However I'd like to return to a statistic from the first episode, which is that a paltry 1% of heroin is successfully seized by UK authorities. The UN estimate that to have a significant impact on the drug trade this needs to be raised to at least 60%.
Lets combine this with the current annual £1.5 billion budget the UK government spends on drug law enforcement.
So to get to 60% heroin seizure, the budget for drug law enforcement needs to be raised to £90 billion. This would make drug enforcement about the same size as the NHS, and would mean an extra £1,500 in tax per head every year.
But wait! The £1.5 billion is for enforcing all drugs, not just heroin. So the budget would need to be increased to significantly more than £90 billion.
But wait! This ignores the law of diminishing returns. The 1% currently being seized will be some of the easiest heroin to find. So the budget would need to be increased to significantly more than significantly more than £90 billion.
But wait! 60% was the bottom end of the UN's estimate. It may need to be up to 70% seizure rate to have a significant estimate. So the budget may need to be increased to significantly more than significantly more than significantly more than £90 billion.
Frankly, the exact number is irrelevant. The government has a deficit to reduce, and is trying to cut departmental budgets, not give them a 6000% increase.
Trying to solve the problem of heroin abuse by law enforcement is futile. We desperately need to start trying alternatives.
*UPDATE 11am - oops, thanks Ewan!