Federal Government was not doing enough to combat drugs and their associated Ills, this message Is mostly remembered as the orally of the term the war on Drugs. E are now over forty years removed from that declaration of war,” and not only has the united States’ drug problem remained, it has grown to unthinkable proportions, both in its scale and in the fallout resulting from the policies designed to combat it. It is undeniable that drugs are extremely dangerous to the health of the users and are also a major motivating factor in many of the violent crimes in North America.
However, given the ongoing and growing nature of the illegal drug trade and the associated violence, the question of whether this “war on drugs” is the most effective and socially responsible method of fighting those ills must be asked. The answer is fairly simple: it is not. The “war on drugs” is not only an ineffective means of combating the illicit use and trade of narcotics, it has exacerbated an array of other equally problematic issues for the united States and its citizens.
Therefore, a significant reform in policy is needed in order to efficiently address our national narcotics problem. When the statistics are examined, it is fairly obvious that the united States’ drug policies have not worked and that a significant change in policy is necessary in order to overcome this epidemic. Unfortunately, the issues surrounding the drug policy abate are anything but simple, and are all hotly contested in their own rights. These issues are a series of complex and interconnected challenges that we, as a society, need to address -?first domestically, and then globally.
Because of that complexity, this report may seem to bounce from one point to another, but I will do my best to make it as easy to follow as possible. First, what is the drug policy of the United States? The United States federal government has maintained a policy of outright prohibition of narcotics since the early twentieth century. Prohibition criminal’s the manufacture, transportation, ale, and even the mere possession of a banned Item or substance. As a concept, prohibition makes perfect sense; but In reality, It Is not always possible to enforce.
The federal government has attempted It previously and failed. During the asses, the prohibition of alcohol created a huge black market, which helped spawn powerful transnational networks of violent criminal organizations (ex: La Coos Nostril) that exist study of more than thirty major U. S cities during the Prohibition years of 1920 and 1921 , the number of crimes increased by 24 percent. Additionally, theft and burglaries increased by 9 percent, homicides by 12. Percent, assaults and battery rose by 13 percent, drug addiction by 44. Percent, and police department costs rose by 1 1. 4 percent. This was largely the result of “black-market violence” and the diversion of law enforcement resources elsewhere. Despite the Prohibition movement’s hope that outlawing alcohol would reduce crime, the reality was that the Voltages Act led to higher crime rates than were experienced prior to Prohibition and the establishment of a black market dominated by criminal organizations. ” Thinking that prohibiting narcotics would end up any differently doesn’t make any sense at all, ND, frankly, is incredibly shortsighted.
To put the size of the black market for narcotics into context, according to the Office of National Drug Control Policy, Americans spent 94. 8 billion dollars on illicit drugs in the year 2003. Furthering the case for the retooling of drug policy, economists for the Coat Institute, a Washington-based think tank, Jeffery Minor and Katherine Waldron published a report touting the economic benefits of ending the prohibition of narcotics. “This report estimates that legalizing drugs would save roughly $41. 3 billion per year in government expenditure on enforcement of prohibition.
Of these savings, $25. 7 billion would accrue to state and local governments, while $15. 6 billion would accrue to the federal government. Approximately $8. 7 billion of the savings would result from legalization of marijuana and $32. 6 billion from legalization of other drugs. “The report also estimates that drug legalization would yield tax revenue of $46. 7 billion annually, assuming legal drugs were taxed at rates comparable to those on alcohol and tobacco. Approximately $8. 7 billion of this revenue would result from legalization of marijuana and $38. Billion from legalization of other drugs. ” That is an 88 billion swing, without taking into account many of the other costs that are incurred due to the government drug war. Of all the negative effects or drawbacks associated with the policies of the war on drugs, the most tangible and pragmatic problem is not one that can really be contested. The budgetary and financial ramifications of federal drug policy loom large, and with state, local and federal branches of government operating in the red, they are becoming more and more glaring.
