The Wonderful War On Drugs The Wonderful War On Drugs In recent years the so-called war on drugs has taken over the streets and back alleys of suburban America. It has caused a problem that mirrors the prohibition days of the 1920s and early 30s. Politicians trying to play tough guy, are only contributing to more violence. Their laws have created an underground drug-trade, in which modern drug-dealers have taken the place of the bootleggers of old. The real question is whether or not this war is working.
Most people would like to believe that it is, and there are a few statistics that show it has. But just watch any news program, and you will see this war has failed miserably. Drug-related crimes happen constantly in todays society, and in recent years have involved increasing numbers of innocent bye standards. Daily, police officers face ruthless dealers, who would rather shoot at a cop than spend 25 years in prison. On top of all that, there has been no real proof of a decline in drug use among people in America.
Is this war really the best answer to Americas widespread drug problem? Should the government be allowed to spend billions annually fighting this hopeless war? Looking at this information you begin to realize that, not only does this war affect every person in the U.S., but it is also a war with no winners. War is never pretty, and the war on drugs is no exception. For this war to work it must stop drugs in at least one of three areas. Either by stopping drugs at the border, stopping drug dealers at home, or preventing drug use within the country. Military and law enforcement has failed to accomplish any of these, and it is not because of limited funds. Last year state and federal governments spent $30 billion plus on the battle against drugs(Anony71). This outrageous spending hasnt made a dent in the modern drug-trade. Politicians are trying to approach the problem with supply-side economics.
You try to block the supply to force the cost of hard drugs up, pricing most users out of the market. It has not worked. Cocaine and heroin prices have fallen greatly since the early 80s, while strength and purity tend to be rising in these drugs(Anony71). The statistics regarding drug interdiction at the border have proven stopping drugs at the border is an expensive failure. Joseph McNamara says the government estimates that they seize only 10% of the drugs coming across the border(537). Stopping the dealers within our own borders hasnt proved an easy task either.
With police going after more common users dealers are forced to compete more violently for fewer customers. Doctors in Detroit are saying that theyre seeing fewer overdoses, but more drug related shootings, stabbings, and assaults as dealers fight amongst themselves(Torr39). No real decrease in drug use among citizens has been seen as a result of police action anyway. Increasing numbers of teens are turning to a life of drugs in America. Marijuana use among teens has doubled in the last three years, while at the same time Americans are spending $20 billion annually on drug related medical costs(McCaffery4).
For this battle to be fought, it must be proven as a cause worth fighting for. Fencing off the entire country, and jamming non-violent offenders in already overcrowded prisons is not a smart way for this battle to be won. If you look closely it is plain to see that prohibition has not worked in the past, and will most definitely not work in the future. Should the government really be allowed to prosecute non-violent offenders for consensual crimes committed in their own home? You may have heard the saying history always repeats itself, does America not remember what the outcome of alcohol prohibition was. The outlawing of any controlled substance will only bring rise to more violent outlaws willing to risk life and limb for high profits.
By making drugs illegal, they are also making drug prices skyrocket. As Weir puts it the War on Drugs makes narcotics a hundred times more expensive, than if they were to be purchased legitimately(160). This increase in price causes hard-core users to commit crimes more frequently to support their habit. It also increases incentive for those who are daring enough to deal and smuggle illegal drugs. Another result of prohibition is more hard-core use, or binging on the illegal substance.
Weir also adds as patterns from prohibition show, making a substance illegal only results in a change from steady, moderate consumption to binges(160). Prohibition laws of the 1920s only brought about a huge, mafia controlled industry for alcohol, while doing nothing to prevent drinking among citizens. Making something illegal only creates a taboo, which people will break only because they know its wrong. By prohibiting drugs more people are likely to experiment as a way of rebelling against the system. Some people will tell you that the War on Drugs has been a great success, dont let them fool you.
Almost weekly a sports star, movie star, government official, or famous musician is exposed for drug use. Go to the movies, turn on the television or radio, and you will see drugs are as much a part of the American society as baseball and apple pie. Even Bill Clinton and Newt Gingrich have admitted to experimenting with marijuana. With drug abusers climbing higher on the ranks of society daily, it only makes for a more corruptible system. No matter how much is spent on ads and prevention campaigns the drug problem will never be solved with prohibition. Teens just see anti-drug commercials as a way for the government to tell them what to do.
If the government believes it is winning the war on drugs, then where is the hard proof? The drug problem has only grown worse in the 90s. This war must be stopped immediately. Every year more and more tax money is wasted, with little or no results. I believe a government-controlled legalization of drugs is the only solution. Drugs would no longer be seen as a way for teens to rebel against authority figures. The illegal drug-trade that controls todays streets would be non-existent.
A steady decline in incarcerations would be seen, and violent drug-related would go down also. Let us put an end to Americas second type of prohibition. Let us put an end to the War on Drugs. Bibliography Annotated Bibliography 1. BBC News Online Network.
Ed. Ivan Silverberg, M.D. 2 Feb. 1998. Social Issues Essays.