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Traffic - The Real Drug Deal
Part 2: Statistics from the War on Drugs 
 More of this Feature
• Part 1: Big Seizures Mark Jan. 2001
 Join the Discussion
"I not only believe but know that marijuana should be legalized for medical use but also for entertaining use also."

"Doctors are able to dispense medicine for pain without GROWING that stuff that is wrecking havoc all over the world."

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• 'Traffic' Flows
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Traffic Wreck
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Traffic - Movie Web Site

The Real-life War on Drugs
Since 1993, the U.S. war against illegal drugs has been coordinated by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP). The director of the ONDCP plays the real-life role of America's Drug Czar, a spot currently held by Deputy Director Donald R. Vereen Jr., M.D., M.P.H. Original Drug Czar Barry R. McCaffrey served during the Clinton Administration from 1993-2000.

Under the coordination of the ONDCP, the following federal agencies play key enforcement and advisory roles in drug fighting:

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services; Federal Bureau of Investigation; Bureau of Justice Assistance; Drug Enforcement Agency;

United States Customs Service; National Institute on Drug Abuse; U.S. Coast Guard

According to the U.S. Customs Service, the following quantities of marijuana, cocaine and heroin have been seized along our southwestern border, Florida and Puerto Rico:

Marijuana Seized (Pounds) FY 1997 - 726,199; FY 1998 - 954,936; FY 1999 - 1,179,031; FY 2000 - 1,288,650

Cocaine Seized (Pounds) FY 1997 - 157,924; FY 1998 - 157,035; FY 1999 - 160,353; FY 2000 - 149,844

Heroin Seized (Pounds) FY 1997 - 2,445; FY 1998 - 2,953; FY 1999 - 1,919; FY 2000 - 2,552 

Assets Seized - During 1997, the latest reported period, U.S. law enforcement agencies also seized $511,680,150 in illegal drug trade related cash and property. (Source: ONDCP)

Drugs Not Seized - If that much illegal dope is being seized, how much is getting through? No statistics.

Price of the War - Since spending $1.5 billion in 1985, the federal budget devoted to drug-fighting has increased to over $17.7 billion in FY 2000. (Source: ONDCP)

Price of the Drugs - If you sell it, they will pay... $10.41 for a gram of marijuana, $169.25 for a gram of cocaine and $1,798.80 for a gram of heroin. (Source: DEA Drug Buys & Seizures 1998)

Can the War Be Won? - A strange thing happens at the end of Traffic, the good guys lose. The Drug Czar played by Michael Douglas declares we cannot win the War on Drugs because the enemy -- is us -- the American family.

Is the War on Drugs doomed? In his recent article 'Traffic' Flows, Civil Liberties Guide J.D. Tuccille suggests it may be. 

In 'Traffic' Flows, Tuccille also addresses one ugly aspect of war missing from Traffic -- peril from friendly fire. "And an important aspect of the War on Drugs left almost untouched by Traffic," he writes, "is the fate of innocent people sucked into the maw of the great crusade, whose lives are disrupted by the mistakes and greed of the drug warriors."

Waging Your Own War
Because policing the borders is a daunting task, the U.S. Customs Service seeks the help of the public in the fight against drugs and drug smuggling. The public is urged to report suspected drug smuggling activity to the nearest U.S. Customs Office or call the 24 hour tipline at: 1-800-BE-ALERT.

You will remain anonymous and could receive a cash award for your information.


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