What Makes the War on Drugs a Terrible Failure – Explained Easily

Over 40 years ago, US President Nixon declared drug abuse public enemy number one, starting an unprecedented global campaign, the War on Drugs. Today, the numbers are in. The War on Drugs may be a huge failure, with devastating unintended consequences. It led to mass incarceration within the US; to corruption, political destabilization, and violence in Latin America , Asia, and Africa; to systemic human rights abuses across the planet . It negatively affected the lives of many people. All of this while we waste billions of dollars per annum only to create and fuel powerful drug cartels while the goal of the War on Drugs seems less achievable than ever: a world without drugs.

How could this happen? The core strategy of the War on Drugs is “no drugs, no problems”. So most of the efforts in the last few decades have been focused on eradicating the supply of drugs and incarcerating drug traffickers. But this ignores the foremost fundamental of market forces, supply and demand. If you reduce the availability of anything without reducing the demand first, its price goes up. This might lower sales for several products, but not for drugs. The drugs market isn’t price-sensitive. Drugs are going to be consumed no matter what they cost. therefore the effect is to encourage production of more drugs and recruitment of more traffickers, which increases availability.

This is also known as the balloon effect: even if drug production or a major supply route is destroyed, the availability for the end user is not reduced. an ideal example of this is crystal meth. The United States government tried to stop its production by strictly regulating the sale of chemicals used to manufacture the drug. This forced big meth producers out of business, but the unintended consequences were that thousands of small-scale operations started everywhere the country, mostly in small towns and rural communities, using chemicals that weren’t regulated.

In response to the present , some US states wanted to scale back the supply of home-grown meth by regulating even more chemicals, which reduced small-scale meth production drastically. But the availability of meth still stayed the same. Mexican drug cartels immediately took over and opened big production operations. Their meth was even better than it had been before, and that they had lots of experience in smuggling. So of these efforts made meth production more professional, the drug stronger , while supply wasn’t reduced in the least . You can’t win this war on the availability side.

Not only are drugs widely available, demand unbroken, and a few drugs purer than in the past, with a budget of around $30 billion, the US Drug Enforcement Agency has an efficiency rate of but 1% when it comes to stopping the flow of drugs into the US and inside the US. for several minors around the world, it’s as easy to urge illegal drugs as alcohol. But it doesn’t stop here. Prohibition may prevent a specific amount of people from taking drugs, but within the process it causes huge damage to society as a whole. Many of the issues we associate with drug use are actually caused by the war against them.

For example, prohibition makes drugs stronger. The stronger drugs you can store in as little space as possible, the more profit you’ll make. it had been the same during alcohol prohibition, which led to an increased consumption of strong liquor over beer. The prohibition of medicine also led to more violence and murders around the world. Gangs and cartels haven’t any access to the legal system to settle disputes, in order that they use violence. This led to an ever-increasing spiral of brutality. consistent with some estimates, the homicide rate within the US is 25–75% higher because of the War on Drugs.

ground cannabis on clear plastic bag

And in Mexico, the country on the frontline, an estimated 164,000 are murdered between 2007 and 2014, more people than within the war zones of Afghanistan and Iraq in the same period, combined. But where the War on Drugs might do the foremost damage to society is the incarceration of non-violent drug offenders. for instance , the United States, one among the driving forces of the War on Drugs, has 5% of the world’s total population, but 25% of the world’s prison population, largely thanks to the harsh punishments and mandatory minimums. Minorities suffer due to this especially.

African Americans structure 40% of all US prison inmates. And while white kids are more likely to abuse drugs, black kids are 10 times more likely to urge arrested for drug offenses. OK, but is there actually something different we could do? Is there how out of this mess? In the 1980s, Switzerland experienced a public health crisis associated with heroin use. HIV rates skyrocketed and street crime became an issue . Swiss authorities tried a replacement strategy: harm reduction. They opened free heroin maintenance centers, where addicts would be treated and stabilized.

Here, people would tend free heroin of high quality, they might get clean needles and have access to safe injection rooms, showers, beds, and medical supervision. Social workers help them find housing and cater to other problems in their lives. The results were a pointy drop in drug-related crime and two thirds of the people in the centers got regular jobs, because now they might focus on getting better insetad of financing their addiction. Today, over 70% of all heroin addicts in Switzerland receive treatment. HIV infections have dropped drastically. Deaths from heroin overdoses have dropped by 50%. And drug-related street sex work and crime has been reduced enormously.

So there are methods that aren’t only way cheaper, but also actually work, rather than creating more problems. Drug prohibition led to a system that bulldozes human rights, costs vasts sums of cash , and creates plenty of human misery, beat pursuit of an unobtainable goal. After 40 years of fighting, it’s time to finally end the War on Drugs and advance to something better.

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