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On June 9, 1971, President Richard Nixon proclaimed a war on drugs, ranging from giving more authority and a bigger presence of anti-drug enforcement in the United States. To suggest that the”War on Drugs” erupted from an area of evidence from Science and studies related to the negative effects of drugs, would be a false pretense. The “War on Drugs,” presented by President Richard Nixon, was instead based upon the motivation to shut down and go after anti-war protestors and black people; all this admitted by  Mr. Nixon’s former top advisor. Not only is the War on Drugs unacceptable from an ethical standpoint, but also has many detrimental effects including being a waste of money and resources, being terrible for the environment, promoting danger in the United States and abroad, as well as, being counterproductive and ineffective.
Since 1970, the United States Government has spent over $1.5 trillion dollars in a failed attempt of banning drug use. This is unacceptable, since that extraordinary amount of money could be allocated to other much needed sources, such as rebuilding the American infrastructure, or creating more career opportunities for American citizens. Many anti-marijuana advocates, state that recreational marijuana were to be legalized, that it would be too difficult to collect taxes and revenue from its profit, as well as the promotion to use more drugs; which would lead to a worsened, hardened society. But following the states that have already legalized marijuana for recreational purposes, such as Colorado and Washington, the opposite of their claims have happened. Colorado, since legalizing marijuana on  January 1, 2014, boasts a collection of over $10 million dollars in the first four months of its sales. $40 million of the collected tax revenue shall be used to improve public schools, Colorado’s infrastructure, as well as, programs to aid in youth substance abuse. As seen in Colorado, the legalization of marijuana has had nothing but positive effects.
Not only is the war on drugs negatively affecting the lives of American citizens and society, but it is also impacting the environment in a gloomy way. Many steps are taken to get rid of fields created for the sole purpose of growing crops, such as Coca plants and marijuana, such as deforestation and use of herbicides. The cultivation of these crops are not a big deal to the environment, but the combination of herbicides and deforestation affects the wildlife and the microbiology of the soil. This in turn, can affect things such as our food, water, increase in Climate Change, etc. Another effect of drug policy, includes ghastly elimination of drug waste. When drug producers create their product, waste from that is also created. The best way to get rid of the waste is to safely remove the waste and place it somewhere that will not affect the surrounding environment. But since said producers are intimidated of being caught removing the waste, they focus more on stealth, instead of safety and leave the waste in a location that will not get them caught, i.e. storm drains, lakes, buried underground. With legalization, comes safer measures to control dangerous waste of drug production.
The war on drugs promotes danger in the United States and the rest of the world, both directly and indirectly. One of the biggest promoters for illegal use and drug production is the Mexican Cartel. They thrive on drug policy by being one of the biggest producers of illegal substances worldwide and uses many fear tactics and violence to further their agenda, such as beheadings and cold blooded murder. The Mexican Cartel’s outreach spreads to corruption of government and law enforcement officials to help promote their cause of selling drugs. Drug policy has also caused American prisons to become full and become the number one nation in incarceration. Most of the incarcerated individuals are non-violent drug offenders, and would be more suited to rehabilitation, rather than spending time, rotting in a prison cell. Since many police officers are involved in the collection of drugs and arresting nonviolent drug offenders, this becomes a huge waste in our law enforcement resources. Rather than allocating their time to more important issues, such as murders and robberies, they are forced to focus their attention to someone that is only using a drug. WIth legalization, comes better allocation of law enforcement resources, less crowded prisons, and proper rehabilitation for substance abusers.
Perhaps the biggest reason to oppose the war on drugs is the fact that it has an effect of being counterproductive and ineffective. Compared to countries such as Portugal and the Netherlands, where drugs are either legalized or decriminalized, there is significant lower rates of use compared to the United States. America has the highest usage of illegal drug use because America’s drug laws, rather than reduce, promote drug use. The reason behind this phenomenon, being that substance abusers are afraid of risking prison time for seeking help for their drug use. Legalization offers the promotion of proper rehabilitation for illegal substance users, which allows them to become productive members of society, rather than to be labeled as nothing but a convict.
In conclusion, from being a waste of resources, to being detrimental to the environment, promoting danger both in the United States and the world, and being counterproductive and ineffective, the war on drugs has only hindered America’s progress both economically and morally, and should be abolished. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) must be pressured to decriminalize and legalize the use and possession of drugs so America. America has to take the data and evidence from other countries such as Sweden, Portugal, and the Netherlands and implement their ideas such as proper rehabilitation, rather than just incarceration without proper care. Not only would disemboweling the war on drugs promote proper rehabilitation, but also weaken and perhaps completely wipe out drug cartels. When America decides to change the way they handle and view illegal substances, only then can there be true change, change for the better.
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