Реферат: History Of The American Drug War Essay

History Of The American Drug War Essay, Research Paper

History of the American Drug War

The first act of America’s anti-drug laws was in 1875. It outlawed the smoking of opium in opium dens. This was a San Francisco ordinance. The basis on passing this law was that Chinese men had a way of luring white women to their dens and causing their “ruin”, which was the association with Chinese men. Later, other Federal laws such as trafficking in opium was illegal for anyone of Chinese origin. The opium laws were directed at the smoking of opium. The law didn’t effect importation of the drug because opium was a common medical drug. This law was specifically targeted at the Chinese, for the smoking of opium was a Chinese custom. Cocaine was outlawed for fears that black men would go on a sexual rampage and rape white women. In the early 1900’s, newspapers referred to them as “Negro Cocaine Fiends” or “Cocainized Niggers”. There is little evidence that this actually happened. The Harrison Act had started as a licensing law which required sellers to obtain a license if they were going to handle opiates orcocaine. The law contains a provision that nothing in the law would prohibit doctors from prescribing these drugs in the legitimate practice of medicine. The people who wrote the Harrison Act and Marijuana Tax Act in 1937, agreed that a prohibition on what people could put into their bodies was an unconstitutional infringement on personal liberties. Marijuana was outlawed in 1937. The reason for it being outlawed was that the plant had a violent effect on the degenerateraces. The American Medical Association testified that they were opposed to the law. The law would never have passed without the endorsement from the AMA, but when the supporters of the law were asked about the AMA’s view on the floor of congress, they had stated that the AMA was all for it. When the law had passed, the AMA protested, but the law was never repealed. It is difficult to determine how many people in the US use drugs. The Federal Government’s Household Survey on Drug Abuse, is the most common set of statistics on the use of drugs. According to the latest surveys, conducted by the DEA, there are about 12.7 million people who have used an illegal drug in the past month, and about 30 – 40 million people who have used an illegal drug in the past year. Among the 12.7 people who have used an illegal drug in the past month, about 10 million are casual drug users and about 2.7 million are drug addicts. The figures produced by the Household Survey on Drug Abuse are obtained over the phone. Therefore, there was a problem reaching those without phones, those who didn’t answer their phones, and those who answered the question honestly. Other surveys put the figures at least twice as high. Currently, there are about 1.5 million people in state and Federal prisons and jails throughout the US At least 24 states areunder Federal court orders to relieve prison overcrowding. Prison population had been relatively stable from about 1926 to about 1970. From that point, Nixon’s war against drugs, then the Reagan and Bush war against drugs, caused a dramatic increase in the number of prisoners. The estimated 30 – 40 million people who have used an illegal drug in the past year, would fill a prison holding the populations of California, Arizona and New Mexico altogether. The cost of holding a single one of these persons would be about $450,000. The cost for the arrest and the conviction is about $150,000. The cost for an additional bed would be anywhere from $50,000 to $150,000, depending upon the jurisdiction. It costs about $30,000 per year to house a prisoner, with an average sentence of five years, adding up to be $150,000. The estimated $450,000 (out of taxpayers money), can provide treatment or education for about 200 people. Out of the percentage of people in prison, 59.6% are in prison for a drug offenses. The war on drugs could be won if we were successful in at least one of three areas. If we could stop drug production in othercountries, if we could stop drugs at the border or if we could stop the sale of drugs within the United States. Stopping drug production in other countries has already proven to have failed. In 1993, ABC television aired a major special report on the drug war in Bolivia, which according to the Bush administration, is our “best hope” for winning the drug war in South America. They concluded that there was no hope, and that the war on drug production had already been lost. According to the US Federal Government’s estimates, the entire US consumption of illegal drugs could be supplied by one percent of the worldwide drug crop. The US Drug Enforcement Agents working together with foreign governments seized about one percent of the worldwide drug crop in their best year. Leaving 99% free to supply the US The US Government also states that if drug production was stopped in South America, several countries would suffer a major economic collapse. The statistics regarding drug interdiction at the border have proven stopping drugs at the border is an expensive