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The Failure of America's War on Drugs

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The War on Drugs is the attempt of preventing people from using substances that are considered bad for consumption. The American government has waged a war on drugs for several years. Since its declaration, the war on drugs has coasted several billions of dollars and many lives, yet despite all the unpleasant consequences, there are no results in stemming the flow of drugs into the United States. By now, it is apparent that the War on Drugs has failed in every objective. There haven’t been reductions in the drug trade, eliminated production or a decreased in the number of users.

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Governments have used billions of dollars and several resources in dealing with the issue, and they also established and expanded several prisons in order to deal with it, but the illegal drug trade continues and increases. More drugs are available today on daily basis more than ever; they are sold at cheaper prices, and they are moved all over the world by various means. Historically, the War on Drugs was an establishment of American politicians. It has created a criminalization system which has ended up incarcerating millions of people who used recreational drugs apart from tobacco or alcohol.

What makes the War on Drugs partly controversial is because of its ever-changing cultural reaction to a substance and not an actual threat of individual or social harm. Peoples opinion of drugs and alcohol are based on social construction and subjected to change focused on different factors: mostly based on the intensity of media campaigns that detail community devastation at the hands of drug addicts and drug dealer, as well as political pressure at once and for all, win the war against drugs.

Even though the line between illegal and legal substance is arbitrary, the United States has spent a lot of years trying to wage war on drugs. The cost has been violence, crime, corruption, the devastation of social bonds as well as the destruction of inner-city communities and the exponential development of several minorities and women ending up in jail. Despite several programs, financial savings, and alternative initiatives, it remains that a strong economic incentive persists in the War on Drugs, which includes the profitable prison-industrial complex and asset forfeiture laws.

There are several alternatives to the War on Drugs, such as decriminalization, regulated distribution, and strategies for reduction of harm, which includes various treatment drug programs. Current policies on drugs disproportionately affect lower-class individuals, the minority, discriminate against women, and does not do much in minimizing drug consumption or encourage treatment for addicted people and their families. Admitting the failure of the War on Drugs is only the first step. Identifying the appropriateness of extended incarceration for non-violent victimless offenses is not enough in taking into proper consideration the problem of drug prohibition.

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As a result, new ways should be considered that will deal with the issue of illegal drugs; how they initially became illegal and for what reason; what health and various consequences they have for users and communities; the impact of criminalization; what alternative solutions are being considered all over the globe. A War on Drugs premised upon fear, moralism, and prejudice should be replaced with policies that focus on public health concerns, scientific evidence, and even compassion. The solution, therefore, does not lie in increased criminalization but instead of increased treatment. Until this happens, American society will not benefit from antidrug endeavors.

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The Failure of America’s War on Drugs. (2018, July 10). GradesFixer. Retrieved June 1, 2023, from
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