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.”
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.