Breaking News:Dangerous Delays: What Washington State (Re)Teaches Us About Cash and Cannabis Store Robberies [REPORT]

In the Trenches

Protest Planned for NJ Medical Marijuana Patient Who Faces Seven Years in Prison

49 Rancocas Rd.
Mt. Holly, NJ 08060
United States

NYPD Officers Regularly Plant Drugs on Innocent People, Former Detective Testifies

Drug Policy Alliance

For Immediate Release: October 13, 2011
Contact: Tony Newman or Anthony Papa


Former NYPD Detective Testifies that Police Regularly Plant Drugs on Innocent People to Meet Arrest Quota

DPA Statement: Drug War Corrupts Police, Ruins Lives, Destroys Trust Between Law Enforcement and Community


Stephen Anderson, a former NYPD narcotics detective, testified yesterday that he regularly saw police plant drugs on innocent people as a way to meet arrest quotas. Mr. Anderson is testifying under cooperation with prosecutors after he was busted for planting cocaine on four men in a bar in Queens. "It was something I was seeing a lot of, whether it was from supervisors or undercovers and even investigators," said Anderson.

"One of the consequences of the war on drugs is that police officers are pressured to make large numbers of arrests, and it's easy for some of the less honest cops to plant evidence on innocent people," said gabriel sayegh of the Drug Policy Alliance. "The drug war inevitably leads to crooked policing – and quotas further incentivize such practices."

The NYPD has also come under heat recently for arresting more than 50,000 people last year for low-level marijuana offenses – 86% of whom are black and Latino – making marijuana possession the number one offense in the City. Most of these arrests are the result of illegal searches by the NYPD, as part of its controversial stop-and-frisk practices. Marijuana was decriminalized in New York State in 1977 – and that law is still on the books. Smoking marijuana in public or having marijuana visible in public, however, remains a crime.  Most people arrested for marijuana possession are not smoking in public, but simply have a small amount in their pocket, purse or bag. Often when police stop and question a person, they say "empty your pockets" or "open your bag." Many people comply, even though they’re not legally required to do so. If a person pulls mari­juana from their pocket or bag, it is then "open to public view." The police then arrest the person.

Last month, in a rare admission of NYPD wrongdoing, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly ordered all officers to stop charging people with misdemeanor marijuana violations based on improper searches. The new policy directive comes on the heels of a 2011 report released by DPA highlighting the enormous costs of marijuana arrests in New York and a public pressure campaign by advocacy groups and elected officials.

"Whether the issue is planting drugs (like this instance) or falsely charging people for having marijuana in public view (as is the case with the majority of marijuana arrests in NYC) the drug war corrupts police, ruins lives, and destroys trust between law enforcement and the communities that they serve," said sayegh.

New York, NY
United States

Founding Statement: The European Network of People Who Use Drugs

On Wednesday 5th October, European drug user activists from 10 countries (1) met in Marseille to discuss the devel

Marseille, U13

Patient Advocates Accuse Obama of Hypocritical, Aggressive Policy on Medical Marijuana


Americans for Safe Access
For Immediate Release: 
October 7, 2011
Contact: ASA Media Liaison Kris Hermes or ASA Chief Counsel Joe Elford

Patient Advocates Accuse Obama of Hypocritical, Aggressive Policy on Medical Marijuana
Millions of taxpayer dollars spent undermining state and local medical marijuana laws

Sacramento, CA -- The Obama Justice Department (DOJ) held a press conference in Sacramento today announcing an array of enforcement actions against medical marijuana producers and distributors as well as landlords throughout California. Patient advocates are calling President Obama's enforcement effort harmful and unnecessary, representing a stark contradiction to his pledge of disengagement in medical marijuana states. The DOJ claimed it was carrying out civil and criminal enforcement actions against medical marijuana providers and sending "warning" letters to property owners leasing to dispensary operators.

