Prohibition and Homicide

by Don Boudreaux on November 23, 2004

in Regulation

Boston University’s Jeffrey Miron is among the most rigorous researchers of the effects of drug prohibition.  This op-ed by the Independent Institute’s Anthony Gregory nicely summarizes some of the findings reported in Miron’s new book.

Especially telling is the effect of both alcohol and drug prohibition on rates of homicide:

Before Congress passed the National Prohibition Act in 1919, homicide rates in America were relatively low. In the 1910s, about 5 in 100,000 Americans fell victim to murder. At the height of Prohibition, the murder rate climbed nearly 60%. But after the 21st Amendment repealed Prohibition sixteen years later, the rate steadily declined back to pre-Prohibition levels. The War on Drugs, from the 1960s to the present, brought the homicide rate back up to about 10 per 100,000—almost twice the rate before Prohibition and the Drug War.

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