U.S. President Richard Nixon declares war on drugs June 17, 1971. Since then, the U.S. has spent on the war more than 1 trillion dollars, and produced more than 45 million arrests. Drug use remained the same. The U.S. population is 4.5 % of the world, and the number of people jailed in the U.S. - 25 % of the total number of prisoners around the world. Over 500,000 are jailed for drugs. 2.7 million Children have a parent behind bars. The probability that they will be behind bars are much higher than those whose parents escaped this fate. In this paper we consider the history of the fight against drugs in the United States.
In 1971, President Nixon declared war on drugs. And this war doesn’t be stopped till the present days. At the same time in this war the U.S. did not win, but much lost. In this regard, it is worth remembering that in the history of the United States has such a war. It lasted from 1919 until 1933 and was called "dry law" (American source this historical period is often called "ban", and this word is always spelled with a capital letter).
U.S. war with alcohol ended in complete victory of the latter. Consumption of spirits has grown over the years of Prohibition 0.3 gallons per capita to 1.86 (520 %), wine - from 0.44 to 0.87 gallons per capita (97%) and beer - from 1.26 to 6.9 gallons per capita (447 %). Total national production of alcoholic beverages brought bootleggers over the years $ 2.9 billion (in 1929 dollars), which put the industry on a par with the release of cars and steel and production of oil. In the 1920s, 470 % increase in the production of sugar beets - the main raw material for the production of moonshine. And in only one of the states in 1929, police seized much moonshine as not to withdraw the whole country before the ban. 480 thousand gallons of confiscated in New York for one year ban alcoholic beverages 98 % contained poisons. It was during the period of the "dry law" in the United States appeared and developed organized crime, which is no less present drug sector tended to resolve disputes through violence including murder.
Since the beginning of the 1970s and to this day can be called repetition. Only now ban for drugs. And here is manifested in full "effect of Cobra." However, look at everything in order.
In a concentrated form of "government failures" in the war on drugs are presented in the traditional message to the U.S. Congress next convocations prepared by one of the center libertarian social thought - Cato Institute (Washington). They are called the Cato Handbook on Policy and represent collections libertarian judgments and recommendations on various aspects of the policy of the federal government. The messages of this kind caused by war with drug problems are addressed in both the domestic and international perspective. Turn to some consequences of the war on drugs, which are presented in the last such document (2004)
It begins with the conclusion that the long federal experiment in prohibition of marijuana, cocaine, heroin and other drugs brought us crime and corruption with an outright failure in an attempt to stop the drug or reduce their availability to children.
Federal spending for the first 10 years of Prohibition ("prohibition") amounted to 88 million dollars (982 million U.S. dollars in 2004), which were needed to maintain it. Currently in the United States per year on the war on drugs at the federal level only spent $ 19 billion. On drug-related charges is delayed more than 1.5 million people annually. Since 1989 these charges were imprisoned more people than on charges of all violent crimes. In 2004, U.S. prisons violators drug laws were 400 thousand prisoners, or more than 60% of federal prisoners.
However, despite such impressive results of this war costs lead to the inverse of its declared goals results. About half of high school graduates in 1995 had experimented with drugs. Each year, from 1973 to 2003, at least 82% of high school students are responsible to find marijuana "easy" and "fairly easy." About $ 40 billion annually goes to the criminal world, including corrupt politicians and even terrorists.
The report's authors remind us of some adverse effects of drug prohibition. One of the most powerful of these is the prohibition of the use of marijuana for medical purposes. National Institute of Health (USA) concluded that smoking marijuana can relieve a number of serious conditions (nausea, pain). Particularly effective it can be as a means to improve the appetite of cancer patients and HIV -infected patients. It can also help people who are immune to traditional medicines.
In one survey, more than 70% of oncologists in the United States said they would prescribe marijuana to patients in case of legalization, about half of them advise patients to break the law and buy marijuana. The British Medical Association has announced that more than 70 % of its members consider it necessary to make available marijuana for therapeutic purposes.
