President Nixon declared a war on drugs in 1971. The policies made to propel this war formed part of the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970. The central aim of these policies was to ensure the absolute prohibition of drug abuse within the boundaries of the United States. Nixon’s administration also introduced federal demand reduction and drug treatment programs which replaced the punishment of imprisonment from two to ten years that was initially established by the federal government. The preceding law was imposed on anyone who could be found in possession of marijuana. In 1982, CIA and military engagement was pushed to help fight the war on drugs.
Despite the wide speculation that the war on drugs has shown a remarkable change in the achievement of its goals, the number of those whose lives are affected by drugs is increasing day by day. The global drug lords are too strong for the United States government policies to stop. The war on drugs is a failed policy, and new policies should be put in place to curb this menace in the world.
The number of drug cartels has been growing not only in the United States but also in other countries, such as Mexico, India, Brazil, and Columbia, among others. The government attempts to implement its policies based on the upsurge of these cartels. The first goal of the war on drug policies is to ensure a drug-free environment. The United States government formed these policies about 40 years ago with an intention to eradicate the use of drugs in society completely. To date, this goal has not been realized. There is not a single state in the United States that has achieved this goal, that is, to be declared drug free (Drug Policy Research Center 3). The goal of the drug policy of creating a drug-free nation has therefore failed to yield any fruit.
The policies on the war on drugs have always failed because, for one fact, the United States government has thought that an increase in the number of drug prisoners is an indicator of success in this war. For instance, on December 31, 2011, the federal report showed that 94,600 individuals were serving their term as drug offenders. This was the category with the highest number of offenders, followed by public order offenses at 69,000 (Carson and Sabol 10). In drug offenders on parole in 2011, 33% (about 281,771 people) of 853,852 people on probation were drug offenders (Maruschak and Parks 18). These figures show that indeed the population of American prisons is very high.
The figures also justify that the policy approach given to the war on drugs has economic consequences, especially in relation to those who are incarcerated. For instance, treatment of drug victims in the community rates at $20,000 less than incarceration per person in a year (Justice Policy Institute 8). This indicates that a large amount of money is spent on incarceration and this imposes a huge burden on the taxpayers who make up the American population.
Despite the government’s claim that it has upped the enforcement of the law to curb the use of psychoactive drugs in the country, this fact does not reciprocate the reality of the drug situation. For one, many people have been imprisoned for having been caught consuming, producing, or distributing these drugs in the country. However, this does not give the ultimate solution to the problem. In fact, the laws on drugs have only proved to be too stringent given that the amount of marijuana traded in the country has greatly increased since 2011 (Kelly 1). Despite these laws being enacted, the government has failed to completely stop the importation of cannabis from Mexico, which they have attributed to an immense increase of the drug in the country. The laws the government has made to fight this war on drugs are not effective enough, and sensible amendments of these laws call for attention in the country. This only means that the country is making further steps into the drug problem.
The drug (marijuana) seizure in the country has been considered one of the successes by the government on the war against drugs. Reports show that in 2009, the government seized a higher amount of marijuana than Mexico, where drug dealing has been more prominent than the United States for years. From a critical point of view, this does not call for any celebration. We cannot depend on this knowledge as a yardstick for determining how far the United States government has gone to ensure that the nation is drug-free, or at least, has its consumption level of these drugs lowered. This report only shows that despite the attempts by the government to curb this problem, the drug is not only widely consumed in the country, but is largely produced…