The Unnecessary Spending and Costs that Defined the War on Drugs

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Ever since the 20’s people have been using substances to get inebriated. Some substances legal others not. And the government has taken it upon themselves to decided what people can and cannot partake of. Earlier in the 1920s the government made alcoholic beverages illegal but this action backfired greatly so they took off the band and people were free to drink again. Now some people treat the ban on drugs like the band on alcohol, they partake of it anyways. In a survey of 19 high school students they were asked if harmful substances like drugs are illegal do you think alcohol should also be illegal because it can be, or is just as harmful, yes or no. Out of 19, 15 kids voted no alcohol should still be legal and 4 for yes for illegal alcohol. So it seems that if people don’t believe alcohol is harmful enough to make it illegal then shouldn’t drugs should also be legal. So is the war on drugs necessary, Or just a waste of time?

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I believe the war on drugs is a waste of america’s time and money. A lot of harmful substances are legal like alcohol and caffeine. So what’s the justification for making drugs illegal. It all started in 1969 when Nixon decided drugs are a national threat. His reasoning was because drugs became symbols of youthful rebellion, social upheaval, and political dissent. But if you think back to the 1920s there was a rise in gang related violence, and rebellion because of the band of alcohol so I think wouldn’t that be the same when it comes to drugs? Then in 1971 Nixon declares a war on drugs as the nation’s #1 theret.

A drug is a substance that enhances and changes someone’s mental and or physical state. “I’m glad mushrooms are against the law, because I took them one time, and you know what happened to me? I laid in a field of green grass for four hours going, “My God! I love everything.” Yeah, now if that isn’t a hazard to our country … how are we gonna justify arms dealing when we realize that we’re all one?”― Bill Hicks According to Oxford dictionary drug is defined as, A medicine or other substance which has a physiological effect when ingested or otherwise introduced into the body, But in our situation this definition is probably more accurate, A substance taken for its narcotic or stimulant effects, often illegal. But as Frank Zappa puts it “A drug is not bad. A drug is a chemical compound. The problem comes in when people who take drugs treat them like a license to behave like an asshole.” ― Frank Zappa, The Real Frank Zappa Book

The war on drugs is a great idea but, is prison population to large and is race a big factor of arrests? From the war on drugs there is an increase in prison population. Before the 1970’s there was a steady rate of arrest. For a population of 100,000 only 100 people out of that were arrested. But after the declaration of the war on drugs the amount skyrocketed and in 2004 to a little over 700 per 100,000. Fast forward to 2014, 1,561,231 people got arrested for drugs and 1,297,384 (83 percent) was for possession only.

With the war on drugs not only is there a raise in prison population there also is large practices in racism. 57% of arrest are Latinos and African Americans even though these groups sell just as much as the Caucasian population. The reasoning behind more arrests is because of their financial situation. Cops go to more urban areas or black communities which are mostly populated by these ethnicities. For example in the 80’s the penalties for crack cocaine where extreme but young black males had much lengthier punishments. With the justice system being bias towards people of color there has been more police riots and fights.

Police are the main enforcers on the war on drugs. But is too much money wasted on law enforcement to stop the drug war? The Government has spent 1 trillion dollars over the years trying to stop the drug war and taxpayers have had to pay for it. And it seems these dollars have been wasted. Because of the band on drugs in America, Mexico has seen this as an advantage. Theres still a demand for drugs so Mexico is more than willing to help provide a product. They can make better drugs and smuggle it into the states and they have practice so smuggling is easy. So is the spending of money on law enforcement a good decision?

Drug enforcement cost the U.S. 1 billion a year. Now with the large spending of money you might think that it would make drugs more expensive because of risk, but this is not the case the price for drugs has stayed the same and is still readily available, and so the Government isn’t getting any benefits from this spending. As stated before the prison population has grown greatly, this is because of the overspending of money on law enforcement. And most of the arrest are for nonviolent drug crimes. So while we waste money trying to stop nonviolent “threats” shouldn’t we be focusing on more harmful people, not peaceful stoners.

So if all this spending and laws against drugs aren’t working what will? In switzerland they had a huge heroin problem that caused a spread of hiv and street crimes. So Switzerland instead of starting a war the started harm reduction. Where addicts were treated and stabilized, also they had social workers helping them find jobs and housing. All of this dropped drug related crime rates and ⅔ of the people found jobs and could focus on getting better and not indulge in their addiction.

Now if a country like Switzerland can do this so can the United States. Instead of spending mass amounts of money on law enforcement and weapons it could be spent on helping people get better and not lock them up for an addiction. Not only can we make treatment centers we can also educate people while their young, but instead of out of fear out of facts and information. We need to educate, not scare and punish.

In the end is the war on drugs necessary, Or just a waste of time? With the huge spending and the negative affect to human rights. And when a group of 19 high school students were asked if a world without drugs was a reachable goal all 19 responded with the answer no. So the war on drugs seems to be a war we’re losing.

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