World Drug Traffic

December 13, 1972

Report Outline
Tide of drue abuse in united states
Extent of International Drug Trade
Efforts to Stem the Flow of Narcotics
Special Focus

Tide of drue abuse in united states

Rise in Heroin Addiction Despite Control Efforts

The United states is facing a drug epidemic, the scope of which seems to grow almost day by day. The number of known addicts in the country is rising, and the demand for narcotics and other dangerous drugs is expanding. Heroin addiction is now one of the nation's most serious social problems, characterized by President Nixon as “Public Enemy No. 1.” Its control requires an international effort. “America has the largest number of heroin addicts of any nation in the world,” the President has said. “And yet, America does not grow opium—of which heroin is a derivative—nor does it manufacture heroin, which is a laboratory process carried out abroad. This deadly poison in the American lifestream is, in other words, a foreign import.”

Federal anti-drug efforts have temporarily disrupted the flow of heroin into some parts of the country, but the prospects for breaking up the illicit international traffic in dangerous drugs seem dim. For one thing, the size of the American market holds immense profits for thousands here and abroad. Among all drug users in the United States, the heroin-addict population is currently estimated at 600,000, ten times as large as in 1960. Law-enforcement officials believe that 50 to 60 per cent of all street crimes and burglaries are drug-connected. A heroin addict needs up to $100 a day to feed his habit. Nationwide junkies spend several billion a year on drugs. Since most of their money is obtained through theft, and stolen items are fenced at a fraction of their real value, the actual cost is much higher. Including such secondary costs as property damage and time lost from work, the Nixon administration calculates the total bill at $18 billion a year, an amount equal to more than 7 per cent of the federal budget.

For the past two years, the government has given antidrugs programs a high priority. It has channeled more funds into existing agencies such as the Customs Bureau, the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs, and the Internal Revenue Service, and created new agencies such as the Drug Abuse Law Enforcement Office and the Special Action Office for Drug Abuse Prevention. In June 1971, President Nixon declared “war” on narcotics abuse, noting that “if we cannot destroy the drug menace in the United States, then it will surely destroy us.” Just before his re-election, Nixon exempted drug programs from anticipated federal budget cuts in the coming months.

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Dec. 13, 1972  World Drug Traffic
May 27, 1970  Heroin Addiction
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Drug Abuse
International Law and Agreements
Substance Abuse