President Richard Nixon, in 1971, declared a war on drugs. Much money and relaxed warrants helped to create the instiutionized drug abuse. Marijuana was placed in Schedule One–the highest rating for a drug. The people behind bars for nonviolent drug abuse rose from 50,000 in 1980 to over 400,000 by 1997.
We have only added to the jail population and strenthened the cartels by declaring a war on drugs. The war should be on addiction. Until we help end the need for addiction we will continue to aid the criminals selling the drugs.
- From Yolande Cadore: “ Time to Bury the Drug War and Envision Policies Rooted in Mercy and Compassion”:
With all of our Christian-ness, the United States locks up more people than anywhere in the world. According to the UN Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent, “one in three African American men will go to prison or jail if current trends continue.” This is happening under our watch. The lack of drug treatment for poor people, and people of color in the United States is a major problem and yet, the federal government refuses to fully embrace the term: harm reduction as a public health solution to alleviate the harms of drug use on individuals and families. Again, in all of our Christian-ness, we’ve allowed our leaders to act recklessly and wantonly with the lives of our brothers and sisters who happen to use drugs.
Read more here.
2. From Hao Li: “War on Drugs a “Total Failure” and Statistics to Prove It”:
Former President Jimmy Carter, writing in a NYTimes op-ed, agreed with a Global Commission on Drug Policy that showed the current global War on Drugs to be a “total failure, espeically in the US.
Statistics more than back up this accusation.
The Global Commission on Drug Policy reported that between 1998 and 2008, global use of opiates increased 34.5 percent, cocaine 27 percent, and cannabis 8.5 percent.
Carter said when he left the presidential office in 1980, 500,000 people were incarcerated in America. At the end of 2009, the number jumped to 2.3 million. If the number of people on probation and parole are included, the figure totals 7.2 million people, or more than 3 percent of all US adults.
In 2011, 50.8 percent of Federal inmates are incarcerated for drug offenses. This compares to just 4.2 percent for robbery, 2.7 percent for homicide/assault/kidnapping, and 4.7 percent for sex offenses.
In fact, since the mid-1990s, violent crimes (murder, rape and sexual assault, robbery, and assault) and burglary have steadily declined. What has skyrocketed is arrests for drug offenses.
Read more here.
3. From Julie Netherland: “Leading Medical Experts Call for Drug Including Decriminalizing Drugs and Exploring Legal Regulation”:
As policymakers weigh “what to do about drugs,” they almost always focus on the potential harms of drugs and almost never on the harms of our drug policies themselves. But Thursday an esteemed group of researchers issued a comprehensive report on public health and international drug policy that documents in meticulous detail the catastrophic health consequences of the global war on drugs. Coming together as Johns Hopkins-Lancet Commission on Drug Policy and Health, twenty-six scientists conducted a comprehensive review of the literature and concluded that our drug control policies:
..have contributed directly and indirectly to lethal violence, communicable-disease transmission, discrimination, forced displacement, unnecessary physical pain, and the undermining of people’s right to health.
Read more here.