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2/3 of billions spent on drugs went for cocaine

SHARE 2/3 of billions spent on drugs went for cocaine

Two-thirds of the estimated $57.3 billion that Americans spent on illegal drugs in 1995 went for cocaine purchases, a report by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy says.

The report, released Monday, said estimated spending on cocaine, heroin, marijuana and other illicit drugs compared with $57.5 billion in 1994 and continued a downward trend from 1988, the first year of the study. In that year drug sales were estimated at $91.4 billion.According to the report, Americans spent $38 billion on cocaine in 1995, $10 billion on heroin, $7 billion on marijuana and $3 billion on other illegal drugs.

"These billions wasted represent countless opportunities lost," Barry McCaffrey, director of the office, said in a statement.

He noted that the amount spent on drugs could have bought four-year college educations for a million people, or 22 billion gallons of milk to feed undernourished babies.

The social costs of drugs also are compounded by their association with increased crime, major health problems such as hepatitis and AIDS and disruptions in family and personal lives, he said.