America’s Drug War Essay

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The War on Drugs, like the war on Terrorism, is a war that America may not be able to afford to win. For over forty years the United States has been fighting the War on Drugs and there is no end in sight. It has turned into a war that is about politics and economics rather than about drugs and criminals. The victims of this war are numerous; but perhaps they are not as numerous as those who benefit from the war itself.

History of U.S Drug Policy:
While laws prohibiting the use of drugs, in one form or another, can be traced back to the 1870s, it was not until 1968, when Richard M. Nixon was elected President, that our current drug war was conceived. In 1970 Congress passed the Comprehensive Drug Abuse and Control Act.(2) With an
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Assistant to Egil Krogh was G. Gordon Liddy. Howard Hunt was a consultant on the drug problem to the president’s Domestic Council.

Both of these men would gain fame a few years later as Watergate conspirators. Under these men, instead of being understood as a health and social problem, drug addiction was defined as a law and order problem.

On July 1, 1973 the War on Drugs was solidified with the creation of the Drug
Enforcement Administration.(15) The DEA, which was the result of merging the Bureau of
Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs with various other law enforcement and intelligence gathering agencies, including the ODALE, was given the responsibility of enforcing the nation’s federal drug laws. It’s enormous sphere of influence is reflected in its Mission Statement which states among other things; “The mission of the Drug Enforcement Administration is to enforce the controlled substances laws and regulations of the United States and bring to the criminal and civil justice system of the United States, or any other competent jurisdiction, those organizations and principal members of organizations involved in the growing, manufacture, or distribution of controlled substances appearing in or destined for illicit traffic in the United States…”(15) The DEA was designed as an American agency with an international agenda.

During the Ford and Carter administrations drug use began to rise. In 1979 illicit drug use in the United States peaked
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