War on drugs is an American terminology, meaning a campaign of turndown on drugs, military equipment’s and invention, with the only purpose of reducing the illegal drug trade. United States has spent large amount of financial, military and other resources on the war on drugs. The effectiveness of the war on drugs has been argued in a manner that such high expense on this war have not yet ensured elimination of illegal drugs so this war should be ended; however, the opponents view is that if this war is ended then the situation will only get worse. The war on drugs needs to be evaluated prior proceeding with it while allocating additional or existing resource.
In order to understand the effectiveness of war on drugs, it is considered essential to look into the history and origin of illegal drugs. In the 1800’s drugs arose in the region of America. Opium was in demand after the Civil War. Cocaine was the second most popular, in 1880’s. People used coca as energy drinks as well as medicines. Morphine was introduced in the year 1906 in US for medical purposes. Respiratory diseases were treated through Heroin, Cocaine was used by the soft drink company such as Coca-Cola whereas Morphine was known as an effective pain killer often prescribed by the doctors.
The revolution observed a strong understanding that such mind-altering drugs use has been causing an intense addiction in the people. The maltreatment of Cocaine and Opium had widespread during late 19th century. Thereupon, the local government began banning opium den and opium accession. In the year 1906, the labeling of medicines became compulsory to be done precisely for the physicians by the Pure Food and Drug Act campaign. Various illegal drugs were also acknowledged as medicines for several types of pains. Furthermore, in 1914, the first Federal Drug Act that was enforced in the United States was, The Harrison Narcotics Act. It held back the sale as well as production of Cocaine, Heroin, Marijuana, and Morphine. The execution of the act started forcefully. About five thousand general practitioner who practiced drugs on addicts as “maintenance” were imposed upon heavy charges fined or jailed, between the years 1915 and 1938.
In the year 1919The Supreme Court was against the act of drugs being used as maintenance treatment on addicts, Moreover the Federal Policy of United States of America beset the general practitioner and chemists. In 1930’s, The Federal Bureau of Narcotics was created by The Treasury Department, which was led by Harry J Anslinger after 1962 and formed Drug Policy of America his own way. Under his era, drugs were completely outlawed. The Boggs Act was introduced in 1951 to penalize the Marijuana users. The Narcotic Act for the control in the year 1956 was the most prudish enforcement approved by the Congress. Warnings to discontinue punishment or allow trials were put out.
The Federal Bureau of Narcotics generated legends and dreadful stories through propaganda related to drugs to alarm their people. The increasing cases of irrationality, assassination and rape had occurred due to Marijuana. Anslinger claimed that the Marijuana made people insane and urged them to commit ferocious misconducts. People were amazed at the stories Anslinger and FBN created, only the horror stories related to drugs were real. From the year 1940’s to 1950’s this propaganda was so stretched that public had stopped believing about the official and strict government warning in terms of drug usage.
In 1960’s the program reverted and drug use become more popular. Marijuana came into fashion by the college students. Other hippies used hallucinogens to expand their mind and stay unconscious. It was also seen that came back as addict of Marijuana and most noticeably Heroine from the war of Vietnam. Shortly, in 1960 the demand of pills and different types of drugs in USA boomed
The Modern War on Drugs
A war in the year 1971 was declared on drugs by President Richard Nixon. He declared clearly that most horrendous and most lethal enemy of US public is drugs. To fight back this enemy it is very imperative to take strong and impressive measures.” Nixon struggled to end drug misapplication on import and export grounds. Nixon’s view reflected both the pros and cons of using drugs. Nixon started the very first meaningful Federal finance programs against drugs. In the year 1971 the government subsidized the investigational and controversial upkeep program. In June of 1971, Nixon spoken Congress and acknowledged the fatc that as long as people are willing to take drugs the suppliers will continue to exist. In this speech he clearly mentioned that determinations to bring the drug use to an end is designed to flop until it is in demand.
The removal of the Marijuana of Mexico was the very first lesson of “the law of drugs economics.” All effort that the US Government made to remove drug use since Procedure Interrupt the more worldwide trade of drug grew. Strictly checked drug paths were deflected. Drugs entered through air, terrestrial, and sea ways and closing the borders for the smugglers became impossible until it was heavily demanded by the public.
Marijuana legalization was de-comprehended by the people. A sudden increase of Cocaine was experienced in Carter’s presidency. Cocaine consumption massively increased from 19-25 tons to 71-137 tons, from 1978 to 1984. This means, increment of 700 percent in six years. The feeder drug was the Marijuana. Hence, the Federal government took a step back from Marijuana decriminalization.