"Aggressive tactics like these are a completely inappropriate use of prosecutorial discretion by the Obama Administration," said Joe Elford, Chief Counsel with Americans for Safe Access (ASA), the country's largest medical marijuana advocacy group. "President Obama must answer for his contradictory policy on medical marijuana." On the campaign trial and in the White House, President Obama pledged that he was "not going to be using Justice Department resources to try to circumvent state [medical marijuana] laws."

This attack is the latest in a long line of federal intimidation tactics employed over the past few months by such agencies as Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Department of Justice (DOJ). President Obama's DOJ has conducted well over 150 federal raids in at least 7 states since taking office and his U.S. Attorneys sent letters earlier this year threatening local and state officials in 10 states with criminal prosecution if they adopted proposed medical marijuana laws.

By sending threatening letters to landlords, President Obama is taking a cue from his predecessor George W. Bush, whose Justice Department sent similar letters to more than 300 property owners throughout California in 2007. Despite the seriousness of letters sent by the DOJ under Bush, no criminal or forfeiture enforcement actions were ever pursued. It's unclear if the federal government has the resources or inclination to act on these new threats in a significant way, but for the price of postage they have engaged in wholesale intimidation of the medical marijuana community.

Advocates argue that states should be allowed to enforce their own public health laws, including those concerning medical marijuana. "It is unconscionable that the federal government would override local and state laws to enforce its will over the will of the people," said ASA spokesperson Kris Hermes. "States must be allowed to enforce their own laws without harmful interference from the Obama Administration." California Attorney General Kamala Harris was apparently not warned by the DOJ about the heightened federal enforcement effort before today.

The DOJ enforcement effort comes as hundreds of demonstrations against Wall Street are continuing to occur across the country. These protests are, at least in part, questioning the federal government's allocation of limited resources. Meanwhile, President Obama has chosen to expend federal resources to crack down on medical marijuana in states that have legalized its use. "By shutting down dispensaries, the Obama Administration is not only pushing legal patients into the illicit market," continued Hermes, "it's also wasting taxpayer dollars at a time of fiscal crisis."

Further information:
Redacted example of U.S. Attorney letter to landlords of California medical marijuana dispensaries:

# # #

With over 50,000 active members in all 50 states, Americans for Safe Access (ASA) is the largest national member-based organization of patients, medical professionals, scientists and concerned citizens promoting safe and legal access to cannabis for therapeutic use and research. ASA works to overcome political and legal barriers by creating policies that improve access to medical cannabis for patients and researchers through legislation, education, litigation, grassroots actions, advocacy and services for patients and the caregivers.

United States

Race & Justice News: Blacks Three Times as Likely as Whites to be Searched in Traffic Stops




In This Issue:

  • "The collapse of American justice" » GO
  • Alabama prison refuses to allow book on treatment of Southern blacks » GO
  • Blacks three times as likely as whites to be searched in traffic stops » GO
  • Reevaluating explanations for racial disparities » GO
  • Upcoming Events » GO

    Search our Clearinghouse of over 450 books, articles, and reports on racial disparity in the criminal justice system.


Upcoming Events

The Sentencing Project's 25th Anniversary Celebration

Criminal Justice 2036

October 11, 2011. Washington, DC.

The Sentencing Project is hosting a 25th anniversary celebration featuring a half-day forum, Criminal Justice 2036, at the National Press Club. Leading academics and practitioners will be describing a vision for the criminal justice system 25 years from now and strategies to achieve that vision.

Centerforce 2011 Summit

"Causes and Consequences of Racial Disparity in the Criminal Justice System"

October 23-24, 2011. San Francisco, CA.

Marc Mauer will be the keynote speaker at the National Summit of Centerforce, a national leader in providing programming to incarcerated people and their loved ones.

2011 University of Pennsylvania Law Review Symposium

The Future of Sentencing: Rhetoric and Reality

October 28-29, 2011. Philadelphia, PA.

The sentencing symposium sponsored by the University of Pennsylvania Law School will include leading scholars and practitioners in a panel discussion on "The War on Drugs and Racial Justice."

Contact Us

Do you have a contribution or idea for Race & Justice News? Send an email to The Sentencing Project.



