This study estimated the amount and retail sales value of cocaine, heroin, marijuana, and other illegal drugs purchased by Americans in 1988, 1989, and 1990.
Estimates of the retail value of illicit drugs purchased in the United States in 1988 are as follows: cocaine, $22.9 billion; heroin, $15.8 billion; marijuana, $11.1 billion; and other drugs $1.8. billion. The estimated total retail value of all illicit drugs sold in the United States in 1988 is $51.6 billion. For 1989, the retail value for all illicit drugs sold in the United States is estimated to be $49.8 billion. The breakdown by drug type is estimated to be $22.5 billion for cocaine, $15.5 billion for heroin, $10.0 billion for marijuana, and $1.8 billion for other drugs. The estimate of the total retail value of illicit drugs sold in the United States in 1990 is $40.4 billion. Estimates by drug type are $17.5 billion for cocaine, $12.3 billion for heroin, $8.8 billion for marijuana, and $1.8 billion for other drugs. Estimates of production and supply of cocaine to the United States are reported for each of the 3 years. The study was unable to develop reliable supply-side estimates for heroin, primarily because the United States composes such a small share of the world market for this drug. Neither was the study able to develop plausible supply-based estimates for marijuana sales given the available data. The report advises that the estimates provided may not meet the standards for scholarly research. The estimates are intended to provide guidance for policymakers, government officials, and concerned citizens. Although imprecise, the estimates are sufficiently reliable to show that the trade in illicit drugs is immense, and the social and health costs of drug use are even greater. 9 tables and 6 figures
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