In 1996, California and Arizona have adopted state laws, under which licensed doctors can prescribe marijuana seriously ill patients. This caused a serious conflict with the federal level of government. The result of his concussion was certain U.S. federal system, which continues to this day. The federal government still prohibits the use of marijuana for medical purposes, though the U.S. Constitution does not give him such a right.
One study found that in 1995, not cured pain cost the U.S. 100 billion dollars in medical expenses, lost wages and 50 million working days. Since 2001, the Agency for Drug after criticism of Congress for failing to deal with the spread of drug abruptly tightened control over doctors, prescribers patients narcotic drugs.
The U.S. is very active in the fight against drugs and on a global scale. It pushes the fact that most of the drugs imported into the U.S., but is intercepted at the border only 5-15% of their total imports. Therefore, efforts were directed to the main producing countries. Widely known so-called "Plan Colombia", which the U.S. spent over 4 years $ 3.3 billion. However futility of hopes for the success of this and similar plans is already in the price structure. Costs of production of cocaine and smuggle it into the United States account for only 13 % of its market price.
The war on drugs and tools used in it, first, do not bring the expected results, and second, bring unexpected consequences that force once again to recall the "effect of cobra."
In Latin America, the U.S. actively uses tools subsidizing alternative breeding narcotic crops. The result is actually subsidizing the production of drugs. Coca is a very undemanding plant. So, for example, in Peru and Bolivia, only 5-10 % of the area occupied by coca can be occupied by alternative legal crops. As a result, program conversion of agricultural land use additional funds for cultivation of coca crops where it is impossible to grow legal culture.
Also, if possible to achieve a real reduction in the area occupied by the drug culture, the consequence of this increased market price. American economists in this regard expressed surprise why initiators companies use here is the same tool that is used to maintain the income of grain producers in the U.S. Promote reducing acreage drug culture cannot lead to a different result.
U.S. funding of infrastructure construction in the international anti-drug programs, too, has the opposite effect. The most rapidly developing areas of coca production in Peru and Colombia were the most active areas and the construction of roads at the expense of American taxpayers.
In the end, the fact that the cost of coca cultivation is less than 1 % of the market price of cocaine suggests that traffickers will always be able, if desired, to provide farmers more subsidies than the U.S..
The U.S. has a lot of pressure on governments (primarily Latin American countries) to carry out crop eradication policy drug culture. If governments are actively pursuing such a policy, they cause extreme rejection of the peasantry, which begins to actively support radical political leaders and various rebel movements. Last they are actively involved in drug operations. As a result, the U.S. or create very serious problems friendly governments (which, in the future, also have to constantly provide additional assistance to fight the rebels) or bring to power those very leaders with whom they are less likely to want to deal with.
In addition, a reduction of cultivation and drug culture of drug production in one country is an incentive to expand them in others where they have previously significantly inferior legal cultures. Some successes in the fight against drug trafficking in Peru and Bolivia resulted in a significant increase in production in the drug culture of Venezuela, Ecuador, Brazil, Argentina. As a result, there is a serious threat of “columbization” throughout Latin America. In itself, Colombia, despite the much-touted plan and financial inflows U.S. coca production over the past decade has increased by more than 150%.
Crusade against drugs in the U.S. and creates serious problems in Afghanistan. Afghanistan currently supplies the world market 75% of opium. Income from trading them reach 2.3 billion dollars a year, which is about half the country's GDP. Opium poppy ensures the survival of approximately 264 thousand Afghan families. Increased pressure on the already precarious Karzai government in the fight with the opium poppy and the distraction of American troops on their destruction, are, as the authors of the Cato Institute, the revival of Al Qaeda, Taliban supporters and thus very and hampers the fight with a very real danger to the United States - international terrorism.
What is the cure for all these "government failure" offer libertarians of the Cato Institute. It is no secret to those familiar with the libertarian recipes. They urge to stop a war that can not be won. Free the economy from the prohibition on drugs and monitor their implementation in the same way as the sale of alcoholic beverages. They are convinced that only the decriminalization of drugs will bring the company out of the impasse created by him and confront the problems of drug addiction based on the free choice of free people of alternative values. However, this requires a radical reduction of the state and bureaucracy, which in the eyes of state control - a panacea for all ills.
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