Drug Abuse And The United States

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In 1971, Richard Nixon launched the war on drugs stating, “America’s public enemy number one in the United States is drug abuse. In order to fight and defeat this enemy, it is necessary to wage a new, all out offensive” (Sharp, 1994). Since this war was declared 45 years ago the prison population has risen dramatically and has cost tax payers a substantial amount of money, with no end in sight. Nearly sixty five percent of the 2.3 million U.S. prisoners meet the criteria for substance abuse or addiction, yet only eleven percent receives treatment during their incarceration and a large majority of these offenders return to prison within years of being released. Our society needs to become more proactive when fighting this war versus what we have done in the past by being solely reactive. We need to give these nonviolent drug offenders a chance to succeed by offering rehabilitation services instead of sending them to prison (Howard, 2015). The majority of people, especially the authorities, believe that being placed in jail is a necessary part of a person’s rehabilitation. They believe that by removing this aspect, and allowing them to go to treatment right away, they are undermining what they believe is a necessary incentive in the rehabilitation process. They also stress the fact that not all people with drug offenses are able to change and that the shock of being sent to prison is actually a better form of treatment. Also, because they broke the law, they believe prison
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