INCB Annual Report 2013

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Some Excerpts from Chapter One: Economic Consequences of Drug Use

Relationship with crime

14. A generation of research has defined three major links between drugs and crime. The first drugs/crime nexus relates to the violence that can be associated with the use of drugs themselves: psychopharmacological crime.

15. Crime committed under the influence of drugs is a major problem worldwide. For example, in a study in Dominica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, as many as 55 per cent of convicted offenders reported that they were under the influence of drugs at the time of the offence, with

19 per cent of the same set of offenders saying that they would still have committed the crime even if they had not been under the influence of drugs.

16. The second drugs/crime link is economic- compulsive crime. This is the result of drug users engaging in crime to support their drug consumption and addiction. In the United States, for example, 17 per cent of state prisoners and 18 per cent of federal inmates said they had committed the offence for which they were currently serving a sentence to obtain money for drugs. In the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, it is estimated economic-compulsive crime costs approximately $20 billion a year, the vast majority of those costs resulting from burglary, fraud and robbery.

17. The third link is systemic crime: the violence that occurs, for example, as a result of disputes over “drug turf ” or ‚fighting among users and sellers over deals gone awry. This has been seen, starkly, in Latin America over the past 10 years, especially in countries such as Guatemala and Mexico, but it is also seen in the streets of every continent throughout the world.

Costs from labour non-participation (lost productivity)

21. Productivity losses are calculated as work that would be reasonably expected to have been done if not for drug use (a loss of potential income and output and therefore GDP) as a result of a reduction in the supply or effectiveness of the workforce. Lost productivity in the United States as a result of labour non-participation is significant: $120 billion (or 0.9 per cent of GDP) in 2011, amounting to 62 per cent of all drug-related costs. Similar studies in Australia and Canada identified losses of 0.3 per cent of GDP and 0.4 per cent of GDP, respectively. In those two countries, the cost of lost productivity was estimated to be 8 and 3 times higher, respectively, than health-related costs due to morbidity, ambulatory care, physician visits and other related consequences.

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