Drug War Failure and Associated Problems

Introduction

One of the challenges that the United States has been dealing with over the last several decades is the illegal drug business. Over the years, several illegal drugs have been used in the United States for recreational, medical, and spiritual purposes (Alexander 20).

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The war on illegal drugs has dragged on for a significantly longer time than expected. The first laws to be developed in the country with intent to stop the illegal trade were in 1870s among the Chinese immigrants that had problem with the effect that cocaine was having on their people. At the turn of the 20th Century, the South came up with laws that mainly targeted the African American population in the area (Becker 101).

Later on, the Midwest followed suit and came up with their own laws that targeted the Latino community and Mexican immigrants who were believed to be behind the illegal trade in the area. Many analysts argue that the failure by the American authorities to deal effectively with the challenge of illegal drug trafficking has a lot to do with several elements that characterize the American culture, as well as the quality of legislation (Becker 113). According to federal reports, the high number of people convicted in the country due to illegal drugs related charges constitute of African Americans and Latinos.

Discussion

The real threat of illegal drug trafficking in the United States started being felt in the 1960’s during the leadership of President Richard Nixon. His tenure as the president of the United States was characterized by a generational gap characterized by young people using drugs as a way of mounting rebellions, causing social disruption, and showing their displeasure with political differences (Alexander 36).

In addition, the government at the time refused to support the numerous proposed scientific studies that aimed at assessing the usefulness, safety, and usability of the drugs in crucial processes such as medical treatment. President Nixon stated that the United States was ready to address the challenge of the illegal trade when he declared a war on drugs back in 1971 (Becker 141).

He made several efforts towards dealing with the challenge by making effort such as increasing the number of personnel working at agencies tasked with drug control, and improving the implementation of policies dealing with those convicted of drug trafficking. This was followed by a strict classification of various illegal drugs in order to help federal officers that apprehended various culprits to understand the degree of offense committed (Alexander 45).

One of the key events in the war against drug trafficking happened in 1972, when President Nixon refused to accept a report by the commission tasked with categorizing the drugs and their restrictive measures. The decision made by President Nixon triggered eleven states to legalize the possession of marijuana for personal use because they found it as an effective way of addressing the possibility of the black market growing (Alexander 61).

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President Jimmy Carter used the decriminalization of marijuana possession wave as the highlight of his campaigns that won him the presidential polls in 1977. Since the country has been struggling with achieving effective regulation of the illegal trade despite the high rate of incarcerations of those caught engaging in the trade.

Problems associated with the drug war that have contributed to its failure

There are several problems or challenges associated with the fight against drugs in the united states that have contributed to its total failure. One of the common problems associated with the American war on drugs is racial injustice. Studies conducted to establish the dynamics of the illegal drugs trade in the United States established that the fight against the vice develops along racial lines (Becker 147).

Although the studies established that drugs are equally used for various purposes across all communities in the country, most incarcerations and convictions, involve members of the Latino and African American communities. It is very ironic that the two communities make up close to 30% of the total population in the united states, yet they constitute approximately 75% of all drug related violations and convictions in the country.

These statistics have dented the numerous efforts made by the federal government to end the trafficking of drugs because the war has lost its meaning and purpose. It has been termed as the war against immigrant communities in the United States rather than the fight to save the current generation from wasting away (Becker 182). The best way that the society can respond to this problem is changing their attitude towards the efforts made by the federal government and the people involved in the illegal trade. It is important to understand that the government does not dictate the kind of people involved in the trade, thus having a big percentage of African Americans and Latinos being convicted for engaging in the illegal drug business is not the making of the government (Angell 36).

Another problem associated with drugs and the war on drugs is the federal legislation that denies people with a history of engaging in the illegal trade access to education, housing, and other forms of benefits. This provision is contained in the Higher Education Act that was passed by the federal government in 1998 (Angell 50). According to the act, the federal government has the right to delay or deny benefits to any applicant who is convicted or has been associated with the illegal trade of drug trafficking in the past.

