Persuasive Essay On The War On Drugs

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According to The Center for Prisoner Health and Human Rights, in 2005 21% of inmates in the United States suffered from serious mental illness. (Incarceration and Mental Health, n.d.) From 1980 to 2013, the number of people incarcerated for drug offenses grew from 41,000 to nearly 500,000; most of the arrests were for possession. This leaves the criminal justice system to deal with substance abuse and addiction. (Incarceration, Substance Abuse, and Addiction, n.d.) Additionally, The Center for Prisoner Health and Human rights states “The War on Drugs may account for up to two-thirds of the increase in the federal prison population and one-half of the increase in the state prison populations between 1985 and 2000.” (Incarceration and Mental Health, n.d.) This means that despite the decrease in violent crime, prison populations continue to grow. Prisons are not the best solution to deal with the United States growing drug abuse and addiction problem. When the mental health system is unable to provide care in an appropriate setting to combat addiction, the rates for recidivism are high and do nothing to affect the War on Drugs. In an effort to end The War on Drugs the United States should refocus its $40 billion annual cost of enforcement and imprisonment towards mental health and rehabilitation.
During President Nixon’s first term, before he initiated the War on Drugs, his drug control budget set over fifty percent of the budget aside for drug treatment. (Blumenson, 2002)

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