As early as the 20th Century, the United States has been associated with a high number of individuals involved in drug abuse. The situation worsened in the late 1950s and 1960s, a time when the federal government lacked well-defined laws on drugs. It was not until the early 1970s that Richard Nixon, the then president of the United States, realized the impact of drug abuse on American society, prompting them to declare war on it. This resulted in the enactment of a drug legislation act (Almanac of Policy Issues, 2004) that greatly assisted in regulating the supply, use, and possession of illegal drugs.
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The reduction of the supply of drugs is a very effective method in the fight against drug abuse. It is perceived that the abuse of illegal drugs is promoted by their being readily available. For instance, the recent increase in the supply of heroin has augmented its users. Control in the supply of illegal drugs is both a domestic and an international issue since drugs trafficking occurs within and across borders. The control of the illegal use, sale, and trafficking of illicit drugs in the USA is usually regulated by the control substance Act (Gray, 2001). Other mechanisms that are employed to combat the possession of drugs include screening inmates for drugs and empowering the USA anti-drugs laws. Internationally, the supply of illicit drugs is controlled through establishing consensus, enforcing anti-money laundering policies among others.
The existence of legislation that controls the availability of illicit drugs in the United State has greatly helped in the efforts by the federal government to minimize drug abuse in the United States. This has been made possible by the existence of a very efficient law enforcement agency that screens for drugs those people entering USA borders through the air, land, or water and seizing the majority of these drugs. Interdiction in the transportation routes and arrival destinations disrupts the drug flow. This makes the drug traffickers use less efficient routes that limit the quantity of these drugs getting in the United States (Miller, 1996). The existence of very extensive drug trafficking companies enables the drug traffickers to adapt very quickly to the interdiction mechanism and therefore the enforcement agencies are required to respond very rapidly to surpass that of the traffickers by deploying their resources in the highly-threatened areas. Thus, the U.S has established three task forces to assist it to respond to these operations. They include the customs Domestic Air interdiction Coordination Center that examines airways that approach the United States (Office of National Drug Control Policy, n. d.). The other two include the Operation Alliance and Texas-based Joint Task Force Six that synchronize activities along the Southwest border. This has greatly assisted in reducing illegal drugs in the United States.
The anti-Drug abuse Act enacted in 1986 was a very strategic move for the USA in its effort to minimize illicit drugs in the United States. The Act gave the president the authority to increase taxes and tariffs on goods imported from those countries that do not cooperate with it (Miller, 1996). This was done in an effort to enhance its cooperation with other relating nations so that to assist in reducing the use and distribution of these drugs in the United States. This resulted in a majority of these countries embracing this statute with a view to enhancing their relationship with the U.S so that they may not lose the opportunity to do business with the United States as the country offers a good market of products from many African and Asian countries. The statute also offers a provision for seizure of the assets of the drug offenders. This has discouraged the majority of people in the USA and other cooperating nations from engaging in this illegal trade for fear of losing their properties. Drug trafficking is a very tempting occupation due to the high revenues that are associated with drugs (Gray, 2001), but the existence of such tight laws that allows the loss of an offender’s property has helped the USA government win its battle of reducing the degree of drug trafficking in the USA.
The Act also acted as a benchmark for the enacting of anti-money laundering laws that controls the movement of illegally accessed money from one country to another or across bank accounts. A congress study in 1995 revealed that in the USA an approximate profit of $60 billion is realized by drug traffickers annually. Thus, the existence of anti-money laundering laws helps the government to track such people when they transfer such huge money when transacting.
The provision of mandatory imprisonment for drug possession is the most effective statute in the fight against illicit drugs in the United States (Bertram, 1996). After 1986, the United States passed a minimum sentence for anyone found in possession of illegal drugs. In 1986 Congress established mandatory prison terms by differentiating the number of different drugs in offenders’ possession. It recommended imprisonment not less than 10 years for those having 5,000 grams of cocaine or 1,000, while those having lesser amounts such as 500 grams of cocaine and 100 of heroine respectively face imprisonment of not less than 5 years. This has boosted the fight against possession of illegal drugs in the USA because many people are afraid to use them as they might be arrested and face the long imprisonment associated with their possession.
The USA enacting of the Ant-Drug abuse act in 1986 has helped to reduce greatly the illegal drugs in it. The only improvement that they need to implement is by emphasizing the importance of that legislation so that to ensure even marijuana is considered as an illegal drug in all its states and not as a medicinal drug for some illnesses as perceived in some states. This will greatly reduce further, the abuse of illegal drugs in the USA.
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Almanac of Policy Issues. (2004). Drug Trafficking in the United States. Web.
Bertram, E. (1996). Drug War Politics: The Price of Denial. California: University of California Press.
Gray, J. P. (2001). Why Our Drug Laws Have Failed and What We Can Do About It: A Judicial Indictment of the War on Drugs. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Temple University Press.
Miller, J. (1996). Search and Destroy: African-American Males in the Criminal New York: Cambridge University Press.
Office of National Drug Control Policy. (n. d.). Reducing the Supply of Illegal Drugs. Web.