The United States Current Drug Policy

882 Words Nov 21st, 2014 4 Pages
Introduction Among highly developed nations, the United States is known for its stringent illegal drug use policy and the high percentages of its population that have consumed illegal substances. The United States has issued a drug war against millions of Americans who use and sell illegal substances. This war has cost taxpayers billions annually and continues to contribute to an incarceration rate that surpasses any other country (Walmsley 2009). Although, stringent policies have lowered the decline in U.S drug consumption since the 1970’s, the war on drugs in the United States has not succeeded in changing America from being the world leaders in use rates for illegal drugs. In order to find an alternative to the United States current drug policy, it is helpful to look at the current options. Governments typically take three broad approaches toward drugs. The first is legalization, in which possession and sale are lawful but still subject to regulation and taxation. The second is criminalization, which consists of the banning of possession and sale with criminal punishment (i.e incarceration). Lastly, there is the combination of the two—where sale and possession are prohibited, yet possession is punishable only by sanctions, such as fines or abuse treatment but not jail time.
For the purpose of this analysis, the illegal drugs that will be referenced are marijuana and cocaine, seeing as they are the most prevalent drugs associated with the war on drugs. The issues in…
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