What’s Wrong With the Drug War?

Everyone has a stake in ending the war on drugs. Whether you’re a parent concerned about protecting children from drug-related harm, a social justice advocate worried about racially disproportionate incarceration rates, an environmentalist seeking to protect the Amazon rainforest or a fiscally conservative taxpayer you have a stake in ending the drug war. U.S. federal, state and local governments have spent hundreds of billions of dollars trying to make America “drug-free.” Yet heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine and other illicit drugs are cheaper, purer and easier to get than ever before. Nearly half a million people are behind bars on drug charges – more than all of western Europe (with a bigger population) incarcerates for all offenses. The war on drugs has become a war on families, a war on public health and a war on our constitutional rights.

Many of the problems the drug war purports to resolve are in fact caused by the drug war itself. So-called “drug-related” crime is a direct result of drug prohibition’s distortion of immutable laws of supply and demand. Public health problems like HIV and Hepatitis C are all exacerbated by zero tolerance laws that restrict access to clean needles. The drug war is not the promoter of family values that some would have us believe. Children of inmates are at risk of educational failure, joblessness, addiction and delinquency. Drug abuse is bad, but the drug war is worse.

Visit these pages to see how the drug war affects all aspects of our lives:

Drug War Funding
Pain Underprescribing
Terrorism
Informants
Environmental Consequences
Economics
Mandatory Minimum Sentences
Voter Disenfranchisement
Public Health Crisis
Access to Treatment
Higher Education Act
Public Benefits
Forced Evictions
Alternatives to Prohibition

Posted by A. Shapiro
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