To paraphrase one of the opponents of alcohol Prohibition, "Well, you can pass a law against gravity, but if you jump off the capitol to celebrate, we're still going to scrape you up with a shovel."

SURPLUS SUPPLY: The Fruits of Prohibition 

"The more we seize, the more they produce. In 30 years of anti drug work, I can tell you that law enforcement is not the answer." 

-- DEA agent, citing the agency's own statistics on the flow of cocaine (Houston Chronicle, 6-10-96 

Surplus supply is the natural economic response to drug seizures. To double or triple production of something that costs a penny but sells for a dollar is easy. 

The drug lord's story: a broad analogy 

A drug lord needed to supply his customers' demand for 100 boxes. Years ago, he shipped 120 boxes. The authorities would seize about 4 boxes, the customers got their 100 and 16 boxes would be left for surplus.

As citizens called for more seizures, the money and men allotted to seize those drugs multiplied, The drug lord knew all this, anticipated losses and produced surplus drugs in advance. 

The drug lord now ships 200 boxes. The authorities seize about 20 boxes, the customers still get 100 and 80 boxes are left for surplus. (Surplus can be stored in safe houses in hub cities like Houston or Atlanta until needed.)


The drug lord has produced a huge surplus of a product at little cost, increasing his evil influence and ecological damage in the producing country. 

The amount of drugs seized, the tax dollars wasted and the amount of surplus drugs that can leak out to children have all been increased by 500%.

The public celebrates the media's news reports and officials crow. No one seems to relalize that Catch 22 is alive and well and that they have just made the supply problem considerably worse. 

The drug users get 100% of the desired drug as usual.


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