Such kind of an offense compromises the future of the convicted persons’ family because they lack access to crucial federal benefits such as education, public housing services, and health care cover (Angell 59). In addition, more than thirty state governments deny people convicted with drug related charges from getting food stamps.

According to legal experts, all these regulations are geared towards demoralizing the people involved in the illegal practice from continuing their association with it (Becker 199). However, the strategy has been counter productive because the convicted individuals often go back to business once they serve their sentence in prison because they do not have other sources of income to rely on for survival. The best way that the society can respond to this problem is lobbying the government to reconsider their stand on giving people convicted of drug trafficking access to federal benefits (Angell 77). The reason for this is the fact that it will help to address the root cause of this challenge, which is poverty and the fact that people have to meet their basic needs.

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The war on drugs in the United States has also been associated with wasting the taxpayers’ money. Although the program was launched with an intention to make the country free of illegal drugs, the situation is very different more than forty years later. The most notable change that has happened in the country from the war on drugs has been continued wastage of money amounting to approximately $ 50 billion every year (Becker 203).

Much of this money is spent by the federal, state, and local governments. The prison system also spends a big percentage of the money owing to the high number of people incarcerated every year on drug related offenses. Many people believe that the money invested in the fight against drug trafficking often goes into waste because the amount of drugs in the country and the ease of accessing them have been on the rise over the last couple of decades (Angell 100).

The government should come up with more effective and less costly strategies for making America free of illegal drugs. The most effective strategy that the society can use to approach this problem is electing leaders with more practical strategies for addressing the drug problem in the country. The people have the power to bring a change in the way some of these issues are addressed through the democratic process of voting.

Another major problem associated with drugs and the drug war is shredded constitutional rights (Angell 129). It is a common scene in the United States, to see police officers and federal agents breaking into homes without notice during their raids. In the process, many innocent citizens tend to suffer unnecessary trauma that could have been avoided if the constitution provided for better intervention measures (Becker 223).

Americans also complain of being subjected to urine tests without prior notice, an element that often influences on their ability to life without fearing coming across federal agents. Prosecutors have also been accused of abusing their constitutional rights by seizing property of innocent citizens without following the right procedure. The people convicted of drug related offenses are often denied their democratic right to vote, which makes it hard for people to have their desired influence on the governance structure in the country (Angell 199).

The best way that the public can respond to this problem is lobbying the government to revise the constitutional clauses touching on fighting the illegal trafficking of drugs in order to offer more protection to innocent citizens (Becker 249). Other notable problems associated with the war on drugs in the United States include unsafe neighborhoods, bloodbath in Latin America, highly compromised safety of the young people, and broken families among others.

Conclusion

The war on drugs in the United States has been very slow and ineffective since its launch in 1970 by President Nixon. Many Americans have lost hope in the ability of the federal government to win this fight amidst numerous accusations of wasting the taxpayers’ money. The fight has also attracted a lot of criticism from human rights groups, which argue that the war on drugs is used to fight minority groups such as African Americans and Latinos. Many analysts argue that the failure by the American authorities to deal effectively with the challenge of illegal drug trafficking has a lot to do with several elements that characterize the American culture.

Works Cited

Alexander, Bruce. The Roots of Addiction in a Free Market Society. New York: Routledge, 2015. Print.

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Angell, Marcia. The Truth about the Drug Companies: How They Deceive Us and What To Do about It. New York: Random House Trade Paperbacks, 2005. Print.

Becker, Howard. Becoming a Marihuana User. California: University of Chicago Press, 2015. Print.

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StudyCorgi. (2020, November 23). Drug War Failure and Associated Problems. Retrieved from https://studycorgi.com/drug-war-failure-and-associated-problems/

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StudyCorgi. 2020. "Drug War Failure and Associated Problems." November 23, 2020. https://studycorgi.com/drug-war-failure-and-associated-problems/.

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