The War On Drugs : Is It Time For Switch Strategies

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Abstract The War on Drugs that the United States has been fighting since the 1880’s has taken a toll on our society like no other issue. It has affected us on all fronts of social issues; immigration, imprisonment, poverty and resource draining costs. The question is then is it still worth it to fight it or move on to a new strategy. The War on Drugs: Is it time to switch strategies. Introduction The war on drugs in America has been fought since the 1880s when the Chinese Exclusion Act was first passed by congress. Several pieces of legislation have followed this initial volley in this war up to present day. Statistics from 2011 showed there where 1.6 million state and federal prisoners (Guerino, Harrison, & Sabol, 2011) according…show more content…
Statistics like this force you to ask whether the cost of our drug prohibition has really been and is worth it. Legislative History The War on Drugs, although not officially not named so until around 1971, began in the 1880s with the passage of the Chinese Exclusion Act. The main focus on this act was the immigration of Chinese people, but it was also attempting to curb the flow of opium and opiates into the United States. This act was renewed for the next 80 years or so until in the Immigration Act of 1965 was passed. The Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906 required all physicians to accurately label medicines, but opium and coca where not outlawed. It was estimated that the passage of this law decreased the sale of medications with opiates by almost 33%. The next and really first act of legislation specifically aimed at drugs, was the Harrison Narcotic Act of 1914. The act restricted the manufacture and sale of marijuana, cocaine, heroin and morphine. The act was aggressively enforced resulting in physicians, who were prescribing drugs to addicts on “maintenance” programs, being harshly punished. Between 1915 and 1938, more than 5,000 physicians were convicted and fined or jailed (Trebach, 1982, p. 125). In 1919, the Supreme Court ruled against the maintenance of addicts as a legitimate form of treatment in Webb et al. v. United States. Clearly, America’s
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