Billions Used to Fight Drug Wars, But Was Money Spent Wisely?


The federal government is unable to show that the billions of dollars spent in the war on drugs have significantly stemmed the flow of illegal narcotics into the United States, according to two government reports and outside experts interviewed by the Los Angeles Times. The reports specifically criticize the government’s growing use of U.S. contractors, which were paid more than $3 billion to train local prosecutors and police, help eradicate fields of coca, operate surveillance equipment and otherwise battle the widening drug trade in Latin America over the last five years.

Obama administration officials strongly deny that U.S. efforts have failed to reduce drug production or smuggling in Latin America. They say the expanding U.S. counter-narcotics effort occupies a growing portion of time for President Obama’s national security team even though it garners few headlines. The majority of U.S. counter-narcotics contracts are awarded to five companies: DynCorp, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, ITT and ARINC. Counter-narcotics contract spending increased 32%, from $482 million in 2005 to $635 million in 2009.

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