The Sentencing Project
1705 DeSales Street, NW
8th Floor
Washington, D.C. 20036


October 7, 2011

Race & Justice News


The late law professor William J. Stuntz investigates what he calls "the collapse of American justice" in Salon. The article examines  America's high incarceration rate, and assesses the role of official discretion, discrimination against minority suspects and victims, and the swing toward harsh punishment as the main factors leading to the justice system's failure.

Stuntz argues that laws that turn large segments of the population into offenders, such as speeding and drug laws, provide police officers with excessive official discretion that contributes to racial profiling. Stuntz states that, "too much law amounts to no law at all: when legal doctrine makes everyone an offender, the relevant offenses have no meaning independent of law enforcers' will," and points to the fact that blacks are nine times more likely to be arrested for drug use than whites, despite both groups having similar rates of drug use.

Direct election of many judges and prosecutors, coupled with the increased electoral power of suburbs and their relative distance from inner city problems, is also identified as an explanation for increased racial disparities.


The New York Times reports that an inmate is suing the Alabama Department of Corrections for denying him access to a book that details the plight of Southern African Americans during the time between the end of the Civil War and World War II.

The Kilby Correctional Facility reportedly would not allow Mark Melvin to read Slavery by Another Name because it was deemed to be "incendiary" and a "security threat." Officials claimed that the book, which explores the convict leasing system, which became nearly indistinguishable from slavery, could incite “violence based on race, religion, sex, creed, or nationality, or disobedience toward law enforcement officials or correctional staff.”

The book's author, Wall Street Journal reporter Douglas A. Blackmon, calls that claim "absurd," and Melvin's lawyer argues that the withholding of the book is essentially a reflection of the country's refusal to own up to its racial history.


A special report by the Bureau of Justice Statistics has found that black drivers in 2008 were three times as likely to have their cars searched during traffic stops as whites. The study, which looked at contact between citizens and law enforcement, also found that traffic stops involving blacks were roughly twice as likely to result in a search as those involving Hispanics.

The survey showed that African Americans were slightly more likely to face multiple contacts with police officers, but that blacks were about as likely to be pulled over in traffic stop as whites and Hispanics. However, when pulled over blacks were more likely than whites and Hispanics to be arrested, while both blacks and Hispanics were more likely to receive tickets than whites. Blacks were also more likely to have force used or threatened against them by police officers.


Darnell F. Hawkins attempts to sort through explanations for the racial disparities present in the American criminal justice system in light of declining crime rates, and criticizes academics for failing to make significant progress in producing cogent theories.

In Things Fall Apart: Revisiting Race and Ethnic Differences in Criminal Violence amidst a Crime Drop he argues that the presence of constant racial disparities in the criminal justice system despite drops in crime rates and changes in social conditions has undermined many theories meant to explain racial disparities. Much of this, according to Hawkins, is due to the tendency of researchers to rely heavily on quantitative skills and narrow variables and subjects.

The use of more encompassing theories, such as Robert Blauner's internal colonialism framework, is offered as a possible path forward in answering longstanding questions about racial disparities in the criminal justice system.


Back to top ^

The Sentencing Project is a national, nonprofit organization engaged in research and advocacy for criminal justice reform.


What's New @ Drug War Facts, Volume 1, Issue 5

Posted in:


WHAT'S NEW @ Drug War Facts, Volume 1, Issue 5

WHAT'S NEW @ Drug War Facts

Volume 1, Issue 5
September 2011


FEATURE ARTICLE: 9/11 and the War on Drugs

September 11, 2011 marked the 10th anniversary of the tragic events that now comprise the universal acronym 9/11. In years that followed this incomprehensible attack, a shocked, scared and angry nation looked for answers. Why did this happen? Who was to blame?

