Economics of Drug Policy and the Drug War
- Federal Drug Control Spending by Function FY2013 through FY2017
- Estimated Federal Drug Control Spending By Function for Fiscal Years 2003-2017
Page last updated June 6, 2020 by Doug McVay, Editor/Senior Policy Analyst.
21. Spending on Substance Abuse and Addiction
" The federal government spent $238.2 billion on substance abuse and addiction or 9.6 percent of the federal budget. If substance abuse and addiction were its own budget category, it would rank sixth in size--behind social security, national defense, income security, Medicare and other health programs.
National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, "Shoveling Up II: The Impact of Substance Abuse on State Budgets" (New York, NY: CASA, May 2009), p. 2.
22. 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
"State Spending for Corrections: Long-Term Trends and Recent Criminal Justice Policy Reforms," National Association of State Budget Officers (Washington, DC: NASBO, Sept. 11, 2013), p. 4.
23. 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.
Kyckelhahn, Tracey, "State Corrections Expenditures, FY 1982-2010" (Washington, DC: US Dept. of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics, Dec. 2012), NCJ239672, Table 2, p. 4.
24. State Drug Reforms As Cost-Saving Mechanisms
"In general, states are targeting criminal justice reforms to address the cost drivers of correctional budgets in such a way that public safety is not put at risk. For example, 21 states have amended drug offense classification and penalties since 2010.26 Justice reforms that seek incarceration alternatives for drug offenders have demonstrated cost savings and improved outcomes, especially for non-violent drug offenders. Texas appropriated $240 million in the 2008-2009 biennium for correctional programs focusing on treatment, rehabilitation and enhanced local supervision and discretion. The state’s reforms led to $443 million in estimated savings that were utilized for other areas of the corrections budget.27 Justice reinvestment reforms are relying more on local government discretion as well, to enhance probation and parole oversight. Twenty states have enacted graduated sanctions for technical parole violations to help states reduce prison costs and the number of inmates.28
"State Spending for Corrections: Long-Term Trends and Recent Criminal Justice Policy Reforms," National Association of State Budget Officers (Washington, DC: NASBO, Sept. 11, 2013), p. 5.
25. 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. (Table 6.1) For every dollar federal and state governments spend to prevent and treat substance abuse and addiction, they spend $59.83 in public programs shoveling up its wreckage, despite a substantial and growing body of scientific evidence confirming the efficacy of science-based interventions and their enormous cost-saving potential."
National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, "Shoveling Up II: The Impact of Substance Abuse on State Budgets" (New York, NY: CASA, May 2009), p. 45.