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The Nation : Drug War Costs Government $6.2 Billion

October 19, 1987

The war on drugs cost all levels of government $6.2 billion in 1986, with the main burden falling on state and local enforcement agencies, which spent $4.9 billion, or 18.2% of their total budgets, on the continuing battle, the U.S. Customs Service reported. Much of the activity was in Florida, the principal gateway for smuggled Latin American cocaine, and in 12 "high drug distribution cities," among them Los Angeles, according to a study prepared for the Customs Service by Wharton Econometrics of Bala Cynwyd, Pa. The survey found that $5.3 billion was devoted at all levels of government to investigation of the domestic narcotics traffic, with only $900 million allocated for interdiction of drug imports, mostly by the Coast Guard and Customs Service, before they reach U.S. soil.

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