A 2006 University of Pittsburgh Law Review article explained, "Well before the twenty-first century, the 9/11/01 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, and the resulting War on Terror, the country and Supreme Court already had been fighting another war for thirty years—the so-called 'War on Drugs'" (1)

By 2001, 'drugs' had become a societal villain. Notably, that year marked the 30th anniversary of Richard Nixon's declaration of War on Drugs, "America’s public enemy number one in the United States is drug abuse. In order to fight and defeat this enemy, it is necessary to wage a new, all-out offensive." (2)

The Transform Drug Policy Foundation explained the mindset that bridged 'drugs' to terrorism, "Like the war on terror, the war on drugs is framed as a response to an exceptional, existential threat to our health, our security, and indeed the very fabric of society. The 'Addiction to narcotic drugs' is portrayed as an 'evil' the international community has a moral duty to 'combat' because it is a 'danger of incalculable gravity' that warrants a series of (otherwise publicly unacceptable) extraordinary measures." (3)

In the wake of 9/11, Congress passed the PATRIOT Act to combat these two now conflated 'evils.' "This legislation substantially increased the authority of the government in surveillance, border security, terrorism policing, money laundering policing, and intelligence gathering," read a 2011 Drexel University Law Review article. (4)

The RAND Corporation mapped this new web of federal authority. "Drug-related activities in the United States span a number of agencies," which investigate and prosecute "drug, alien, and weapon smuggling, as well as terrorism-related smuggling." (5)(6)

However, The 9/11 Commission Report released in 2004 saw the connection between drugs and terrorism differently, "Although the FBI’s counterterrorism budget tripled during the mid-1990s, FBI counterterrorism spending remained fairly constant between fiscal years 1998 and 2001. In 2000, there were still twice as many agents devoted to drug enforcement as to counterterrorism." (7)

The FBI's "priorities were driven at the local level by the field offices, whose concerns centered on traditional crimes such as white-collar offenses and those pertaining to drugs and gangs. Individual field offices made choices to serve local priorities, not national priorities." (7)

The report went on to question the link between the laundering of drug money and the terrorist attacks, "While the drug trade was a source of income for the Taliban, it did not serve the same purpose for al Qaeda, and there is no reliable evidence that Bin Ladin was involved in or made his money through drug trafficking." (7)

The final chapters of The 9/11 Commission Report recommended a Global Strategy to fight terrorism. The Commission's strategy unilaterally excluded drugs and the drug war from all Recommendations. Drugs as a causative factor for 9/11 and their connection terrorism was nominal to non-existent.


This article was written in loving memory of the 2,977 people who lost their lives as a result of 9/11.

(1) Ashdown, Gerald G., "The Blueing of America: The Bridge Between the War on Drugs and the War on Terrorism," University of Pittsburgh Law Review, Summer 2006.

(2) "Ending the Drug War: a Dream Deferred," Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, June 2011.

(3) "The War on Drugs: Undermining Human Rights," from the "Count the Costs: 50 Years of the War on Drugs," Transform Drug Policy Foundation, 2011.

(4) Sciullo, Nick J., "The Ghost in the Global War on Terror: Critical Perspectives and Dangerous Implications for National Security and the Law," Drexel Law Review, Spring 2011.

(5) "The Challenge of Domestic Intelligence in a Free Society: A Multidisciplinary Look at the Creation of a U.S. Domestic Counterterrorism Intelligence Agency," RAND Corporation, 2009.

(6) RAND Corporation graphical map of U.S. agencies involved counter-terrorism or counter-drug/money laundering.

(7) "The 9/11 Commission Report: Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States," National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, 2004.



The URLs and can now both be used to reference Drug War Facts. In other words, both URLs redirect to

Two new URLs, same great source of reliable, fact-based information on drugs and drug policy — 1,700+ Facts (direct quotes) drawn from over 800 sources.



Six new sub-chapters of the Pregnancy Chapter in Drug War Facts offer Facts concerning the use of these substances during pregnancy:

"Pregnancy - Alcohol"

"Pregnancy - Cocaine and Crack"

"Pregnancy - Marijuana"

"Pregnancy - Methamphetamine"

"Pregnancy - Opiates"

"Pregnancy - Tobacco"

"Interdiction - Drugs and Terrorism"
This new sub-chapter of the [Drug] Interdiction Chapter addresses the conflation of drugs with terrorism in memory of the tragic events that occurred on September 11, 2001 as noted in the Feature Article.

