The War on Drugs and its Failure

The Drug War is a commonly used term dictating America’s problem with drug prohibition, drug abuse, crime, and health. But what is the drug war? What does it entail about America? Is the President of the United States even interested in ending the drug war or just putting Black and latino citizens behind bars?

The war on drugs is just another way to fuel mass incarceration and to target people of color and the poor. The war started in 1971 when President Richard Nixon called drugs a “Serious national threat” and rallied for a national anti-drug policy. He then created the Drug Enforcement Agency to enforce more harsher criminal sentences. However, none of these efforts did anything. More acts were founded throughout the next years, but still targeted the Black and Latina community far more than the White community. By the 1990’s over 400,000 arrests were made and the drug war was still here.

The War on drugs is a series of actions tending toward a prohibition of illegal drug trade.
Many countries have supported and even started campaigns to stop the drug war, but still managed to incarcerate millions without getting them the help necessary. A person caught with drugs is more likely to go to jail and not be provided with any helpful resources for his/her drug addiction. During President Barack Obama’s presidency, he stated that Drug addiction is a health problem, not a criminal one. In the Affordable Care Act insurance companies were required to cover treatment for drug addiction. Along with Obama, other politicians such as Bernie Sanders have expressed concerns as well.

The issue of race doesn’t matter when an epidemic so big is taking hundreds and thousands of lives every year. However, when minorities are purposely targeted, that becomes a problem. But the truth is this shouldn’t be an issue or race. Race shouldn’t matter when it comes to lives of human beings. So why do republicans and local police officers target minorities? Local law enforcement agencies are a big problem in this case. And now, because of attorney general Jeff Sessions, they are required to “charge and pursue the most serious readily provable offense for all cases- including less serious drug crimes.” Once again, making drugs a criminal issue and not a health one. It has been noted that a rise in drug overdoses has occurred ever since Nixon started the war on drugs.

Systematic racism and criminal offenses are only going to get higher with republicans in office. But it is important to know that as a community, we need to make sure this country helps everyone. Whether someone is a drug abuser or a former drug abuser, we need to see and treat drugs addictions as a health issue for all Americans regardless of race.



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