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Why The War on Drugs Is a Huge Failure

March 1, 2016
1,310 Views

The war against drugs has been a terrible disaster for everybody involved. Why? And can we do something differently?

The War on Drugs is an American term commonly applied to a campaign of prohibition of drugs, military aid, and military intervention, with the stated aim being to reduce the illegal drug trade. This initiative includes a set of drug policies that are intended to discourage the production, distribution, and consumption of psychoactive drugs that the participating governments and the UN have made illegal. The term was popularized by the media shortly after a press conference given on 18 June 1971, byUnited States President Richard Nixon—the day after publication of a special message from President Nixon to the Congress on Drug Abuse Prevention and Control—during which he declared drug abuse “public enemy number one”. That message to the Congress included text about devoting more federal resources to the “prevention of new addicts, and the rehabilitation of those who are addicted”, but that part did not receive the same public attention as the term “war on drugs”. However, two years even prior to this, Nixon had formally declared a “war on drugs” that would be directed toward eradication, interdiction, and incarceration. Today, the Drug Policy Alliance, which advocates for an end to the War on Drugs, estimates that the United States spends $51 billion annually on these initiatives.

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