We’ve Already Lost The War On Drugs

“The War on Drugs is wrong, both tactically and morally. It assumes that people are too stupid, too reckless, and too irresponsible to decide whether and what conditions to consume drugs. The war on drugs is morally bankrupt.” – Larry Elder
Flickr / Neal Jennings
Flickr / Neal Jennings

I say with some admirable clarity that regardless of the United States’ very dishonest and contradictory propaganda about the “war on drugs,” that when Americans are asked about it they seem to be above its meager influences. Why then are the views and legislation of the government not synonymous with the common American voter?

Two decades ago professor of criminal law Steven B. Duke at Yale University published his findings about the quandary that is the “war on drugs.” The facts however, have not changed much at all in the last twenty years. Duke’s attempted subjective analysis of the greater effects of the federal government’s intentional pharmaceutical prohibition and preemptive strike on the drug cartels have all but failed.

Overlooking the callous and paternalistic perspective of the government to mandate what a person can put in their body in the comfort of their own living room, Nixon’s self-proclaimed crusade against drugs has turned much into the same type of war that he had trouble winning over in Southeast Asia. The “war on drugs,” has become an entanglement of political bureaucracy and a bottomless pit for taxpayer dollars and law enforcement agents.

A case can, and should, be made to call a ceasefire on this losing front based on three intriguingly simple facts. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of studies and modernistic ideas as to why the war on drugs has been a total rout, but for purposes of terseness they have been folded into or surrendered to one of these three primary ideas.

Drug prohibition creates motivation to commit violent crimes.

Two of the major, though incredibly misguided goals of the “war on drugs,” is to keep them out of the hands of consumers for use and secondly to destroy them so as to drive up their price by increasing demand. So hopeful are law enforcement agencies in this endeavor that potential drug users would simply be unable to afford buying them. This has inexplicably led to a causal increase of violent crimes.

In fact, 75% of offenders arrested and charged with burglary, theft, robbery and assault are drug abusers, as indicated by Duke’s study Drug Prohibition: An Unnatural Disaster. Other social theorists have even suggested that the higher the price of illicit drugs go, the more likely drug abusers are to commit violent crimes.

The American judicial system is on the verge of collapse because of drug prohibition.

The United States spends — or should the word be “wastes” — over $100 billion dollars every year on enforcing current legislature against the use, procurement and creation of illicit drugs. Ponder for a moment the possibilities the federal government would discover if it realized it was throwing such a despondently large amount of money in the trash can every fiscal year.

The judicial system itself teeters on the verge of oblivion because of the American government’s rigid adherence to a legislative program that simply doesn’t work. An estimate 500,000 of the United States 1.3 million prison inmates are there on drug related charges and as many as half of them would not be there if decriminalization and legalization took place because they would no longer be criminals.

Approximately 50% of all drug related misdemeanor cases are dropped in courts because of the overwhelming number that judges and prosecutors have to deal with. These criminal cases are not dealt with on an individual basis and in cities like Miami, Boston and New York City, those charged are often confronted with large fines or jail time without an option to appeal. The American justice system is arresting people then turning them back out into the streets because there isn’t a cell to keep them in. This is lunacy at its finest.

Our civil liberties are being destroyed because of the ‘war on drugs.’

Every year state and federal legislators seek to clamp down on users and abusers by prompting us to further sacrifice our liberties so that drug felons aren’t released by loopholes in the law. We have allowed law enforcement officers to terrorize us, search our persons and enter our homes on the bare minimum of “suspicion.”

Each liberty sacrificed is one that may never be returned. What once began as an “us versus them,” mentality where the men wearing the badge and gun we’re supposed to be protecting us from drug dealers and violent drug abusers are now attacking and accusing us of lying down with those same offenders.

The “war on drugs,” must be stopped. It cannot — and need not — be won. Illicit drugs, though the manufactory of political propaganda would tell you otherwise, are not the enemy. The enemy is the insufferable and Big Brother attitude of government that says “we can tell you what’s good and bad for your body.”

Quite delightful that the United States is on the verge of decriminalizing marijuana. Once marijuana becomes more accessible to the common people and the generationally challenged politicians see that we don’t overnight become a nation of zombies, they might be inclined to sit down and listen to what else we have to say. TC mark

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