Thursday, April 2, 2020
Essay 3 Essays - Drug Control Law, Psychoactive Drugs, Articles
Matt Screws Anderson English 1101 3/31/19 The War on Drugs is a Failure The war on drug s in the United States has been continuing for almost 50 years and has had a profound effect on many groups of people . President Richard Nixon's declaration of a "war on drugs" a war that has cost roughly a trillion dollars, has produced little to no effect on the supply of or demand for drugs in the United States, has contributed to making America the world's largest incarcerator , and has eroded the civil liberties and rights of American people . Now there has probably never been a drug free society. Virtually every society has ingested psychoactive substances to deal with pain, increase energy, and even commune with God. Our want to adjust our state of awareness might be as basic as our craving for nourishment, friendship, and sex. The reasons drugs are made legal and others not has almost zero to do with science or health and almost everything to do with who uses and who is perceived to use a particular substance. For instance, in the 19 th century the main users of opiates in this country were middle aged white women who would use these medications to alleviate aches and pains when few other remedies of this kind were available. There was no thought of criminalizing them back then because no one wanted to throw grandma in jail. However, the feelings about opiates changed dramatically whenever Chinese people showed up to work on the railroads and in the mines. They justified their prohibition laws by demonizing the drug and leading people to believe that these Chinese immigrants were trying to transform their white women into drug addicted sex slaves. The first cocaine prohibition laws were similar but instead target toward black men who they were afraid would use this drug and forget his p roper place in southern society. Marijuana followed sui t and was made illegal by all the fears associated with Mexican migrants use of the drug. In the Ted Talk "Why we need to end the W ar on D rugs " Ethan Nadelmann said, " If the principal smokers of cocaine were affluent older white men and the principal consumers of Viagra were poor young black men, then smokable cocaine would be easy to get with a prescription from your doctor and selling Viagra would get you five to 10 years behind bars " . The real enemies of the war on drugs are not the drugs themselves but communities which use these drugs . Th e drugs are just the convenient excuse to target these groups. The Nixon White House had two enemies which were the antiwar left and blacks. They realized there wasn't a way to make it illegal to be against the war or black so they would just criminalize drugs which were present in the communities. Once they were able to get society to associate certain drugs with different groups, they were able to disrupt the communities by raiding their homes and locking up their leaders all while lying about the effects of these drugs. Through the late 80s and into the 90s we began to see incarceration rates skyrocket from just 50,000 in 1980 to over 400,000 by 1997 thanks to Reagans unprecedented expansion of the drug war . Today the war is still being waged and the same groups are still being targeted. The markets for marijuana, cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine are global commodities markets just like the global markets in alcohol, tobacco, coffee, and su gar. Where there is a demand there will be a supply . Knock it out an another one is certain to emerge. People tend to think of prohibition as the ultimate form of regulation when in fact it represents the absence of regulation with criminals filling the void. Putting criminal laws and po lice front and center in trying to control a dynamic global commodities market is a recipe for disaster. Started first as means to target specific racial groups and people left of center the war on drugs has been successful in what it was designed to do yet it failed to stem addiction .