The Business of Drugs: inside the economics of America’s longest war

A half-century into America’s ‘war on drugs’, a new Netflix series uses dollars, cents and economic incentives to ask: is prohibition worth it?

As a CIA analyst in Shanghai and Pakistan during America’s “war on terror”, Amaryllis Fox was familiar with drawn-out, intractable conflict. She’d studied the compounding effects of redoubling on failed policies, of redundant good versus evil arguments peddled into a quagmire, costing billions and an incalculable loss of life. But the situation in America’s longest military war, now nearing two decades, paled in comparison to the subject of Fox’s post-CIA project for Netflix: America’s costly, decades-longer engagement known as the “war on drugs”.

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The Business of Drugs: inside the economics of America’s longest war