Should The US End The War On Drugs?

A prohibition campaign that America has taken with the help of other interested countries aimed at reducing the trading of illegal drugs is what is commonly referred to as war on drugs. Its main aim was to curtail the supply of these narcotic substances and thus diminishing their demand. There are policies and laws that have been formulated aimed at reducing people from consuming, distributing and producing these harmful substances. The first campaign on drugs was by Richard Nixon back in 1969 who commonly used this phrase.

Using drugs personally and contradicting law is drug abuse (Callahan, 2005). Commonly abused drugs are marijuana, methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine and pharmaceuticals that are obtained illegally and not for utilized for medicinal purposes. There are many arguments that are presented to justify the war on crime as it has both its pros and cons. Pros of the war on drugs Approximately 4 million Americans are drug addicts and imbibe illegal drugs. 12000 Americans die annually from drug abuse and other related deaths associated with drug abuse.

Most drug abusers who inject drugs into their bodies end up sharing needles a habit that is spreading the hepatitis and HIV viruses faster than a bush fire. Hepatitis C and Aids are terminal illnesses that require constant treatment and this raises the health cost in the country. It is estimated that $13. 1 billion is spent annually in California to cater for drug abuse. This is the total cost lost to productivity, treatment and prevention, crime, justice system and health care. There are many cases of drug overdoses that result into deaths.

This vice has plagued many Hollywood stars and it has been known to lead many of them into early graves. The rest of the stars are known to pop in and out of rehabilitation centers where they spend millions of dollars in trying to be clean. Millions of people die from diseases that are related to substance. If the war on drugs was successfully won, it would play a very big role in preventing immature deaths of drug addicts. Most of those who die from this abuse are young adults whose lives are cut short at the prime when they would have immensely contributed to the economy of America.

Many drug abusers are known to indulge in petty crimes to get an extra buck to sustain their habits. Women result into selling their bodies for less than $5 to get a single fix of cocaine. Men opt to mug, burgle and steal from anyone to get money to support this habit daily. This has elevated petty crimes and other major crimes across America. Most rapists and those who commit homicides confess to have been under the influence of drugs when they committed the crime. Individuals who abuse substances have higher tendencies of committing suicide as they suffer from withdrawal symptoms when not under the influence drugs.

The war on crime can be partly won by curbing the illegal use of narcotics. Cons of war on drugs Most of the drugs that are termed as illicit in America were legitimate in the early 20th century. Billions of dollars collected from taxpayers are being spent in America in a bid to transform it to a drug free country. The federal state and local government has pumped thousands billion dollars in this campaign yet accessing cocaine, heroine and many other narcotic substances has been made easier and cheaper than ever before.

Almost half a million inmates in jails are serving time due to charges related to drugs resulting to more the number being higher than those incarcerated in western Europe for all crimes. This has resulted in overcrowding in prison accompanied with all the myriad problems that arise from it. The war on drugs has infringed on the constitution rights of people, public health and values. The prohibition of drugs which affects the demand and supply of drugs has led to crimes that are related to drugs (Callahan, 2005).

The restriction of accessing clean needles by drug users has affected public health by increasing the infection rates of hepatitis C and HIV. There is such great concern in the notion that because one is a junkie they should not have access to clean needles because they are already endangering their lives. By jailing drug offenders the war on drugs exposes the inmates’ children to the risk of being jobless, delinquent, school dropouts and becoming addicts killing all the family values that America has worked hard to cultivate.

The war on drugs has eliminated the recreational use of these drugs by targeting the occasional users. The prisons are overflowing with so many drug offenders and the attention of the personnel in the criminal justice has been diverted from serious crimes that are oftenly committed. Prohibition will continue to sky rocket the profit gained by drug traffickers and drug barons who have no fear for the law will continue ensuring the black markets thrive and the trading of drugs continues.

If these drugs were legalized as in the case of tobacco and alcohol, most streets in several US cities would be free from crime and violence (Carpenter, 2003). The prisons and court systems would be less clogged with inmates of drug related offences which can only be achieved through legitimizing these illicit drugs. Lifting the law on prohibition would cease the civil liberties erosion and help in the fight against international terrorism threat. Most terrorist groups get their revenue from drugs and lifting prohibition would deprive them this source.

Freeing thousands of personnel from this unsuccessful cause and billions of dollars that are all tied up would increase the war on terrorism which is a much bigger threat. The law imprisons every one found in possession of drugs and it is estimated that $25000 spent on every inmate yearly would have been put into better use. The punitive approach that the state currently uses has resulted to an increase in the drug use instead of a reduction (Carpenter, 2003). An emphasis should be put on treatment of the drug users instead of overcrowding the jails and courts with these offenders.

The policy on prohibition is seen as the best alternative but the least effective one. The war on drugs using punitive policies is looking like a hopeless cause and new better methods have to be invented. Billions of tax payers’ money continues being wasted in a fruitless war as drug use is rampant and drug related crimes are on the rise. Conclusion Since President Nixon waged the war on drugs in 19991, the results have been futile and drug use and all the associated vices are on the increase. Prohibition only fuels the thriving of black markets where drugs are sold at exorbitant prices.

This generates a lot of money for drug barons who end up indulging in other illegal businesses such as terrorism. Other better effective methods should be adopted to win the war on drugs as prohibition is almost losing.


Callahan, P. (2005). A call to end war on drugs. Retrieved on March 22, 2009, from http://www. november. org/razorwire/rzold/02/0203. html Carpenter, T. (2003). Washington’s Futile War on Drugs in Latin America. Retrieved on March 22, 2009, from http://www. theglobalist. com/DBWeb/StoryId. aspx? StoryId=3612

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