"Environment - Mycoherbicides"
Mycoherbicides are highly toxic fungi that have been tested and suggested for use in eradicating drug crops, even though they contain chemical toxins that run counter to the United Nations Biological Weapons Convention.

"Cocaine & Crack - Coca Leaf"
There are substantial differences between the natural, relatively safe coca leaf grown in the Andes and the sometimes deadly processed cocaine and crack, but the two share one commonality - they're both illegal.



"America’s Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being," Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics, 2011.
A wealth of statistics on the status of children in the United States.

"TANF Policy Brief," CLASP, February 2011.
The issues concerning the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program and its mandatory drug testing program.

"Neutralizing the Gendered Collateral Consequences of the War on Drugs," New York University School of Law, April 2011.
The impact on women who are disproportionately impacted by sanctions related to felony drug convictions.

"Risks of Using Biological Agents in Drug Eradication: A briefing paper with emphasis on human health," The Sunshine Project, 2001.
The use of pathogenic fungi to forcibly eradicate drug crops and the consequences of such use.

"Coca yes, cocaine, no? Legal options for the coca leaf," Transnational Institute, May 2006.
Overview of the Bolivia government's attempt to exempt coca leaf from the 1961 Single Convention Treaty.



- "Provisions of Selected Federal Law and the Corresponding Benefits That May Be Denied to Certain Drug Offenders"
Displays the various government programs that deny federal benefits based on drug convictions or suspected drug use.
United States Government Accountability Office, September 2005.

"Federal Agencies that Investigate and Enforce Drug Laws"
Displays agencies of the United States Government that investigate, collect information, conduct surveillance and enforce laws concerning the trafficking and money laundering of illicit drugs. This list may not be all inclusive.
RAND Corporation, 2009.



Each September, the "Crime in the United States" data from the FBI Uniform Crime Report and the National Survey on Drug Uses and Health (NSDUH) estimates from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration are released. These tables in the Crime and Drug Usage Chapters have been updated to add 2010 statistics.

- "Total, marijuana and drug arrests by year"
"Although the intent of a 'War on Drugs' may have been to target drug smugglers and 'King Pins,' over half (52.1%) of the 1,638,846 total 2010 arrests for drug abuse violations were for marijuana, a calculated total of 853,839. Of those, an estimated 750,591 people (45.8%) were arrested for marijuana possession alone. From 1996-2010, there were 10.1 million arrests for marijuana possession and 1.4 million arrests for the sales and trafficking of marijuana, equaling a total of 11.5 million marijuana arrests during that fifteen year time frame."
"Crime in the United States 2010," FBI Uniform Crime Report, (Narrative by Mary Jane Borden), September 2011.

- "Marijuana arrests percent share of total drug arrests by year"
"This table shows the growing dominance of marijuana arrests among total drug arrests in the U.S., rising from a percentage of 39.9% of total drug arrests in 1995 to 52.1% of such arrests in 2010."
"Crime in the United States 2010," FBI Uniform Crime Report, (Narrative by Mary Jane Borden), September 2011.

- "Drug and marijuana arrests percent change over prior year"
"Total Arrests in the United States have ranged between 13.1 million and 15.3 million over the fifteen year period (1996-2010), with the annual percent change for that time span averaging -0.9%. ... The percentage change values for marijuana arrests confirm their upward trend. Total marijuana arrests in 2010 (853,839) were +45% higher than those in 1995 (588,964)."
"Crime in the United States 2010," FBI Uniform Crime Report, (Narrative by Mary Jane Borden), September 2011.

- "NSDUH - Percentage change in usage by substance"
"If the stated goals [of the 2003 National Drug Control Strategy] were a 10% reduction in two years, five years or nine years from 2002, it can safely be said that the plan fell short of its goals, for usage of the aforementioned substances grew in almost all categories during all of the time frames covered in this table with a few notable exceptions."
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, (Narrative by Mary Jane Borden), September 2011.

