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War On Drugs Essay

1103 words - 5 pages

In 1971 President Richard Nixon declared a War on Drugs stating that drug abuse was “public enemy number one”. Four decades later America is still waging this war that many say can never truly be won. The goal of this campaign has always been the prohibition of drugs, military aid, and military intervention with the stated aim being to define and reduce the illegal drug trade however the tactics used thus far have done little to solve the problem of drugs in the United State. The use of military to combat this issue has resulted in billions of tax dollars with little results. Since 1970 the drug addiction rate has stayed consistent while the U.S. drug controlled spending has dramatically ...view middle of the document...

Since 1980 the percentage of inmates incarcerated for drug offences has increased from 11% to over 44% in 1999. The annual cost of incarcerating offenders is estimated at over $710 million. In Wisconsin 24,997 people are arrested for a drug offense each year. The more effective alternative to jailing low level drug offenders would be treatment. This option for curbing drug abuse is considered to be more cost effective and more beneficial to substance abusers. The system is failing drug offenders by punishing them instead of giving them the resources to end their addiction. Imprisoning drug offenders may resonate with some who think prison is the only way to make their communities safer, but realistically many offenders serve their sentences for only a couple years and sometimes even months before they rejoin society. The many minor drug traffickers and drug users who spend time in jail find fewer opportunities for legal employment after they get out of prison, and they develop better skills at criminal activities. Often times when former prisoners don’t have access to the resources they need to solve the issues that led them to be incarcerated in the first place they become repeat offenders which creates a vicious cycle with no progress being made. The only way substituting incarceration with treatment would be successful is if a true commitment was made to treating drug use and addiction as a health issue instead of a crime.
Ending the criminalization of drug use and possession of all drugs is also another prospective way to make an impact on the war on drugs in the United States. In the 1920’s during the prohibition era organized crime received a major boost in profit from the ban on alcohol. This also true of the organized crime and drug cartels today that derive an estimated $10 to $50 billion a year from the sale and distribution of illegal drugs. All of this revenue goes untaxed, unregulated, and is subject to no form of quality control. The prices of illegal drugs are increased whenever many drug traffickers are caught and punished harshly. The higher prices they get for drugs help compensate traffickers for the risks of...

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