The War On Drugs And Its Effects On Society

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Just a little over a year and a half after being in office President Reagan declared a “war on drugs”, creating a zero tolerance policy. The “war on drugs” claimed that it would reduce drug use if they were made illegal. The common misconception of the idea of this solution if that by restricting the supply of illicit drugs for the demand the price would increase making it harder for users to afford the habit and further discourage users from using. When in reality this shifted individuals into digging themselves deeper into hazards through, convictions, increased health risks due to stronger drugs being the available, and dependencies. Because this can also create an increase of racial tension due to the fact that the war on drugs…show more content…
They had increased the amount of money to fund drug law enforcement and increased funds to expand prisons. Less than one-third of the funding went towards getting users on the right track with rehabilitation or educating nonusers on the consequences. By spending twice as much on enforcing laws and incarceration we can see the incarceration rates go from 50,000 in 1980 to over 400,000 by 1997. A notable 84% of these arrests were non-violent drug charges(possession). These sentences can lead to destructive consequences without an aide for recovery. Causing mandatory life sentences without parole for nonviolent drug offenses, and or making it hard for the individuals to have stability in their life afterward. Which can lead to relapsing or individuals falling into their own ways. Overall the crime policies are proven to not be doing their job because it does not promote public safety. Creating rehabilitation instead of incarceration would decrease the prison population and a number of individuals in prison for nonviolent crimes. This can lead to a decrease in funding and space needed to house these individuals as a benefit for this solution.
The ‘war on drugs’ was not effective also because it created an increase of racial tension due to the fact that the movement was disproportionately targeted African American. Statistics show that 62% of users of illicit drugs were caucasian but 84% of individuals incarcerated for possession were African American.
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