- "NSDUH - Lifetime (any) usage by substance"
Note: "Lifetime" use means use of a listed drug at least once.
Through 2010, nine years from the baseline year of 2002, lifetime" illicit drug use had increased by +10.4% to an estimated 119.5 million users or 47.1% (almost half) of the defined population. "Lifetime" users of marijuana, the most widely used illicit drug, grew to 106 million or 41.9% of the defined population. ... At respective rates of +56.7% and +17.4%, "Ecstasy" and "Pain Relievers" experienced the fastest growth among all illicit drugs."
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, (Narrative by Mary Jane Borden), September 2011.

- "NSDUH - Monthly 'current' usage by substance"
Note: "Monthly" use means use of a listed drug at least once per month.
"Through 2010, monthly users of all illicit drugs had increased to 22.6 million at rate of +15.9% since 2002. Monthly marijuana users in 2010 equaled 17.3 million, reflecting an increase of +19.1% over 2002. The two drug categories experiencing the fastest monthly user population growth between 2002 and 2010 were “Heroin” at +44% and "Pain Relievers" at +16.5%."
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, (Narrative by Mary Jane Borden), September 2011.



Approximately once per week, Drug War Facts Editor Mary Jane Borden contributes a 3-minute segment to the Drug Truth Network's 420 Drug War News The transcripts of these segments are also posted to the DrugSense Blog at

7/3/11 DWF segment for Drug Truth Network - What is the Posse Comitatus Act?

7/6/11 DWF segment for Drug Truth Network - Does the military participate in the drug war?

7/11/11 DWF segment for Drug Truth Network - Has Swiss drug policy been effective?

7/27/11 DWF segment for Drug Truth Network - What is the Single Convention Treaty? - *50th Drug Truth Network segment!

8/3/11 DWF segment for Drug Truth Network - What is the difference between coca leaf and cocaine?

8/20/11 DWF segment for Drug Truth Network - How many parents use marijuana?

9/11/11 DWF segment for Drug Truth Network - What was the Rainbow Farm?



Number of Parents who Use Marijuana, Mary Jane Borden, August 2011.
(2010 - number of parents and children who use marijuana) "A projection of the number of parents who use cannabis can be computed by comparing U.S. Census estimates with data from the Monitoring the Future study.

"The U.S. Census estimates that families in households with minor children - married and single parent male or female - comprised roughly 62 million persons in 2010. An average of the percentage use figures in the 2010 Monitoring the Future study indicate that around 15% of those within the childbearing years of age 20-35 consume cannabis monthly, with about 5% being daily users. Daily use likely equates to medical use. Simple multiplication of these two percentages times the estimated 62 million persons heading family households places the number of marijuana using parents in the United States as high as 9.5 million and patient parents near 3 million.

"The U.S. Census also estimates the number of children ages 12-17 at 24.8 million. Monitoring the Future projects the percentage of adolescents who currently use cannabis at 13.8%. The result of multiplying the two figures is roughly 3.4 million young people who use cannabis at least monthly."


"Pursuing the Perfect Mother: Why America's Criminalization of Maternal Substance Abuse is Not the Answer," Pace Law Faculty Publications, 2008.
(pregnancy - policies toward pregnant women) "The American “fetal protection” movement is unique among developed and developing nations. While other nations also have populations of poor women whose lives are highly dysfunctional or who are addicted to alcohol and other drugs, only in the United States are these women treated as criminals or civilly committed based on their conduct while pregnant."

"Doublespeak and the War on Terrorism," CATO Institute, September 2006.
(prison - writ of habeas corpus) "By way of background, the writ of habeas corpus is a venerable legal procedure that allows a prisoner to get a hearing before an impartial judge. If the jailer is able to supply a valid legal basis for the arrest and imprisonment at the hearing, the judge will simply order the prisoner to be returned to jail. But if the judge discovers that the imprisonment is illegal, he has the power to set the prisoner free. For that reason, the Framers of the American Constitution routinely referred to this legal procedure as the “Great Writ” because it was considered one of the great safeguards of individual liberty."



