Last Updated 04 Jan 2023

The War on Drugs in the United States

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Any close examination of the "war on drugs" metaphor leads inescapably to the conclusion that one weapon could bring us to the brink of victory--legalization. But most who discuss this option consider it surrender, how have we confused surrender With victory? Let's start by looking at the "war on drugs" metaphor closely, and define some "war" terms. First, who or what is the "enemy?" Second, what defines "Victory" in this "War?" Is the "enemy" in this "war" the drug addict? No reasonable person believes that. Addicts are in many ways the Victims of a "war“ policy that drives up the price of their craved substances to the point where criminal activity is their only alternative to cold turkey, Alcoholism is often described as a sickness. Drug addicts merit the same consideration alcohol addicts receive. Is the "enemy" in this "war" the drug dealers and cartels?

If we accept this premise. the argument becomes too easy! If they are the only enemy, then legalization Wipes them out With one blow! The huge profits from the inflated black market prices would be gone. That money is their only source of power. Without the vast Wealth accumulated from the black market, their nowrpowerful organizations would crumble, degenerating into the common thugs they really are. But the drug dealer is not the real "enemy," that would be too simple. When President Nixon originally initiated the "war on drugs“ rhetoric, he referred to "drug abuse" as the problem. So the most effective way to analyze this metaphor is to identify "drug abuse" as the "enemy" we are fighting. Now that we have identified the "enemy." what would constitute "victory" over that enemy? Would victory be the total eradication of drugs from our society?

If "drugs" and not "drug abuse" were the enemy, maybe this would describe victory, As a practical matter. this Would probably be impossible, The attempt would necessitate a society so repressive that the price of this victory would soon be the end of many liberties we now take for granted. a price obviously too high. But the enemy is not "drugs," it is "drug abuse." 50 would "victory" be the total eradication of all drug abuse? Wouldn't that have to include alcohol, prescription drugs, and maybe even caffeine? Here is another unrealistic and undesirable goal. What is the real goal? Let’s agree that drug abuse is over-consumption or dangerous consumption. How does society control the amount and mode of consumption?

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By controlling and regulating the distribution of the substance being consumed. Right now. powerful, greedy, unscrupulous organized crime cartels control the distribution of these dangerous substances. With drug prohibition, we have handed control of distribution, a major key to victory, to organized crime! We can reverse this mistake by retaking control of distribution with the one» time detonation of the weapon of legalization. This will allow us to regulate how these substances are offered to the public. For example, the dangerous and addictive crack version of cocaine could be regulated out of existence while the powder. in a safe measured dose, is available legally. Wouldn‘t legalization allow our enemy of drug abuse more access to the public?

So we attack the allies of drug abuse ignorance and despair. We attack ignorance with education. We require accurate facts about these substances on their packages. We collect taxes on the substances and use the money for informative media campaigns. The education must be factual and honest, to maintain credibility. (For instance, we need to admit that nicotine is more addictive than heroin.) When we present the public with laughable, hysterical, exaggerated, and false information, all the education efforts are worthless, because they lose their credibility. Before drug prohibition was installed in 1915, consumption of the more dangerous forms of cocaine and opium was declining.

Why? Because the word was getting out on their dangers! And this was before radio and television. Surely an effective education campaign could be more effective in our current era of the mass media, we attack despair with opportunity and prosperity. We take back the drug warzones that prohibition has created in the poorer areas of our cities. We Weaken the lure of gangs by removing the promise of easy money from the black-market drug trade. We end murders over the issues of illegal distribution, including territorial disputes and legally unenforceable deals gone sour. Drug addicts Will be able to afford their habits without becoming criminals. And they will be able to seek treatment without fear of government sanction.

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