War On Drugs Essays

The War On Drugs Essay

578 Words3 Pages

The “War on Drugs” is the name given to the battle of prohibition that the United States has been fighting for over forty years. And it has been America’s longest war. The “war” was officially declared by President Richard Nixon in the 1970’s due to the abuse of illegitimate drugs. Nixon claimed it as “public enemy number one” and enacted laws to fight the importation of narcotics. The United States’ War on Drugs began in response to cocaine trafficking in the late 1980’s. As the war continues to go on, winning it hardly seems feasible. As stated by NewsHour, the National Office of Drug Control Policy spends approximately nineteen billion dollars a year trying to stop the drug trade. The expenses shoot up, indirectly, through crime,…show more content…

An eighth grader has the ability to obtain heroin or cocaine as effortless as he or she could marijuana. The scary thing is that drugs are so much stronger, purer, and more deadly than they were decades ago. Can you even imagine children using them and the way they are harming their bodies? As far as school and their education, what child will learn if they come to school high or intoxicated? Or if they even go to school for that matter. The programs that the schools have provided, such as D.A.R.E., have proved themselves to be ineffective. There are just as many kids, and that is exactly what they are, using drugs that have taken the program than the kids that had not participated. It seems that the more the government tried to educate against drug, the more negative attitudes arose against the police and law enforcement. And with that escalates the positive attitudes towards using drugs and alcohol, as well as a rise in criminal behavior. As a result in the drug war, education becomes limited to those who actually care to learn.

The drug war has dramatically affected the number of imprisoned Americans, as well as its prisons. According to DrugSense.Org, 1,576,339 people have been arrested for drug law offenses this year alone. And out of those, 9,261 have been incarcerated. As for marijuana offenses, 747,183 people have been detained. In fact, most of the non-violent offenders sitting in state, local and federal prisons

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The topic of this research paper is War on Drugs. There are many problems that drugs cause, but there are also problems that the war on drugs has caused too. The following paragraphs have supporting ideas for both ideas. Every president since Eisenhower had created new measures to decrease drug use in the United States, but, until 1979, none had actually succeeded. In 1989, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) released a report stating that there was a 37 % drop in casual (non-addicted) use from 1979 to 1989. Despite this trend, drug abuse and addiction had become a serious and dangerous problem in the 1980 's.

Due to a rise in the popularity of casual cocaine use among the middle and upper class, and the invention of crack cocaine, a storable, more potent form of cocaine that is used primarily by poorer, drug addicted people. United States President George Bush officially began his "war on drugs" on September 5, 1989, when he gave the first prime time address of his presidency. The plan called for $ 7. 9 billion from Congress, a $ 2. 2 billion increase from the previous budget. 1 Of the $ 7. 9 billion that Bush asked for, 70 % would go to law enforcement, which included $ 1. 6 billion for jails. However, only 30 % went to prevention, education, and treatment. The Bush administration sought to wage its war by primarily focusing on demand in the United States, which, to Bush, meant attacking and arresting the drug user, rather than focusing on prevention, education and treatment, or interdiction (Trying to reduce the supply of drugs). Bush's war on drugs did produce results.

The biggest success was the 22 % decrease in cocaine use. This was a definite victory for the government. However, it is not entirely clear that the government was responsible. The middle class may have finally opened their eyes to the effects of cocaine usage. When a drug is first introduced, people have not yet seen the negative effects of the drug first hand, but, as time goes on, people see these effects, and begin to stay away.

The war on drugs, however, did nothing to curb drug usage among the poor. In fact, the opposite happened. Poor people used more cocaine, heroin, and crack by 1992 than when the war on drugs began. One million people still smoked crack by the end of the Bush administration. President Bush also required the states to do a large amount of the fighting, because of the federal government's limited police power. In November of 1990, a bill was passed that coerced the states into suspending the driver's licenses and revoking government permits and benefits (including college loans) of those who were convicted of drug crimes.

If the states did not enact the legislation mandated by this federal bill, there would be a significant reduction of federal aid to their highways, beginning in 1993 Drug arrests rose from 56, 013 in 1985 to 94, 490 in 1989, an increase of almost 69 %. By 1992 there were more people in federal jails for drug charges than there were for all crimes in 1980, causing Chief Justice of the Supreme Court William Rehnquist to say that there were just too many arrests. Despite the $ 1. 6 billion that had gone to build new federal prisons, there was a logjam. A large part of this logjam was due to attacks on the drug user; twice as many people were arrested for possession than for selling. This overcrowding meant that sentences had to be shortened. With shortened sentences, drug dealers were soon back out on the street, selling drugs again.

One drug dealer explained that the reason why doing and selling drugs is so alluring to Americans living in poverty is the fact that there is nothing else to do. There are no jobs, and there is no recreation. This would point to a very prevalent view, which is that drug use is not only a social ill, but also the result of other social ills, and the best way to fight drug use, especially heavy drug use, is to fight poverty. This would explain why the war on drugs did absolutely nothing to stop drug use among poor Americans; in fact, drugs became more popular among poor Americans during Bush's term in office. Eventually the federally ordered war on the casual drug user proved to be too much for New York City. Jails were consistently above their maximum capacity, forcing the city to open up jail boats for their prisoners.

Instead of going after drug users, a plan that had been deemed fairly unsuccessful, New York City decided that the best course of action would be trying to catch traffickers (The wholesalers and distributors), and others who reaped the rewards of selling drugs. As a result, the arrest rate went down 26 % and the city saved hundreds of millions of dollars in trial and imprisonment costs. Jails were no longer overcrowded. Instead, they suddenly dropped to 92 % of capacity. The underlying problem, however, was that not enough was known about drug abuse and addiction to treat it. It was known that 70 % of drug addicts also had an addiction to alcohol or a mental problem.

It was also known that only one half of cocaine addicts stayed clean for two years after treatment. One of the main theories about why treatment was so unsuccessful was the fact that drug users were lumped together as a scapegoat group, universally hated by society. If treatment were to work, many argued, it must recognize the addict as a person and address the addict as an individual, with individual needs and concerns. The other major problem was the stark lack of facilities. Public facilities were overcrowded, and those who wished to stop using drugs by entering a public treatment program were often put on long waiting lists...

Keeping someone in a prison costs $ 25, 000 to $ 50, 000 annually, whereas inpatient treatment for addiction costs only $ 15, 000, according to Dr. Peter Pinto of the Samaritan Village, Incorporated. That means that putting all four million drug addicts into inpatient services would cost a maximum of $ 60 billion annually, whereas holding them in jail would cost $ 100 billion. The treatment of the four million addicts, however, carries an estimated cost of only $ 5. 6 billion, since not all would require inpatient treatment. The biggest problem, however, was that the prisoners themselves would generally rather serve out their prison term than go into treatment, probably because the prison sentences were so much shorter than any treatment program. Drug dealers did an average of eight months at River's Island in New York City.

Drug traffickers did an average of 22 months. Drug addicted dealers who showed good chances of recovery were offered an alternative...


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