Drug War Facts provides reliable information with applicable citations on important public health and criminal justice issues. A project of Common Sense for Drug Policy http://www.csdp.orgDrug War Facts is updated continuously by its Editor, Mary Jane Borden. Its mission is to offer useful facts, cited from authoritative sources, to a debate that is often characterized by myths, error, emotion and dissembling. It is CSDP's belief that in time an informed society will correct its errors and generate wiser policies.

Drug War Facts consists of over 1,700 Facts in 50 chapters covering all aspects of the policies concerning illicit drugs, from the "Addictive Properties of Popular Drugs" to "Women and the Drug War." There is also a multi-chapter section on "International Policies and Trends," covering Australia, Canada, the European Union, and the Russian Federation.

Facts consist of direct quotes from government reports, peer-reviewed journals, think tank analyses, and other authoritative sources. Accompanying each quote is its bibliographic citation along with (whenever possible) a link to a PDF of the source document. Drug War Factscitations now link to over 800 different reports.

Each Fact is also preceded by two scan reading features in parenthesis. The first feature is the "data year." This denotes the year represented by the respective statistic, as in "drug usage in 2009" [example: (2009)]. The subject matter of the Fact may be included in parenthesis as well [example: (2010 - U.S. drug control budget)]. A subject matter descriptor in parenthesis and italic precedes research facts: [example: (cannabis, alcohol, and driving)].



Table of Contents:

Recent Facts (those recently added to the database):

Drug War Facts 2007 edition in hardcopy:

To Subscribe to this newsletter:


Questions, comments or suggestions for additions and modifications to Drug War Facts are most welcome and may be addressed to Mary Jane Borden at [email protected].


Drug War Facts


"No More Drug War" Rally Update

Hey "No More Drug War" rally supporters,

Los Angeles, CA
United States

Advocates Hope Ken Burns/ PBS Prohibition Doc Provokes Debate

Drug Policy Alliance

For Immediate Release: September 30, 2011
Contact: Tony Newman

New Ken Burns PBS Documentary “Prohibition” to Air October 2nd– 5th

Advocates Hope Spotlight on Failed Alcohol Prohibition Will Provoke Debate on Drug Prohibition, Black Market Violence and the Criminalization of More Than a Hundred Million Americans

The history of our country’s disastrous period of alcohol prohibition will be  broadcast into homes across America this weekend when PBS airs Ken Burns and Lynn Novick’s Prohibition, a three part series on America’s failed “noble experiment” of banning alcohol.

Drug policy advocates are thrilled that filmmakers of the stature of Ken Burns and Lynn Novick have taken on this topic – and hope that the series reminds Americans about the futility of prohibition and its devastating collateral consequences.

“Alcohol prohibition didn’t stop people from drinking any more than drug prohibition stops people from using drugs,” said Tony Newman, director of media relations at the Drug Policy Alliance. “But prohibition did lead to Al Capone and shoot-outs in the streets. It is the same today. It is not the marijuana or coca plants that have caused 50,000 deaths in Mexico over the last 5 years – but because they plants are illegal and thus unregulated, people are willing to kill each other over the profit that can be made from them.”

"Making drugs illegal has created a violent criminal market where cartels battle it out to control territory in much the same way gangsters did during alcohol prohibition," said Neil Franklin, a retired Baltimore narcotics cop and executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. "The one major difference between the two prohibitions is that we came to grips with the failure of our experiment to ban alcohol after just 13 years, while the 'drug war' that President Nixon declared 40 years ago is still being prosecuted, more harshly and expensively than ever."

“My two sons have struggled with addiction. My family has experienced not only the devastation of this life-threatening disease, but also the destructive effects of punitive prohibitionist policies and incarceration,” said Gretchen Burns Bergman, lead organizer of Moms United to End the War on Drugs. “Mothers were instrumental in ending alcohol prohibition in the 30s, not because they wanted to encourage alcohol use, but because they wanted to end the gangland violence and loss of lives caused by organized crime, fueled by prohibition. Moms are needed to join the movement to end the violence, mass incarceration and overdose deaths that have resulted from prohibition and the failed war on drugs.”

Only One Month Left Until Drug Policy Reform Conference

The Reform Conference is just a month away – have you secured your spot yet?

