It is hard to overestimate the detrimental impact of drug abuse and drug trafficking on individual
lives. According to the National Drug Threat Assessment, issued in October 2007 by the National Drug
Intelligence Center, thousands of people die every year in the United States from drug-related causes. One hears about the many celebrities whose lives have been ruined by drug abuse. The National Institute on Drug Abuse found in 2001 that 3.2 million people in the United States were dependent on or abusers of illegal drugs, a fact that gives some sense of the scope of the problem and the prevalence of drug abuse in society.
The impact of drug abuse and trafficking is even broader than this. In 2001, for example, drug
trafficking and drug-related crime cost the United States more than $160 billion. Drug use also has an impact on national security. Terrorist organizations in Afghanistan use the trade in opium to finance many of their operations. And, on a less serious but still culturally important level, drugs have tarnished sporting
competitions and called into question whether athletes can serve as role models for young children, when
people like Marion Jones, Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, and Floyd Landis are connected with illegal drug use.
All of these issues are addressed in the reports that compose Special Studies: Drugs, Drug Use and Trafficking, 2003_2007. This new collection in the Special Studies Series consists of revealing U.S. government reports issued
by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) of the Department of Justice, National Institute on Drug
Abuse (NIDA), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Departments of State and Treasury, the
Government Accountability Office (GAO), plus research papers submitted to military colleges.