All drugs should be legal. There, I said it. And it’s not because I use illegal drugs, I don’t. It’s because the war on drugs is a one of the most destructive campaigns ever waged against the American people. It has destroyed more lives, caused more suffering, and used more domestic resources than most of the wars we’ve ever fought in. But, for some odd reason, we continue this useless crusade instead of starting the transition to a society that embraces and regulates all drugs.
The war on drugs actually creates violent crime. That’s right, and a gigantic amount of it. Let’s look at a logical progression: American’s still do illegal drugs and the “land of the free” ideology runs deep in our culture. Meaning, we won’t surrender our right to alter our minds. American’s want drugs, and some of these drugs are illegal. The illegality of these substances has created a black market for these substances, where there are no laws, OSHA regulations, or workman’s comp. In fact, many of these businesses operate violently and are sometimes in open war with each other. This is gang violence, and while drug trade isn’t the only fuel for these conflicts, it is a major catalyst.
So why don’t we regulate, tax and control drug use? Well, there are several reasons (these are biased). The drug war is the foundation for thousands of jobs, and politicians are unwilling to upset the balance, potentially providing ammunition for their opponent. So, in a demagogic attempt to keep their constituents happy, they continue with the obvious flawed premise of the “war on drugs.” In addition, many law enforcement agencies understand the implications of ending the war. In fact, the DEA is an open proponent for the war on drugs, and lobbies within the government to keep the war going. They wouldn’t have reason to be bias, would they?
Private prisons also lobby to keep drugs illegal. They love the fact that so many non-violent offenders are being thrown into their prisons, and the profit is astronomically high. America has the highest incarceration in the world. Let that sink in. Does it even make sense? Is our society safer because of it? The answer: not really. We rank 108th in murders per 100,000 people, but that isn’t even the whole story. When looking at general regions, the many South and Central American countries have devastating murder rates, ranking as some of the worst in the world. Much of the violence in these countries, specifically Colombia, is related to the U.S. and our strict policy relating to illegal substances. Colombia’s cocaine trade was the cause of a massive murder spike in the country during the reign of the famous drug king-pin, Pablo Escobar, and can be attributed directly to America’s use of the drug.
In 1971 the United States President, Richard Nixon, gave a public address condemning the use of drugs and proclaimed them as “public enemy number one.” Since then, there has been a multitude of realizations about the nation’s drug use, one thing being abundantly clear: it is a failure. Not only has it put countless non-violent offenders in the same prisons as murderers and rapists, but it has cost the US a mind-boggling amount of money, while making the wrong people rich.
So, the question remains: should the U.S. continue the war on drugs?