According to the National Drug Control Budget released by the White House, “In support of the 2013 National Drug Control Strategy (Strategy), the President requests $25. 4 billion in Fiscal Year (FYI) 2014 to reduce drug use and its consequences in the United States. This represents an increase of $0. 9 billion (3. 7%) over the FYI 2012 final level of $24. 5 billion. ” That is undoubtedly a vast sum of money, but ultimately, it is only the tip of the iceberg with regard to what is actually spent as a result of the United States’ drug policies.
First of all, that number only takes into consideration what the Federal government spends on domestic and international enforcement (38% and 8%), interdiction (16%), reversion (5%), and treatment (33%). State and local spending is not included in those statistics. Additionally, the costs of trying, prosecuting, and eventually incarcerating individuals who are convicted is not included, either. In a study on the total economic impact of illicit drug use, the National Drug Intelligence Center (Dept. Billion. Direct and indirect costs attributable to illicit drug use are estimated in three principals: crime, health, and productivity. Of that $193 billion, $56 billion went to the criminal Justice system alone; that is more than twice the 2014 federal drug budget. To Justify spending that much of the American people’s money on trying, convicting, and incarcerating drug offenders, the crimes would have to be very serious in nature (e. G. , violence, trafficking or manufacture, etc. ). Since such an incredible sum of money is being spent on drug-related criminal Justice, it would make sense if most of the people arrested and incarcerated for drug-related offenses were violent offenders or drug dealers.
That isn’t exactly the case. In fact, the vast majority of people who are arrested for any drug crimes are nonviolent and were arrested for simple possession. According to FBI statistics covering 2001-2012, roughly 82% of all drug arrests were for possession, and only 18% for sale or manufacture. Furthermore, on December 31, 2011, there were sentenced prisoners under state Jurisdiction. Of these, 222,738 were serving time for drug offenses, of whom 55,013 were merely convicted for possession (Bureau of Justice Statistics, DO]).
Considering that those arrest figures are spread over more than twenty million arrests and ten years, and the high rate of incarceration solely because of possession, it is apparent that something in our domestic drug policy needs to change. It’s a common turn of phrase that says: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing again and again, and expecting different results. ” Our government’s drug policy is Just that, a repeated action that has failed, yet they insist on repeating it over and over.
It has been more than forty years since the “war on drugs” was started, and it hasn’t put any significant dent in the rates of drug use or the proliferation of drug trafficking into the United States, despite the billions of dollars that have been poured into it. That fact, coupled with budgetary deficits and the overcrowding of orisons, makes it painfully obvious that something needs to change in order to make some sort progress towards lessening this country’s drug problem. An outright legalization and regulation of narcotics is the only way to effectively eliminate the illegal drug trade.
That would be an extreme change and a vast improvement, but it would not be an easy change to make quickly, and realistically, would require many more years to take effect. However, the decentralization of simple possession and a much greater investment in prevention and treatment is a needed 1800 shift in policy that could be implemented immediately. Rebuttal Proponents of the drug war commonly point to drug-related violence as a reason not to abandon the policies of the last four decades. This “moral high ground” is disingenuous at best.
As previously mentioned, a policy of prohibition creates an illicit market for whatever is being prohibited and empowers criminal elements. In Mexico, paramilitary multinational drug cartels are waging a territorial war over trafficking routes into the largest and most lucrative drug market in the world: the United States. Conservative estimates state that since 2006, over 60,000 people have embers would be much higher if not for the cartels’ propensities for disposing of their victims’ bodies, rampant corruption of local officials and threats against reporters.
The cartels and their violence aren’t restricted by borders. They are present throughout the United States, and pose a significant threat to our society as a whole. At this point, ending prohibition is the only way to significantly reduce their means and motivations for committing such egregious acts. Another common fallacy that is purported as fact is the idea that less draconian drug policies result in higher rates of use. The Netherlands is an excellent example of a country whose looser drug laws haven’t resulted in higher rates of abuse.