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War on Drugs


Yet another war the US hasn’t won. Why? Because it can’t.

birth of prostitutionProstitution has been around since folks moved out of the Garden of Eden. It was common in ancient Israel, despite being tacitly forbidden by Jewish Law. The laws on prostitution vary considerably around the world. They can vary from total prohibition to minimal regulation. In practice neither capital punishment, incarceration, nor remedial training have had any appreciable effect on the prostitution. The issue is socially and politically divisive. In Germany prostitution is legal. In the US the laws against it are selectively enforced. The simple fact is prostitution is not going away. Legalize it, ensure the health of the prostitutes and tax the profits. This would take the criminal element out of it. Beside the criminals only the police would be losers; they would lose the easy busts to justify their budgets.

ganstersOK, Prohibition – how’d that work out? Prohibition was mandated under the Eighteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Enabling legislation, known as the Volstead Act, set down the rules for enforcing the ban and defined the types of alcoholic beverages that were prohibited. While Prohibition was successful in reducing the amount of liquor consumed, it stimulated the proliferation of rampant underground, organized and widespread criminal activity. Many were amazed with the rise of spectacular gangland crimes (e.g., Chicago’s Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre), when prohibition was supposed to reduce crime. Starting to sound familiar?

With this preamble you’ve probably guessed where I come out on the War on Drugs.

Drug use in the U.S. has been on a steady rise ever since criminalization began. Overdoses have become more common as more laws have been put into place, and arrests have been increasing for nearly 30 years. The “War on Drugs” began under President Nixon, but really took hold in 1986 with the Anti-Drug Abuse Act.

prisoners of the war on drugs"The United States leads the world in the number of people incarcerated in federal and state correctional facilities. There are currently more than 2 million people in American prisons or jails. Approximately one-quarter [a half million people] of those people held in U.S. prisons or jails have been convicted of a drug offense. The United States incarcerates more people for drug offenses than any other country. With an estimated 6.8 million Americans struggling with drug abuse or dependence, the growth of the prison population continues to be driven largely by incarceration for drug offenses." [i]

In my every to be humble opinion natural drugs should be legalized, tested for purity and taxed to provide money for drug education and rehabilitation. I also believe that everyone in incarceration for the use of cannabis, cocaine or opium should be set free, if they agree to drug education. If these “natural” drugs are priced with a normal profit, then most of the manufactured drugs will be forced out of the marketplace.

Of course this will never happen because there are too many vested interests in the “War on Drugs.” · for profit prisonsFor Profit Prisons – In 1980, there were 41,000 drug offenders in state and federal prisons and jails. In 2011, there were 499,000 drug offenders behind bars. Through lobbyists, private prison corporations, according to, have contributed to a number of laws aimed at arresting more people and keeping them incarcerated for longer periods of time, such as mandatory minimum sentencing, drug offenses and immigration violations.

· nashville swatLocal Law Enforcement – As of 1994 the Justice Department had transferred almost $1.4 billion in forfeited assets to state and local law-enforcement agencies. Some small-town police forces have enhanced their annual budgets by a factor of five or more through such drug-enforcement activities.

· big pharmaBig Pharma – If we examine the process that pharmaceutical companies traditionally use to maximize profits, we see that there is a life cycle to most medications that they produce. They will produce a medication until the patent expires, then they will introduce a replacement medication, usually at a higher cost, which may or may not actually perform better than the medication that was replaced. They, of course can’t manage the product life-cycle of a natural drug, much to the detriment of their bottom line.

· gunsGun manufacturers – According to the US Government Accountability Office, 87% of firearms seized by Mexico over the previous five years were traced to the US; Texas being the single largest source. Attorney General, Eric Holder, told Congress that of 94,000 weapons captured from drug traffickers by the Mexican authorities, over 64,000 originated in the US. That’s 64,000 units of production that would not occur without the “War on Drugs.”

we the corporationsNow that corporations are people, just with lots of money and lobbyists, they hold sway over the political process. So, you see, with all of interests profiting from the “War on Drugs” what chance is there of any reasonable change? It is truly a sad state of affairs.

[i] Justice Policy Institute, "Substance Abuse Treatment and Public Safety," (Washington, DC: January 2008), p. 1.

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