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War on DrugsJoe Segen2016-12-04T05:10:21+00:00
War on Drugs
War on Drugs
PUBLIC HEALTH, SUBSTANCE ABUSE
An initiative begun in the USA under the Reagan Administration in the 1980s, which attempted to eliminate–or markedly decrease–illicit drug abuse.
It has failed. After nearly 10 years of escalation, the government assault on illicit drugs (was) a costly failure. We have all been paying the price in misdirected resources, social tension, violent crime, ill health, compromised civil liberties and international conflict; the War on Drugs is, in effect if not by intention, a war on drug users. The federal budget for the control of illicit drugs has increased > 8-fold since 1981…These laws needlessly make criminals of at least 20 million Americans–the estimated number of US citizen who abuse drugs on a regular basis. Of the 1 million drug arrests each year, about 225,000 are for simple possession of marijuana.…Largely because we imprison so many drug users and petty drug dealers, the US has a higher proportion of its population incarcerated than any other in the world for which statistics are available.…Present drug policies also have disastrous effects on health and health care…a new epidemic of TB is incubating in …prisons crowded with drug-law offenders. Infection with HIV is spreading rapidly among intravenous drug users who cannot legally exchange contaminated for sterile needles’ Richard Detrich NEJM 1994; 330:355ed. That dated commentary is still valid today. The US spends an estimated $70 billion per year fighting a war it can’t win.