The White House Council of Economic Advisers released its analysis of the economic costs of illegal opioid use, related overdoses, and overdose mortality in November 2017. It reported a dramatically higher estimate than previous analyses, largely due to a change in methodology. Previous analyses had used a person's estimated lifetime earnings to place a dollar value on that person's life.
(Growth in State Spending on Corrections in the US) "State correctional spending patterns reflect the rise in the prison population that began in the early 1980’s and persisted until 2010.17 Expansion of the state prison population required increased spending for capital infrastructure, the state employee workforce, and the administrative needs of the judicial system. From fiscal 1986 to fiscal 2012, spending from state funds18 for corrections increased by 427 percent
(Reported Educational Achievement and Income of Drug Using Versus Non-Using Full-Time Workers)
" Workers with a college education had a lower prevalence of current illicit drug use compared with those without a college education. The prevalence of past month use of illicit drugs was lower among those with higher levels of education than those with less education (college graduate [5.7 percent] vs. less than high school [11.2 percent]) (Figure 2.6 and Table 2.3).
(Markups in Illegal Trade and Possible Impact of Legalization) "Markups in the illicit drug trade are orders of magnitude higher than markups for legal goods.
(Demand Elasticity) "When the price of an illicit drug changes, the quantity consumed by existing users may change and the total number of users may also respond. The percentage change in total consumption resulting from a 1 percent change in price is referred to as the demand elasticity.
(Estimated Value of US Methamphetamine Market) "A more recent study using a demand-side approach estimates that the annual retail value of the U.S. methamphetamine market is between $3 and $8 billion, with a best guess of $5 billion.12 The margin of error is large because the footprint of methamphetamine use does not match the footprint of the data collection system. Methamphetamine use in the United States is concentrated in certain regions, and it is not primarily an urban drug, whereas data collection systems are centered in urban areas.
(Distribution of Revenue from Illicit Drug Trafficking)
" While estimating the size of global and hemispheric drug markets presents tremendous challenges, evidence suggests that some two thirds of total revenues are earned at the final, retail level in consuming countries.
" Wholesalers and traffickers through transit countries account for another 20-25 percent of revenues, while just under 1 percent of total retail sales finds its way to drug cultivators in the Andes."
(State Expenditure Per Prison Inmate) According to the federal Bureau of Justice Statistics, in 2010, state corrections institutions spent $37.3 billion to imprison a total of 1,316,858 inmates. BJS estimates that the mean expenditures per capita was $28,323. There was a wide range in state spending: the bottom 25th percentile averaged only $21,417, the 50th percentile averaged $29,094, and the 75th percentile averaged $40,175.
(Spending on Prevention, Treatment and Research) "Only 2.4 percent of total federal and state substance-related spending in 2005 ($8.8 billion) was for prevention, treatment or research; only 1.9 percent ($7.2 billion) was for prevention and treatment.
(Effectiveness of Interdiction Spending) "In 2005, the federal government spent $2.6 billion to disrupt and deter the transport of illicit drugs into the United States. While international efforts to step up drug seizures may affect availability, price and consequences associated with a particular drug (i.e., cocaine or heroin), CASA was unable to find evidence that such strategies have an overall impact on reducing substance abuse and addiction or its costs to government."