It all began on June 1971…..Nixon’s War on Drugs.
The beginning of this failure was not what you think….was drugs the true enemy?
In June 1971, President Nixon declared a “war on drugs.” He dramatically increased the size and presence of federal drug control agencies, and pushed through measures such as mandatory sentencing and no-knock warrants.
A top Nixon aide, John Ehrlichman, later admitted: “You want to know what this was really all about. The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I’m saying. We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.”Nixon temporarily placed marijuana in Schedule One, the most restrictive category of drugs, pending review by a commission he appointed led by Republican Pennsylvania Governor Raymond Shafer.
Yes it has been a dismal failure…..if the true reason for such a “war” was to stop the flow of drugs….and the American people agree….
The findings released by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) showed that 83% of Americans say the “war on drugs” has failed. That assessment is felt similarly across party lines; 83% of Democrats expressed that view, as did 85% of Independents and 82% of Republicans. Nearly two-thirds of respondents (65%) said it’s time to end the war on drugs.
The poll also found that 66% of voters support getting rid of “criminal penalties for drug possession and reinvesting drug enforcement resources into treatment and addiction services.”
Similar percentages were seen in support for eliminating mandatory minimum sentences for drug crimes (64%) and for commuting or reducing the sentences of people incarcerated for drugs (61%).
A further finding was that 63% think drug use should be addressed as a public health issue compared to just 33% say it should be addressed as a criminal justice issue.
A decade ago, 2011, a commission found that the ‘war on drugs’ was a failure and yet it continues and even expands….and the drugs continue to flow in….
The global war on drugs is a failure and should be replaced by decriminalization strategies grounded in science, health, security and human rights, according to a recent report by the Global Commission on Drug Policy. “Repressive efforts directed at consumers impede public health measures to reduce HIV/AIDS, overdose fatalities and other harmful consequences of drug use,” says the report.
As an alternative, the Commission – which includes activists, business leaders, former American cabinet officials, and former European and Latin American presidents — points to a number of countries that have decriminalized drugs without seeing a significant rise in use or drug related-violence. Portugal saw declines in heroin use, new HIV infections, and the incarceration rate once it coupled the decriminalization of all drugs with treatment policies. Similar drops in problematic drug use, especially heroin, were observed in both Switzerland and the Netherlands after adopting polices that emphasized treatment rather than criminalization.
After billions upon billions upon billions wasted trying to prevent that we are fighting drugs has accomplished only one thing…..the incarceration of many people for minor offenses….
And the drugs flow on!
The one situation that we can thank the War on Drugs is the militarization of our police forces….
The war on drugs has impacted a myriad of domestic institutions within the United States. Nowhere is this more apparent than in analyzing the evolution of U.S. domestic policing.
Historically, laws within the United States have attempted to separate the functions of domestic police from those of the military. Police are to protect the rights of citizens — both the victims and perpetrators of crime — and are to use violence only as a last resort. The military, by contrast, is trained for war, to engage and destroy enemies. While events throughout the late nineteenth and early twentieth century opened the door that separated police and military, the war on drugs blew that door off its hinges.
More traditional wars, like World War II, have a clearly defined external enemy. The war on drugs is different. While the United States engages external enemies as a part of its drug interdiction policies, it also targets domestic “enemies”—drug users, dealers, manufactures, and everyone involved in the illicit drug trade. These domestic adversaries are not readily identifiable.
Time for the admin to grow a set of nuts and face up to this failure and look to the real problems and stop pretending that we are winning an unwinnable war….time to stop wasting much needed funds on a failed policy.
And the drugs flow on!
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“lego ergo scribo”