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War On Drugs Essay, Research Paper

Brandon Shorter


History 1302

9 November 2001

Since 1968, the United States has spent increasing amounts of taxpayers’ money; more than $40 billion last year trying to stop drug use through the criminal-justice system. Three-fourths of federal anti-drug money goes to police, prisons, border patrol and interdiction efforts in countries like Colombia. Only one-fourth goes to prevention and treatment. Thirty years after war was declared, there are no fewer drug addicts but more people in prison for drug crimes than ever before. Half a million of America’s 2 million prisoners are locked away for drugs, and 700,000 people are arrested each year for marijuana possession alone. In 2001, a record seventy-four percent of Americans say they believe the Drug War is failing. The war on drugs has become a war against the nation’s citizens. The time for drug-law reform is now. There’s a general sense that what we have been doing in the so-called Drug War simply doesn’t work. And the situation, in many important ways, has gotten worse, not better. There’s a sense that we’re in a losing game, and you don’t stay in a losing game. You have to keep experimenting. You have to keep researching. You have to go one small step at a time. Politicians and city members are blanketed with this problem everyday and some feel it is very important by expressing their views to stop it.

When you have a young person who has experimented, you know how fast they can get in trouble on drugs. We have to get some treatment for them. We haven’t concentrated as we should on first-time offenders. They can get drugs in jails, but there’s no real education in the jails, and no treatment. Keep in mind, treatment alone won’t do it. Enforcement alone won’t do it. Education alone won’t do it. We have to reduce both the demand for and the supply of drugs. The movie Traffic drives home the point that law enforcement alone won’t solve the problem. And a lot of people have had to face the fact that their own children have experienced drugs. First-time use of drugs has gone way up. If you look at Ecstasy alone, use by tenth- and twelfth-graders is up sharply. A huge portion of those who used heroin for the first time last year were under eighteen. Orrin Hatch U.S. Senator, Utah, states I don’t think there’s any law that can prevent a teenager from taking that first puff of a marijuana cigarette, that first sniff of cocaine, if I knew what it was, I would dedicate my career to passing it.

The hardest thing for most people to do is hold themselves responsible and show strength of will and character. In order for addicts to change, there must be some reward that forces them to do what they need to do, a lever to hold them to accountability. We need more K-12 education, and when we see early uses of gateway drugs — alcohol, cigarettes, marijuana — we need to intervene and double our educational efforts. We need to make the penalties for using and selling unattractive to people. Right now, people are going into custody as addicts and coming out as addicts. People also got out of jail and have no supervision. We have to have rehabilitation. We need a broader strategy focusing on education and health. It’s not lust about capturing seventeen tons of drugs a year. We know that if there’s no demand for drugs, there’s no market. It’s hard to take crime out of the drug equation. The Department of Justice has done forecasting figures — random drug tests on people arrested on non-narcotic charges. Seventy to eighty percent of them had drugs in their system. In the city of L.A., drugs are intertwined with many of our crimes, quotes Bernard C. Parks, Chief of Los Angeles Police.

The Drug War shows no signs of becoming a deterrent for drug abuse in the U.S. Education is our best hope: Quality educational opportunities for youth in the inner city, where drug abuse is especially high, can provide direction for lives that too often have none. More generally, systematic, persistent and extensive education about the perils of drug use given to all young people in the schools; starting in preschool and continuing through to our colleges and universities is the best hope for meaningful deterrence.

Both alcohol and drugs destroy the lives of friends and family members. The abuse begins in a social context where the eventual addicts thought they were in complete control of their recreational use of drugs or alcohol. William E. Kirwan President, Ohio State University, explains his War on Drugs, The university has many programs that try to educate our students about substance abuse, starting with an orientation for new students and their parents. It’s a powerful introduction, which is followed by education programs in different settings throughout the year.

Opposing views on the War on Drugs is just as strong, providing substantial evidence to prove corrupt government and legalize drugs. This fight is bluntly ridiculous. We should be cleaning up society but most Americans do not see this on the streets until casualties start showing up in suburbs. The concerns should be forwarded to the youth of America and stopping as many cases as possible before it starts. To accomplish this goal we must use all advertisements, police departments, and politicians to express the harm of drugs and not those who want to legalize it for their personal reasons. But in all cases the War on Drugs has been successful in terms of individual lives saved and the billions of young people who have declined to use drugs. But the experiment is not over, we should continue to strive until we become on a declining basis every year, without looking at the costs of budget because in long runs it will eventually help out financially. Along with the ideas of politicians who were furthered mentioned to promote and improve this war, and every other American we should concentrate all efforts on this situation as we would any other war, such as the fight on terrorism.

Gray, James. Why Our Drug Laws Have Failed and What We Can Do About It : A Judicial Indictment of the War on Drugs. New York: Random House, 2001.

Young, Stephen.Maximizing Harm : Losers and Winners in the Drug War. New York: Writer’s Showcase Press, 2001.

Gray, Mike. Drug Crazy : How We Got into This Mess and How We Can Get Out. New York: Routledge, 2000.

This So-Called War on Drugs. 25 September 2001. CIA. 3 November 2001. .

Frontline: Drug Wars. PBS. 5 November 2001. .

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