Drug War Deaths

by Patrick Appel

John Richardson runs some numbers:

We've heard a lot about the terrible death toll Mexico has suffered during the drug war over 11,000 souls so far. This helps to account for the startling lack of controversy that greeted last week's news that Mexico had suddenly decriminalized drugs had suddenly decriminalized drugs not just marijuana but also cocaine, LSD, and heroin. In place of the outrage and threats that U.S. officials expressed when Mexico tried to decriminalize in 2006 was a mild statement, from our new drug czar, that we are going to take a "wait and see" approach.

Still, we've heard nothing about the American death toll. Isn't that strange? So far as I can tell, nobody has even tried to come up with a number. Until now. I've done some rough math, and this is what I found:

6,487. To repeat, that's 6,487 dead Americans. Throw in overdoses and the cost of this country's paralyzing drug laws is closer to 15,000 lives.

Mark Kleiman is not impressed.