Reagan’s new agenda was to “get tough” on drugs, also identified as “zero tolerance” campaign. . In which punishment against the culprit was underlined. The year1986 Anti-drug misuse provided drug operators the responsibility to their act and had penalized them accordingly. Even though, drugs were granted for medical treatments only, they could still not end the overwhelming amount of drug abuse.
Clinton ran the Republican’s stock sided policy for drug, despite of what was headlined. In the year 1995, Clinton slotted an additional amount of $1 billion for demand and the supply front for the government’ drug policies. Clinton’s idea was to attract the media’s consideration after spending double to demonstrate the programs to stop drug abuse. However, the budget increased substantially. In 1995, amount of $13.2 billion was devoted for imposing policies of drugs $17.8billlion on supply sided efforts and amount of $5.4 billion on prevention education, rehabilitation and prevention. Clinton’s huge investment on the supply side clearly stated his tactics. Apparently, Congress had played a major role on formulating the drug policy of United States. The Republican’s 104th Congress was successful to kill Clinton’s attempt to increase the demanding side. The Democrat’s’ 103rd Congress of early 1990’s wanted the policy of rehabilitation and prevention. Both Republicans and Democrats very little favored the supply side policy.
The Colonial and Moralist consider the drug addicted with a sinful soul. The drug policy of moralist’s has kept severe punishment for the users. Drug is used by criminals. “Zero tolerance” of Reagan was used by the moralists very effectively. The conservative group of people thought drugs itself the reason behind addiction and also the supply was harmful to the public. Due to the conservative people, the drug policies should have focused on the supplier and buyer of the drug to remove the drug use. The US drug policy was affected by the former. The drug used for treatment was the disease concept known as curable disease; in this case neither the supplier nor the drug user is the cause of the addiction. Clinton embraced the concept and funded even more for the disease treatment and rehabilitation programs.
It was estimated in 1993 by The National Institute on Drug Abuse that about 2.5 million could benefit themselves with the drug treatment. About 1.4 million got treated and others were just ignored. The government also spent $2.5million on the treatment programs and $7.8 million on drug policies. It was unfair of the government to do so, it should have had spent more money on cure programs and rehabilitation and take the drug users out of the addiction, rather than spent huge amount on enforcing drug policies. Ending criminalization cannot be done by opening up America’s border to drug sellers and tolerating violence due to that. The supply chain should also be cut down and not ignored. The violent drug agents as well as suppliers should be focused not small drug users or dealers. By investing less on removal of drugs might become easy to supply drugs in US, but there is no point of evidence that the demand is on the increase.
Effectiveness of War on Drugs
It’s been 25 years the US military and government have been involved in the war on drugs. Nobody really knows when this war will end; there is a confusion about the issue that the America’s government and its people are facing. This is the war on drugs, and there is a question unanswered: Is this a fight that United States can win? It is only when the people will realize that using drugs is harmful to them and can causes them severe adverse effects and by stopping the demand for drugs. Those who have experienced illegal drugs at any point in their life will surely second the idea that the drug experience is nothing less than a blissful infatuation. The unintended effects from drug fantasy have ruined various individual and family lives, relationships and even jobs. The current counter-attempts to eradicate drugs and its usage are expensively lame and ineffective. This fight against drugs has given us humans more damage than benefits. This research paper explains it further.
Some particular drugs with grave effects for humans are really fatal as compared to some other lower efficacy ones. LSD shots were always used as a tranquilizing numbing agent for elephants. Once exposed to humans it has resulted in some terrifying outcomes. Research shows that without having sensations of pain, Humans euphoric with LSD have cut their hands and fingers and have also gone to the extent of breaking each and every joint of their arm. To add to the misery, Cocaine and Crack are more frequently used with high addiction rates and at times they can be fatal in their first use.
People of United States still have in their memories the tragic incident of the famous basket-ball player Len Bias who died after one night dosage of Cocaine. Heroine is a serious addiction and makes the addicted feel blue and depressed. Also it is one of the major factors of AIDS proliferation. All the afore mentioned drugs can be branded into the extremely hazardous category with standard variances in their fatality rates Whether Marijuana is also a part of this fatal category? The US government sponsored research says NO. This research also showed that Marijuana active contents have health benefits such as it helps in reducing body-aches, moderates nausea feeling and simulates digestion. This research also implied upon the notion that Marijuana is not a doorway drug i.e. doorway to other serious drug addictions. Many intellectuals and experts are of the opinion that Marijuana is the first small leap towards drug fascination followed by serious big leaps. This American government funded study simply rejected this widely held belief by terming that they could not establish any scientific relationship between these 2 factors. These sponsored findings give us the idea regarding position of American government over Marijuana and seems so that sooner or later it will be legalized in the US.
