The overall annual cost of substance abuse to the United States is just under $500 Billion.
Ok...a few things:
One, you're not breaking that down into legal substance abuse and illegal substance abuse.
(Not entirely possible; see below)
Two, who's paying for what
, exactly? you're not breaking it into who currently pays who, and for what...and don't give me BS answers like "we all pay," SOMEONE'S making money off this shiat.
Local police forces and for-profit prison companies come to mind here.
Three, you have no link to show where you got that info. Did you go out and personally collect that data yourself? If not, you're failing to attribute.http://drugwarfacts.org/cms/?q=node/38#sthash.W6cXE2CV.dpbs
(Spending Estimates by Substance) "Almost half (47.3 percent) of government spending on substance abuse and addiction cannot be disaggregated by substance. In fact, research shows that most individuals who abuse or are dependent on addictive substances use more than one drug.9 Of the $248 billion in substance-related spending that can be linked to specific drugs of abuse, 92.3 percent is linked to the legal drugs of alcohol and tobacco."
So, when you say substance abuse, you mean all of them
...that's a bit misleading when talking about one illegal substance don't you think?
"(Cost Effectiveness of Substance Abuse Treatment)
Substance abuse treatment is more cost-effective than prison or other punitive measures. The Washington State Institute for Public Policy (WSIPP) found that drug treatment conducted within the community is extremely beneficial in terms of cost, especially compared to prison. Every dollar spent on drug treatment in the community is estimated to return $18.52 in benefits to society."
"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.
".....the savings of supply-control programs are smaller than the control costs (an estimated 15 cents on the dollar for source-country control, 32 cents on the dollar for interdiction, and 52 cents on the dollar for domestic enforcement). In contrast, the savings of treatment programs are larger than the control costs; we estimate that the costs of crime and lost productivity are reduced by $7.46 for every dollar spend on treatment."
One more thing:
Earlier, when I said give the kids something to work towards
, what I meant was "Towards having a life that doesn't suck."
Right now you have two main choices: one, work your ass off for peanuts, two, spend a lifetime saddled with a shitton of student loan debt in order to not work for peanuts.
Faced with the amount of suck that they are faced with, I can't exactly blame kids for wanting to get high.