Costs of drug, alcohol abuse outweigh revenue

Let’s make the assumption that Alaskans will generate as much pot revenue as Colorado per capita. Using the 2010 census numbers Alaskan population was 710,231 and Colorado was 5,029,196 for a ratio of 14 percent.

The Research Based Consulting McDowell Group prepared “The Economic Costs of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse in Alaska 2012 Update” for the ‘Alaska Mental Health Board.’

The McDowell Group identified $673.2 million in productivity losses, $50.5 million in traffic crash costs, $217.7 million in criminal justice and protective services, $237.3 million in health care costs, and $13.2 million in public assistance and social services for a total 2010 alcohol and drug abuse cost of $1.2 billion.

How much revenue was generated? $73.8 million in earnings revenue due to alcohol sales-related economic activity in Alaska in 2010, and $38.8 million in tax revenue due to alcohol sales-related economic activity in Alaska in 2010 for a total of $112. 6 million; basically only 10 percent of its cost was generated! We simply are not paying attention that every dollar generated from drug sales is costing us ten dollars!

Let’s factor in pot revenue based on Colorado numbers. According to the Colorado Dept. of Revenue’s November 2015 tax numbers, $894.9 million in sales revenue was generated and $130 million in sales taxes and license fees were generated for a total of $1.025 billion in Colorado. For Alaska that equates to 14 percent x $1.025 = $143.5 million!

Pot doesn’t make much of a dent in either our state or local budget does it? But look at the cost! At 10:1, the cost is $1.435 billion. Add that on to the $1.2 billion annual cost since 2010 and the myth of our pot wealth becomes painfully apparent. Pot literally doubles our drug and alcohol abuse cost doesn’t it?

But the myth is much larger than dollars isn’t it? My friend, my burden is for you that have visions of wealth in the drug trade. Do you realize the carnage you are bringing into the lives of an indefinite number of generations by your activity? Probably not now, but as a senior I can assure you that they will haunt you the rest of your life.

Then my burden is for all of us that would facilitate and enable the pot business. Are we not complicit? Are we not ancillaries in the guilt of the carnage precipitated by this trade?

Respectfully, what is the difference between this trade and an ISIS suicide bomber? Time! The ISIS suicide bomber takes out 2 or 3 generations in a heartbeat. The drug dealer takes out multiple generations over an indefinite period of time. Pot wealth is indeed a myth by any analysis!