Legality of the War on Drugs
Fight Against drugs can be falsified with the following arguments.
- The drug prevention as per the current implementation clearly breaches defined route principle. Its paybacks do not validate the infringements on rights that are thought to be assured by the 5th & 14th Revisions to the U.S. Constitution. On July 27, 2011, U.S. District Judge Mary S. Scriven declared that Florida's laws contending to abolish the resolve as a major factor of the charges of drug custody was illegitimate. Analysts clarified the decision to second the due process.
- The US motto of freedom of religious practice permits the usage of some drugs such as Peyote used by Native American Chruch, dimethyltryptamine as Ayahuasca is used by União De Vegetal. The freedom of religion and exercise clause of 1st Amendment obliges no prerequisite for any person to be associated with any church or any other religion.
- Also as per the Commerce Legislation of US, the authority to police and regulate drug usage should be with the state government rather than being with the federal government.
- No real Fight has been declared against cigarettes and Alcohol which are equally addictive and research also suggests that extreme usage of both is cancerous. So this injustice of prosecuting only drugs and leaving behind tobacco and alcohol is also biased. If a ban on liquor requires a constitutional amendment then why are drugs banned without any constitutional modifications.
Modern War on Drugs
This neo-drama war on drug started in 1960s till date and has not achieved anything except misery and failure. Now the US people have to take a decision whether they want to continue with the same tried, tested and failed methods or they want to improvise and innovate. Instead of seizing, abducting and jailing the offenders why can’t the government divert the same costly budget on starting extensive training and coaching programs in schools, colleges and universities so that the root cause is addressed. The same approach is being done for liquor and tobacco but it can be extended to marijuana as well so that it is only discouraged not banned. Mass Awareness campaigns are a must rather than targeting petty violators. These realities second my opinion that by making drugs illegal, United States had more losses than benefits.
In this futile war against drugs, United States has lost a lot of resources. More than 500,000 US citizens have been jailed in the prison that is costing US about $10 billion annually. The war on drugs has hence proved to be an expensive war for United States. Billions of US Dollars budgeted and spent for growth in law enforcement personnel to fight against the agents and gangs that do the business of drugs. This also include the resources spent on handling legal cases relating to illegal drugs. Stimulated riots and gang-war casualties because of over-dosage, uncontrolled drug efficacy and shared injections have been on the rise as the reaction of war on drugs. These issues have been increased due to the frustrated response of the people involved in drugs trafficking around the globe. Civilian rights have been breached by the fact that the belongings of the violator are seized by the Government. People have shown their concerns regarding breach of their privacy. Empowered Drug Lords and street criminals have taken control of various remote areas in order to avoid getting caught by the law enforcement agencies. In this manner the efforts of such agencies have be used additionally to clear the remote areas of the region.
The prevailing market price of one ounce of fresh and pure cocaine is easily above many thousand US Dollars and the cost of inputs remains as low as 20 dollars. This magnum difference between the selling price and the cost price is what empowers and enriches drug and war lords. It keeps them motivated to do the same illegal act again and again despite life threatening dangers surrounding them. To them it is all justified because the risk premium is just too high to abstain from. If these drugs were made legal, it is sure that these premium profits would go down and it will demotivate and discourage current and new drug abusers and sellers.
War on drugs has overall cost United States a lot in terms of money as well as manpower resources but this war has brought many improvements to the society. United States has been able to curb the use of illegal drugs in the major cities around the states. United States needs to continue this war on drugs with better policies and accurate implementation of these policies. People of United States as well as other countries are also required to be educated about the negative impacts of usage of illegal drugs on their health and overall society. It is considered essential to educate people on the critical issue of war on drugs and make them understand the importance of their role in this fight.
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Bogazianos, D. A. (2012). 5 Grams: Crack Cocaine, Rap Music, and the War on Drugs. New York City: NYU Press.
Chepesiuk, R. (1999). The War on Drugs: An International Encyclopedia. New York: ABC-CLIO.
Wisotsky, S. (1990). Beyond the War on Drugs: Overcoming a Failed Public Policy. Boston: Prometheus Books, Publishers.