Big business, enormous profits, irrational and insensible policies, this is the American way. These features are evident in what I believe to be one of the most detrimental situations affecting America today, The War on Drugs. For a long time now our government has taught us to fear, hate, and persecute the evil doers of the drug world. But who are the real criminals? To the lawmakers, the politicians, the Columbian drug lords, and all who lobby against the legalization of drugs, you are the real criminals.
When most people hear the word prohibition an image of Al Capone or a tommy gun resonates in their minds. Others immediately recognize the truth, prohibition does not work. We learned this lesson between 1920 and 1933 during alcohol prohibition. But today we continue to live under this same policy. Our government has given the criminals absolute control over all aspects of the drug trade. They control the supply, potency, and price of these substances and determine where they are sold and to whom. By outlawing drugs we have created a black market that makes criminals untold amounts of money and maintains an industry that will never cease to exist. Individuals and societies have used drugs since the beginning of time and no amount of anti drug legislation will stop the use and trade of illegal substances.
The war on drugs is not only a dismal failure but it causes far more problems than the behavior it is intended to suppress. Countless lives and billions of dollars have been wasted waging an impossible war. An annual budget of 69 billion dollars fuels America’s campaign to eliminate drugs. The fact is the production and flow of drugs will never be eliminated due to the incredible amount of money that can be made. Drug interdiction efforts carried out on U.S. And foreign soils does not even put a dent in the availability of illegal drugs. U. S. drug agencies periodically seize large shipments of cocaine or other drugs which in turn are highly publicized in the media to create the illusion that our tax dollars are not being wasted but for every shipment that is uncovered there are several more slipping under the radar. Approximately 1.6 million Americans are arrested each year on drug or drug related charges many of these are non violent users. These offenders flood our already overflowing jail and prison systems costing tax payers even more money. When drug users are no longer treated as criminals education and treatment programs will curb the use of drugs.
Legalization of drugs would allow our government to regulate the drug market and eliminate the profits for criminals while also creating substantial revenue. Legalization is not an approach to America’s drug problem, it is a solution to its crime and violence problem. Fixing our drug problem will not be easy but it is possible, consider the fact that 50 percent of the adult cigarette smokers in our society have quit in the last 10 years, this is an amazing accomplishment considering nicotine is the most addictive drug we know of. This success story was made possible because of education. Until America adopts a sensible drug policy it will continue to lose obscene amounts of money and countless human lives.