failure. In 1988, Sterling Johnson, Federal prosecutor for New York, under the assumption that there was no increase in drug production, stated that police would have to increase drug seizures by at least 1,400 percent to have any impact on the drug market. In 1990, the General Accounting office had completed a major study on border interdiction. They concluded that border interdiction was a waste of money and that no conceivable increase in funding or effort would make it better. Johnson had made his statement before police had busted twenty tons of cocaine in a single location. This caused the Federal Government to increase all of their estimates of the cocaine market. In most states, the law states that any distribution of illegal drugs is considered a sale. Regardless of whether there is a profit or monetary interest involved. Which, under the law, anyone who has ever passed a joint to the next person at a concert, is a drugdealer. Assuming these people are drug dealers, There are between 12 and 40 million drug dealers in the US Considering most of the prisons in the US are already far in excess of their planned capacity, there is no more room and no more tax dollars to house these “drug dealers”. Stopping the sale of drugs in the US would be kind of hard without putting all these “drug dealers” into prison. The use of drugs among teens has risen under the Clinton administration. Clinton states that not only he, but everyone sharesthe responsibility for the increase in drug use. “This issue has been debated literally going back to the Johnson administration.” states Clinton in attempt to deflect criticism from Republicans that claim he has not done enough to fight drugs. At the start of his presidency, Clinton had reduced the office of the drug policy director as a part of his effort to reduce government spending. Three years later, Clinton restored funds for the office and announced Barry McCaffrey, an army general, to lead it. “I appointed a four-star general, who led our efforts south of the border to keep drugs from coming into our country, as our nation’s drug czar, the most heavily directed – decorated soldier in uniform when he retired. We submitted the biggest drug budget ever, we have dramatically increased control and enforcement at the border. We supported a crime bill that had 60 death penalties, including the penalty for drug kingpins, and I supported a big expansion of the Safe and Drug-Free Schools program to support things like the DARE program because I thought all those things were very important….I have consistently opposed the legalization of drugs all my public life and worked hard against them.” Bob Dole claims that under a Dole administration, the National Guard would be trained to stop drugs at the border. “I want to stop it from coming across the border, and in my administration we’re going to train the National Guard to stop it from coming across the border.” Bob Dole continuously blames Clinton for the rise in teen drug use, and how drug abuse doubled when he was governor of Arkansas. Senator Dole had voted against the crime bill that had the death penalty for drug kingpins in it and voted to cut services to 23 million schoolchildren under the Safe and Drug-Free Schools Act. National opinion polls show Bill Clinton leads Bob Dole by 10-20 percentage points.

Legalization of Drugs

Such an issue stirs up moral and religious beliefs;beliefs that are contrary to what America should “believe”. However, such a debate has been apparent in the Americanmarketplace of ideas before with the prohibition of alcohol inthe 1920’s. With the illegality of alcohol the mafia couldproduce liquor and therefore had considerable control over thosewho wanted their substance and service. The role that the mafiaplayed in the 1920’s has transformed into the corner drug dealersand drug cartel of the 1990’s. The justification that legalizedalcohol under Amendment 21 in 1933 should also legalize drugs in1996. With the legalization of drugs a decrease in deathsrelated to drug deals would occur and also the price would lessenbecause bigger businesses could produce drugs at a cheaper price. Thus, reducing crimes that are committed to support a drug habit. Another drug that has played a major role in American society isnicotine. For hundreds of years, cigarettes have been a popularlegal drug within the United States. Only through legalizationand education has the popularity and the use of cigarettesdeclined within the past ten years. Physically, the actualconsequences of using illicit drugs is much less than of usingdrugs like alcohol or cigarettes and the consequences will bediminished. Illicit drugs can and will be made safer than theyare in the present system. In making comparisons, the best is tolook at how countries are functioning that have less enforcementon drugs and what the statistics were after drugs weredecriminalized. Within the last thirty years many groups havetheir attempts. The use of drugs is a victimless crime much likehomosexuality. Homosexuals have fought for a great deal offreedom that is based on their basic human rights; the right tomake decisions