Dear Nixon: Those laws (still) don’t work…
But the war remains a distraction from the REAL issues at hand.
What drugs haven’t already destroyed, the war against it has. When President Nixon declared War on Drugs in 1971, he proclaimed it to be “America’s public enemy number one”. Drugs were considered the leading cause of crime, and reason for all social problems in the U.S. However, these draconian sentencing laws continue to fail in resolving the drug problem in America. The legalization of drugs would not only shed light on what the real issues of the country are, but also shut down an entire market sustained by terrorist and gangsters who occupy a large portion of the prison institution.
Legalization will address the social and economic factors leading to the abuse and sale of drugs. Instead of focusing on drugs itself, there can be steps made toward understanding why people use them in the first place. Whether drug offenders sell to make a living, or abusers use to temporarily escape the harsh realities of life, they are the true victims of a strategically, disproportionate, government controlled society. Minorities are more susceptible to crime due to availability and access. Theft, violence, and murder all occur within means of trying to access what has been criminalized. Drug sales occur because people find innovative ways to move up the economic ladder, or simply for survival, by any means necessary. It’s nearly inevitable for criminal activity to cease in the drug world.
Essentially, the police department operates on the money it ceases from drug busts. Because the government benefits from criminalizing its own citizens, this demonstrates how creating drug laws ultimately comes down to money, power, and discrimination. Although laws were created to “protect” people, these drug laws only enforce this separation by neglecting the real issue at hand, while exploiting individuals through capitalistic ideologies, and government control. Therefore, by acknowledging the fact that the drug world will never stop operating, the government will continue to have control over its citizens. And while the prison system constitutes such a large portion of government budget, the US economy will continue to prosper while these drug laws remain intact.
Through legalizing drugs, federal funding on corrections, drug treatment programs that continue to fail, and time spent on police monitoring drugs, these factors will reduce while providing opportunities to focus on and invest in correcting the drug problem to begin with. While American government continues to try stopping an inevitable industry, social and economic issues are being neglected. Education, child-care, health care, housing, and treatment programs are the areas that deserve more funding. While there is an emphasis on criminalizing minority groups, legalization just might address this “public enemy” and ultimately put an end to this war.