Click here to register to attend.

If you haven’t, you should soon. Booking your travel a month out will save you money. And you won’t want to miss what former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson and current California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom have to say at the Opening Plenary!

The rest of the conference program is packed full with trainings, roundtable discussions addressing controversies within the movement, and panels exploring and sharing innovative approaches to reform challenges. Thursday evening you can stand up for justice at the No More Drug War rally at nearby MacArthur Park, hosted by dozens of local California organizations and emceed by KPFK radio personality Lalo Alcaraz.

And the activities and highlights don’t stop there…

Very soon we’ll be announcing three special Mobile Workshops – learning sessions that will take a select group of conference-goers out of the hotel and into the local community.

You’re also invited to host informal Community Meetings of your own during the conference. These meetings are meant to be your opportunity to organize reformers around action plans. They take place in open session rooms in the mornings, evenings and at lunch.

What do these Mobile Workshops and Community Meetings have in common? They’re only available to registered conference attendees – and they’ll be limited by space availability!

So register now…and I’ll see you in Los Angeles!

Stefanie Jones
Event Manager
Drug Policy Alliance

Los Angeles, CA
United States

Drug War Issues

Criminal JusticeAsset Forfeiture, Collateral Sanctions (College Aid, Drug Taxes, Housing, Welfare), Court Rulings, Drug Courts, Due Process, Felony Disenfranchisement, Incarceration, Policing (2011 Drug War Killings, 2012 Drug War Killings, 2013 Drug War Killings, 2014 Drug War Killings, 2015 Drug War Killings, 2016 Drug War Killings, 2017 Drug War Killings, Arrests, Eradication, Informants, Interdiction, Lowest Priority Policies, Police Corruption, Police Raids, Profiling, Search and Seizure, SWAT/Paramilitarization, Task Forces, Undercover Work), Probation or Parole, Prosecution, Reentry/Rehabilitation, Sentencing (Alternatives to Incarceration, Clemency and Pardon, Crack/Powder Cocaine Disparity, Death Penalty, Decriminalization, Defelonization, Drug Free Zones, Mandatory Minimums, Rockefeller Drug Laws, Sentencing Guidelines)CultureArt, Celebrities, Counter-Culture, Music, Poetry/Literature, Television, TheaterDrug UseParaphernalia, Vaping, ViolenceIntersecting IssuesCollateral Sanctions (College Aid, Drug Taxes, Housing, Welfare), Violence, Border, Budgets/Taxes/Economics, Business, Civil Rights, Driving, Economics, Education (College Aid), Employment, Environment, Families, Free Speech, Gun Policy, Human Rights, Immigration, Militarization, Money Laundering, Pregnancy, Privacy (Search and Seizure, Drug Testing), Race, Religion, Science, Sports, Women's IssuesMarijuana PolicyGateway Theory, Hemp, Marijuana -- Personal Use, Marijuana Industry, Medical MarijuanaMedicineMedical Marijuana, Science of Drugs, Under-treatment of PainPublic HealthAddiction, Addiction Treatment (Science of Drugs), Drug Education, Drug Prevention, Drug-Related AIDS/HIV or Hepatitis C, Harm Reduction (Methadone & Other Opiate Maintenance, Needle Exchange, Overdose Prevention, Pill Testing, Safer Injection Sites)Source and Transit CountriesAndean Drug War, Coca, Hashish, Mexican Drug War, Opium ProductionSpecific DrugsAlcohol, Ayahuasca, Cocaine (Crack Cocaine), Ecstasy, Heroin, Ibogaine, ketamine, Khat, Kratom, Marijuana (Gateway Theory, Marijuana -- Personal Use, Medical Marijuana, Hashish), Methamphetamine, New Synthetic Drugs (Synthetic Cannabinoids, Synthetic Stimulants), Nicotine, Prescription Opiates (Fentanyl, Oxycontin), Psilocybin / Magic Mushrooms, Psychedelics (LSD, Mescaline, Peyote, Salvia Divinorum)YouthGrade School, Post-Secondary School, Raves, Secondary School