and act freely based on what is protected underthe Constitution, so long as anyone else is not affected. Economically, the production of drugs in the United States wouldbenefit the financial well being of the American government andpeople. Taxes should immediately be placed on drugs thusresulting in a significant increase in government income. Themore money that government receives is more money that they canput towards the education of how drugs effect the human mind andbody. Prohibition breeds disrespect for law?enforcement; theagency that “should” hold the highest respect of the Americansociety. Money spent on prohibition is an overwhelming figurethat is not needed and is obviously accomplishing little. Thosewho want to be controlled by a substance should have every rightto do so, because this right has equal jurisdiction as any otherhuman right that has emerged from the sea of oppression andpersecuted freedoms. The deaths resulting in the acquiring of alcohol have all but disappeared. When all non?medical dealings in alcohol were prohibited in the United States in 1919, the results were very similar to today’s drug trade. Alcoholquality was brewed illicitly; importers were considered criminals and behaved as such; protection rackets, bribes and gang warfare organized crime in the United States. (Boaz, p.118) The enforcement budget rose from $7 million in 1921 to $15 million in 1930, $108 million in 1988 dollars. In 1926, the Senate Judiciary Committee produced a 1,650-page report evaluating enforcement efforts and proposing reforms. In 1927, the Bureau of Prohibition was created to streamline enforcement efforts, and agents were brought under civil service protection to eliminate corruption and improve professionalism. In that same year, President Hoover appointed a blue-ribbon commission to evaluateenforcement efforts and recommend reforms. Three years laterProhibition was over and alcohol was legalized.(Boaz, pps.49?50) Immediately, the bootlegger stopped running around the streetssupplying illicit contraband. People stopped worrying aboutdrunks mugging them in the streets or breaking into theirapartments to get funds to buy a pint of wine. We now deal withalcohol abuse as a medical problem. Let us deal with the drugproblem in the same way. Let us try not to repeat the mistakesof the past by continuing to escalate a war that is totallyunnecessary.(Boaz, p.120) The repeal of alcohol prohibitionprovides the perfect analogy. Repeal did not end alcoholism??asindeed Prohibition did not–but it did solve many of the problemscreated by Prohibition, such as corruption, murder, and poisonedalcohol.(Boaz, p.50) We can expect no more and no less from druglegalization today. United States has not tried to ban the use of tobacco on cigarette smoking is one of America’s most dangerous drug habits. Nicotine, the active ingredient in tobacco, is exceedinglypoisonous. When isolated and taken orally, it can bring death ina matter of minutes. Cigarette tobacco contains about 1.5percent nicotine; an average cigarette yields six to eightmilligrams of the drug. Cigar tobacco is potentially morelethal; a standard size cigar contains about 120 milligrams ofnicotine, twice the amount of a lethal dose. What apparentlyirony is that tobacco which can be seen as just of a danger ifnot more so than many illicit drugs of today is considered a”good” and perfectly legal drug among the American society. A terrible, controlling substance that alters the mind and kills. This is a true statement; however lead to more deaths in the United States than do illicit drugs. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that the official 1988 toll of drug-caused deaths in 27 U.S. cities, the best available measure of the nation’s “drug problems” was, for cocaine products, 3,308; forheroin and morphine, 2,480; course, for marijuana, zero. “Emergency-room mentions” for cocaine in the same cities totaled only 62,141. For comparison, smoking killed 390,000 last year and alcohol killed at least 100,000. Alcohol is responsible for more fetal damage than crack and remains the major menace on our highways.(Boaz, p.123) States that approximately 57 million people in this country are addicted to cigarettes, 18 million are addicted to alcohol and 10 million are abusing psychotherapeutic drugs. By comparison, crack, heroin and hallucinogens each accounts for one million addicts. Further, the report states that every day in this country 1,000 people die of smoking-related illnesses, 550 die of alcohol-related accidents and diseases, while 20 die of drug overdoses and drug?related homicides.