The International War on Drugs - Drug Economics
countries billion incb coca
According to the United Nations' International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), only a very small portion of drug wealth actually ends up in underdeveloped countries (Report of the International Narcotics Control Board for 2004, http://www.incb.org/incb/en/annual_report_2004.html). Only one cent of every dollar spent on drugs at the street level by a user ends up in the hands of a farmer who grows illicit crops; 99 cents go to traffickers and those who provide services to them or purchase intermediate chemicals.
The INCB report points out that farmers' income from coca and opium production (approximately $1.1 billion in 2001) was equivalent to 2% of global development assistance expenditures of $53.7 billion in 2000. This might suggest that a 2% increase in development funds, channeled to farmers who now grow poppy and coca, could eliminate opium and cocaine production. By way of comparison, according to the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), costs in the United States related to drugs were projected to be about $181 billion in 2002, including $129 billion in lost productivity and $16 billion in health care expenditures related to drug use (The Economic Costs of Drug Abuse in the United States, 1992-2002, Washington, DC: Executive Office of the President, December 2004).
INCB reports that the growing of drug plants and local distribution of drugs in producing countries averaged less than 1% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in most countries in 2000, and even in countries where the proportion was high, it is less than 20%. In Afghanistan and Myanmar, the opium trade was estimated to have been between 10 and 15% of GDP, in Colombia (coca) and the Lao People's Republic (opium) between 2 and 3%, and in Bolivia (coca) slightly over 1%.
The INCB's conclusion is that, measured in flows of money, the bulk of the drug trade is international in character and most of the profit is realized in the developed countries where drugs are sold rather than in the underdeveloped or developing countries where they are initially produced.