The Failed War on Drugs Essay

The Failed War on Drugs Essay

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In 2010 the U.S federal government spent 15 billion dollars on the War on Drugs. This equals a rate of nearly 500 dollars per second and does not include state spending or housing costs for those jailed in this failed War. Despite all the money spent and harsh drug sentencing policies, drug use in America has been on the rise for several decades. With increased drug use comes increased drug related crime, increased HIV infections and of course the ever increasing costs involved in a war that simply cannot be won in the traditional sense. While it is true that the War on Drugs as a policy is fundamentally broken, there is currently a trend towards new types of policies which could offer more effective solutions.
The War on Drugs has created more problems than it has solved. While effectively filling our prisons over capacity, it does nothing to address the source of the problem leaving those incarcerated with the threat of going back soon after release. From 1980 to 1996, incarceration rates in America grew by 200 percent. The reasons for this appear to be dominated by drug offenses, which grew by ten times during this time frame. As a country we incarcerate people at an extremely high rate, the cost of which is neither cheap financially nor does generally lead to rehabilitation. In Alabama for fiscal year 2010 the annual total cost of state prisons ran a total of 462.5 million, with an average annual cost per prisoner of 17,285 dollars. The prison population in Alabama consisted of 51% serving time for non-violent and drug related offenses, and those numbers stay similar no matter where you look in the United States. With recidivism rates similar to other offenders, nearly 51.8% will return to prison within three years. This cr...


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...ver, there is a solution as demonstrated by Portugal. Not only a solution, but a cost effective means of talking a human issue involving families that deserve a chance to be free from addiction, as well as prosecution.



Works Cited
Blumstein, Alfred. “Population Growth in U.S. Prisons, 1980-1996.” Crime and Justice 26.17 (1999): n. pag. Web. 11 Nov. 2013.
Greenwald, Glenn, Drug Decriminalization in Portugal: Lessons for Creating Fair and Successful.Drug Policies (April 2, 2009). Cato Institute Whitepaper Series
Steenhuysen, Julie. "UPDATE 1-HIV Rate among US Intravenous Drug Users Falls-CDC." Reuters. N.p., 01 Mar. 2012. Web. 13 Nov. 2013
"The Price of Prisons: What Incarceration Costs Taxpayers." Vera Instute of Justice. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Nov. 2013.
United States. Office of National Drug Control Policy. The White House. Whitehouse.gov. N.p., May 2009. Web.

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