(Lynch, p.8) The war on drugs might as well be non?existent; supporters argue that the government’sneeds to be focused on more abused drugs that do more harm to theAmerican people, such as alcohol. Therefore drug decriminalization, gives his views on governmental involvement in drug related issues. Nadelmann believes that the government should use the tax system to discourage consumption among kids, and even among adults to some extent. Nadelmann states, “I think it’s legitimate for government to play a role in trying to discourage people from using cigarettes. If they want to put the information out there, that sounds fine. But I find incredibly distasteful is the way that they’re demonizing cigarette users now. What’s happening now, with [FDA Commissioner David] Kessler, is they’re heading in a prohibitionist direction, which is something I would regard as very bad on both policy grounds and ethical grounds.” Nadelmann continues to point out that, “Progress in the rights of?technology sophisticated environment, may redound to the benefit of the drug issue. I think also that the war on cigarette users if you want to call it that–is raising the issue of individual autonomy vis-a-vis drug use in a context to which tens of millions of Americans still relate. And the more that cigarettes get tarred as a drug, the more the connection is going to be prominent. You’re going to have tens of millions of Americans beginning to identify more and more with the heroin, cocaine and marijuana users. At the same time, you’re going to have these arguments about individual rights and the freedom to use drugs in your own home.(Reason, July 1994 p.43) The personal rights and freedoms issue is a pressing point that supporters of prohibition must look towards and decide on what their beliefs are on how deeply government should interact and limit the actions of people. Call for a crusade or an exterminatory witchhunt. In theNetherlands, the focus is pragmatically centered on minimizingthe harm that addict population does to itself and the rest ofsociety. The record speaks for itself: American adolescents usemarijuana at about twice the rate of their counterparts inHolland, where marijuana and hashish have been freely availablefor more than 17 years. The only drug that causes trafficfatalities and violence in Holland is the same one that causesthese problems here–alcohol. Over a 17-year period in Holland,during which possession and use of hard drugs have been treatedunder 22 years of age who use heroin or cocaine has dropped from15 percent to less than three percent. (Perrine, p.12) InHolland, a Dutch reformed parish operate a methadone dispensaryand a needle exchange. There are designated areas where drugscan be used, and permitting such areas is controversial, even intolerant Holland. Drug legalization in England and Holland hashad mixed results. While there has been a slight increase indrug use in those countries, the number of crimes associated withdrugs has decreased. However disagreeable, the visible presenceof junkies in countries like England and Holland plays its part. Dutch adolescents have no problem seeing that this is hardly aglamorous and exciting life-style and that it does not evenprovide much pleasure. Reality, even disagreeable reality, isremarkably educational; and the attempt to legislate reality outof existence is remarkably counterproductive. (Perrine, p.12) Inthe U.S. there were eleven states that decriminalized thepersonal use of marijuana. According to the National Instituteon Drug Abuse(1992), there was no increase in its use in thosestates.(Riga, p.7) Anti?drug supporters argue that corollationscannot be made between the United States and other countries;however, the way in which people conduct themselves and howsociety responds to this is very similar around the world. Heightened awareness of the destructiveness of drugs, and inself-pride programs for society’s “have nots.” The United Stateshas cut back drastically on its alcohol and tobacco consumptionare dangerous. The same thing must be done for other drugs. Pragmatically, the legal and controlled sale of drugs would notonly reduce crime but channel valuable resources intotreatment.(Riga, p.7) With the treatment of drugs as a medicalproblem, we can then and only then focus on the real problem:people and adulteration of supplies of drugs. Without some system ofcontrol, it is argued, that there is no way to guarantee thepurity or strength of any given cannabis preparation. Widevariations in THC(delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol) concentrationcould have deleterious effects on users. Inexperienced smokers,accustomed to low?grade domestic pot, could be adversely affectedby the unexpected introduction of high?potency Colombian orJamaican supplies.(Schroeder, p.54) Today’s drug consumerliterally does not know what he is buying. The drugs are sovaluable that the sellers have an incentive to “cut” or dilutethe product with foreign substances that look like the realthing. Most street heroin is only three to six percent pure;street cocaine ten to fifteen percent. Since purity variesgreatly, consumers can produce the desired effects. If a person percent heroin and take a five percent dose, suddenly he hasnearly doubled his open market would face different incentives than pushers. They rely on name brand recognition to build market share, and on incentive to provide a product of uniform quality; killingcustomers or losing them to competitors is not a proven way tosuccess. (Pragmatist, p.3) With major how drugs should be made and what they should be cut with dangerous approach may be taken.As well be the schism that has been created in the American society. Prohibition has set generation against generation, law?enforcement officials against users, and the system of criminal justice against millions of otherwise law-abiding citizens. The effect of prohibition has not been a decreased marijuanaconsumption–statistics show that the opposite is true. Rather,prohibition has bred disrespect for the law and the institutionsof government, and many have argued that that is too high a priceto pay for even a successful program.