The War On Drugs… A not so in depth piece I wrote for class….

The “war on drugs” cannot be won. This so called war is a war on poor people and has been a disaster for this country. The war on drugs costs the United States $500 per second. Not only should this money go towards other things such as drug treatment, the costs spent on trying to fight crime related to drugs is a waste. The money spent on border patrol, fences, and agents could be used towards drug prevention programs.

“Looking to the United States as a role model for drug control is like looking to apartheid-era South Africa for how to deal with race. The United States ranks first in the world in per capita incarceration—with less than 5 percent of the world’s population, but almost 25 percent of the world’s prisoners. The number of people locked up for U.S. drug-law violations has increased from roughly 50,000 in 1980 to almost 500,000 today; that’s more than the number of people Western Europe locks up for everything. Even more deadly is U.S. resistance to syringe-exchange programs to reduce HIV/AIDS both at home and abroad. Who knows how many people might not have contracted HIV if the United States had implemented at home, and supported abroad, the sorts of syringe-exchange and other harm-reduction programs that have kept HIV/AIDS rates so low in Australia, Britain, the Netherlands, and elsewhere. Perhaps millions.”(Nadlemann, Ethan, 2011).

The need for progressive treatment programs is crystal clear. Keeping people in jail on drug charges is draining this country, and it is not conducive to the individuals who need treatment. People clearly need treatment, such as harm reduction, not jail. As for marijuana, there any many reasons why it should be legal in this country. The benefits far outweigh the risks. This country would benefit greatly if medical marijuana was available in every state to people who are sick and suffering from various aches, pains, and chronic  diseases. Many of these individuals would have a chance at reducing their prescription drug intake, and smoke marijuana to alleviate their pain. Also, marijuana could stimulate the economy in many ways, as it would be taxed. The legalization of marijuana would put a dent in the dangerous cartels down in Mexico and reduce violence. It doesn’t make much sense to place marijuana with other schedule 1 drugs. It should be in a class of its own, or perhaps it should be taken off the list completely. I understand marijuana can make people tired, and cause teenagers to disengage from homework but I don’t think it is dangerous.It is no longer “the gateway drug,” folks. These days we are dealing with opiate based medications that are being doled out like candy by the pharmaceutical giants. Also the number of deaths related to alcohol are more than all illicit drugs combined. The argument over the legalization of drugs will continue to spark interest. I hope drug policies continue to change and this country moves in a direction that will see less criminals and more compassion.

“Prohibition still exists today. It still fails epically, with the so-called war on drugs.”

-Nick Cave

Nadlemann, Ethan,Merino, Noel, The Global War on Drugs Cannot Be Won” Drug Legalization. Current Controversies Series. Greenhaven Press, 2011. “Drugs,” Foreign Policy, no. 162, September-October 2007, pp. 24-26, 28, 30. Copyright © 2007 Foreign Policy.Image


4 thoughts on “The War On Drugs… A not so in depth piece I wrote for class….

  1. The most apt comparison for today’s war on drugs is Prohibition. If the most popular drugs were suddenly legal (and heavily taxed and regulated, with quality-control standards, like any food or legal drug) not only would there be a lot more tax money in State and Federal coffers, but it would break the back of gangs–just as mobsters went out of business after the end of Prohibition.

    Mind you, organized crime didn’t completely disappear, but it was severely reduced. It also moved into drugs and prostitution (another thing which needs to be legal and heavily regulated). Organized crime flourishes on a black market. The less that’s illegal, the less effect it has. While there will always be poor people trying to buy or manufacture cheap drugs or hooking without a license, most people will prefer to get things legally, because it’s safer.

    • Excellent points… One of the main points I tried to make, but did so poorly, is that the drug cartels would be damaged by the legalization of illicit drugs. You are correct, they wouldn’t be vanquished, but they would lose much of their power. One of the many reasons why I think our government doesn’t get it, has to do with narrow minded ideologies. I feel as though the “moral model” of addiction, which is perpetuated by D.A.R.E.,has influenced our government into thinking that drug addiction is a moral problem, when it is in fact a public health issue.The focus on marijuana, and the need to criminalize people for possessing it, seems beyond dated. It sometimes feels as though Mccarthyism has a stronghold in certain states.Luckily, there are many policy makers who are moving towards more progressive legislation…In the meantime, the poor are being hit with a double whammy…heroin has made a comeback… and it is purer and cheaper than ever, thanks to the cartels.Much of it is in Philadelphia,which has become a hot spot.. Also, Purdue Pharma made record breaking profits in 2011. Since Oxycontin is harder to come by these days, addicts are oscillating between the two.

      I was just reading a review about John Hillcoat’s new film “Lawless,” which explores the rise of violence during Prohibition in Appalachia. It is so interesting because I had little to no knowledge in regards to how folks living in the country dealt with Prohibition. It will be interesting to see how “Hillbilly” Gangsters dealt with the problems associated with low employment, crime, etc.

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