Letter: The drug war has been lost
The war on drugs is led by the U.S. Government and consists of drug prohibition, military aid, and military intervention, with the aim being to reduce the illegal trade in the U.S. The war consists of a set of drug policies that are intended to discourage the production, distribution, and consumption of drugs that participating governments and the United Nations have made illegal.
The cost dollar-wise is $51 billion per year and growing. The term war on drugs began June 18, 1971, by President Richard M. Nixon. With a message to Congress on drug abuse prevention and control he declared that drugs were “Public enemy number one.” The war would eradicate all illegal drugs in the United States using interdiction and incarceration.
In June 2011, the Global Commission on Drug Policy released a critical report on the war on drugs, declaring “The global war on drugs has failed, with devastating consequences for individuals and societies around the world.”
So, what has been won in the USA and Mexico? Almost one million people arrested and imprisoned and more arrested each day in the U.S. The cost in dollars is $1 trillion, enough to build a thousand walls between us and Mexico. The cost in human life staggering, 10,000 per year gang and crime related killings in the U.S., and also drug overdoses and crime-related police deaths. Mexico sees 50,000 deaths per year between rival cartels and police/military action, a staggering 1,300 persons per day.
The Democrats in congress will not spend $5 billion on a wall that would not only stop cartels from bringing white death across the border but also stop the criminals from cartels bringing them across. They would rather spend $51 billion Congress approves each year for drug interdiction and incarceration.
This incarceration has created a permanent underclass. Penalties for drug crimes have also included permanent or semi-permanent removal from opportunities for education, stripped them of voting rights and later created criminal records which make employment difficult or impossible. As a result, they turn back to drugs for income.
Marijuana is now legal in five states. Thousands of prisoners can and will be released in due time. The legalization of the other top offenders, heroin and cocaine, would see one million fewer arrests in this country each year. As long as the American people want to snuff this garbage up their nose or inject it into their veins, the bad guys are going to be there to produce and deliver these drugs for a price.
This fact was realized when alcohol was banned and the demand went up and so did the crime. The U.S. government should step in now with treatment for the addicted and education for the morons who don’t realize the true cost of drug addiction. Let the drugs flow like tobacco and booze and get the revenue through taxation.
Then watch drug cartels disappear or evolve into another human vice. Use the money and teach our kids about drugs so they don’t learn it from the bad guys. Ask an eighth grader at our local schools what’s available at recess and they will tell you. Kids think it’s cool to get stoned and return to class. Don’t believe me? You really need to educate yourself.
— Senior Chief
James D Brooks,
US Navy (Ret.)