(Schroeder, p.55) A loss ofrespect for governmental agencies can be seen as one terribleevent that has occurred within America. Plans that would breedand boost respect for these agencies should be desired and soughtafter. As the prohibition of drugs yearly is an unnecessary andoverwhelming figure. The total annual cost of the drug war, areabout $100 billion dollars annually.(Duke, p.3) For instance,the Air Force spent $3.3 million on drug interdiction, usingsophisticated AWACS surveillance planes, over a 15 month periodending in 1987. The grand total of drug seizures from that?of the Coast Guard and Navy, sailing for 2,500 ship days at a cost of $40 million, resulted in the seizure of a mere 20 drug-carrying vessels.(Wink, p.1) They were not enough, domestic production of marijuana continues to increase. It is the largest cash crop in ten states and second largest in the nation, second only to corn. Revenues from drug trafficking in Miami, Florida, are greater than those from tourism, exports, health care, and all other legitimatebusinesses combined.(Wink, p.2) They have a lower cost than throwing people in prison. It costs $52,000 a year to detain someone at Riker’s Island. However, a years stay at Phoenix House in New York, for example, costs $15,000.(Yoffe, p.1) If it is not already obvious, the way in which the government goes about it’s drug war is inoperative. Money that is spent is a waste; education and treatment. If politicians cannot see this, than weare losing the drug war in our policies and in the minds of our”greatest” law?makers, not on the streets. As I concluded that the prohibition of drugs criminalised users, forced them into contact with professional criminals, temptedentrepreneurial young people from impoverished backgrounds into alucrative criminal life, encouraged gang warfare, resulted inpeople taking impure mixtures in often dangerous methods, andcreated heavy policing costs. It is, in short, not drug abuseitself which creates the most havoc, but the crime resulting from other Western governments, to contemplate some form of licensedsale of drugs which would deprive the pushers of their marketwhile obliging registered addicts to take treatment. The key tobeating the traffic is to remove its prodigious profitability andto deglamorise drug abuse by a heavy programme of publiceducation.(Boaz, 122) The government can continue harassing,humiliating and jailing drug users in the name of helping themstay away from evil. It can continue fostering violence andcorruption in the name of protecting our society. Or, Americacan begin fighting drugs through peaceful means, taking theproblem away from police and jailers doctors and educators. Legalizing drug use??with certain restrictions??would eliminate the terrible collateral damage wreaked by the war on drugs. It would respect the right of individuals to make personal choices about what they consume, while still holding them responsible for the harm they cause others. It would free up real money for prevention and treatment programs that currently enjoy more lip service than funding. And it would encourage people with problems to seek help rather than take them underground. Any new approach to drugs must begin by replacing hype and demagoguery with information and analysis. It must discriminate between the uses and misuses of drugs. It must also account for paternalistic moralizing for hypocritical double standards.(Boaz, p. 135) Legalizing drugs would not be a panacea. Many people would continue to use them recklessly and?join their ranks. But scare scenarios of a prostrate, addicted nation have no basis. Clearly, there will be some increase in drug use if drugs are made legal and accessible at a reasonable price. Yet the benefits of legalization will outweigh the negatives: less crime, lessavailable for greater rehabilitation efforts, fewer jail cellsand prisoners, better utilization of law enforcement personnel,greater respect for the law, fewer corrupted policeman, and fewerdeaths from impure substances. Furthermore, taxes from theselegalized substances will fund treatment centers and educationaloutreach. If we can distribute condoms and clean needles tocontrol the spread of diseases, why can’t we bring ourselves todistribute drugs cheaply and legally? The same arguments madeabout cause and effect ought to be made here as well. Granted,America has a vast and terrible problem with the issue on drugsin the 1990s, but as Robert Kennedy opined, “If the alternatives[are] disorder or injustice, the rational choice is injustice. For when there is disorder, we cannot obtain or maintainjustice.”(Boaz, p. 120)

Should Drugs Be Legalized?

For several decades drugs have been one of the major problems of society. There have been escalating costs spent on the war against drugs and countless dollars spent on rehabilitation, but the problem still exists. Not only has the drug problem increased but drug related problems are on the rise. Drug abuse is a killer in our country. Some are born addicts(crack babies), while others become users. The result of drug abuse is thousands of addicts in denial. The good news is the United States had 25,618 total arrests and81,762 drug seizures due to drugs in 1989 alone, but the bad news is the numbers of prisoners have increased by 70 percent which will cost about $30 million dollars. Despite common wisdom, the U.S isn’t experiencing a drug related crime wave. Government surveys show between 1980 – 1987 burglary rates fell 27 percent, robbery 21 percent and murders 13 percent, but with new drugs on the market these numbers are up. One contraversial solution is the proposal of legalizing drugs. Although people feel that legalizing drugs would lessen crime, drugs should remain illegal in the U.S because there would be an increase of drug abuse and a rapid increase of diseases such as AIDS. Many believe that legalizing drugs would lessen crime. They point out that the legalization of drugs would deter future criminalacts. They also emphasize and contrast Prohibition. When the public realized that Prohibition could not be enforced the law was repealed. From this, one may infer the same of legalizing drugs. Legalizing alcohol didn’t increase alcoholism, so why would drugs increase drug abuse? However, drugs should not be legalized because there would be an increase in drug abuse due to its availability. Once legalized, drugs would become cheaper and more accessible to people who previously had not tried drugs, because of the high price or the legal risk. Drug abuse would skyrocket! Addicts who tend to stop, not by choice, but because the drugs aren’t accessible would now feed the addiction if drugs were made legal. These drug addicts would not be forced to kick the habit due to the availability of the drug they would partake eagerly. The temptation to use drugs would increase when advertisements for cocaine, heroin and marijuana are displayed on television. Instead of money used by employed addicts, you will see welfare funds used to purchase drugs. If welfare funds were being misused, this would cause a major problem in the economy. Drugs must not be legalized. It puts our country at a terrible risk. Health officials have shown that the legalization of drugs would cause a rapid increase of diseases such as AIDS. AIDS poses agrowing threat to addicts, and thus to society as a whole. The virus that causes AIDS is growing, due to drug addicts who share needles and syringes. The sharing of such needles by intravenous drug users helps increase the spread of AIDS. “Infection among IV drug abusers is continuing to occur at a very steady rate,” warn Richard E. Chaisson director of the AIDS service at John Hopkins University. In the U.S gay men still make up the primary risk group, although 750,000 to 1 million drug addicts are believed to be at risk to AIDS nationally. The problem here is the sharing of needles, which is causing the spread of AIDS. IV drug abusers are killing our nation at an amazingly fast speed. AIDS which surfaced in the 80’s is now on the rise and even more deadly to IV drug users. The sharing of needles must be stopped. Drugs should not be legalized. Although people feel that legalizing drugs would lessen crime, drugs should remain illegal in the U.S because there would be anincrease of drug abuse and a rapid increase of diseases such as AIDS. The United States can not afford this problem. It has become a world power by strengthening its people not by killing them. Drug abuse has gotten worse, with its effects on crack babies, drug addicts, and the I.V user. There must be education for the survival of this nation, not legalization.


By: Sikeo

Drugs Drugs. What do we know about drugs? What do we imagine when we say this word? White powder or a young person, wiping out any possibility for his future to grow, killing him slowly. Drugs came in our life and destroyed any relations between parents and children. I say “any” because this is the word, defining exactly what happens when a child starts taking drugs. Ignorance. Ignorance from the rest of the world, living in a world with no real friends, no sun, no flowers, no stars, no tears or laughter any love. The only friend of the drug addict is the syringe. And nevertheless, there are people who manage to emerge from all this, to overcome their dependence from drugs and let their life change, continue, develop or whatever word you’re comfortable with. Why? Why there are so many drug addicts? There are people, who are more probable to start taking drugs, than others. People, who are more responsible, stronger and are always “in charge” of their own problems, these people “never”, take drugs, as they say themselves. These people are able to obey someone, to entice someone, to listen or act for someone, but to get what they want, to get the joy they want. But there are weak people, who have “closed” and ignored themselves from the rest of the reality, people who live in their own world. They are usually not willing to solve their problems by their own, so they find a “friend” who “helps” them. And all of this, because you don’t need to obey, nor to allure the squirt. No, you just take it, and you get the joy you have been longing for so frequently, ignoring everything else around you. You get a false joy, and become unable to feel anything, as you try to get another dose. When it comes to this stage there is only one thing left to do, get medical help, somewhere.

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