By Jacob Collins |Asst. Online Editor|
The war on drugs is a miserable failure that shows no sign of ever coming to an end.
A 2013 study by Rasmussen Reports showed that 82 percent of Americans think the U.S. is not winning the drug war.
Since the beginning of the drug war in 1971, under the Nixon administration, the U.S. has spent over one trillion dollars, according to CNN.
The U.S. has the highest incarceration rate per capita in the world, according to prb.com.
Meanwhile, the violent crime rate has been at its lowest since 1978, according to Time magazine.
The drug war is not only a war against an undefeatable enemy, much like the prohibition, but has cost our country a massive amount of money in arresting, prosecuting, and incarcerating people on drug offenses, 82 percent of which are possession charges, according to thinkprogress.com.
The drug war is not taking down the suppliers of narcotics into the U.S., it’s sweeping up people who are merely in possession of a drug and destroying their lives.
Many have called for an end to the drug war with no avail, including former Texas Senator Ron Paul, the American people, Nobel Prize winning economists, and up to 80 organizations including Law Enforcement against Prohibition, A Better Way Foundation and others, according to drugpolicy.org.
The drug war has had little to no effect on the international business of selling illegal narcotics.
The global drug trade is estimated to have a value of over 320 billion dollars and that 90 percent of the estimated 230 million illegal drug users in the world are classed as non-problematic, according to the United Nations.
The U.S. still remains the top consumer of illegal drugs despite some of the strongest anti-drug laws and enforcement, according to CBS News.
According to a survey by the World Health Organization (WHO), Americans were four times more likely to use cocaine in their lifetime than the next closest country in cocaine use, which is New Zealand.
The U.S. also has the highest rate of marijuana use at 42.4 percent as opposed to the Netherlands, which is known for some of the most relaxed drug policies in the world and has a reported cocaine use rate of 1.9 percent and a 19.8 percent use rate of marijuana according to Spiegel.
Fourteen years ago Portugal made the decision to decriminalize all drugs. Instead of pressing harsh sentencing on drug users, possession is now a minor misdemeanor akin to parking violations,
according to Spiegel, a European newspaper.
According to Spiegel, “One gram of heroin, two grams of cocaine, 25 grams of
marijuana leaves or five grams of hashish,” can be legally purchased and possessed in Portugal.
“MDMA — the active ingredient in ecstasy — and amphetamines — including speed and meth — can also be possessed in amounts up to one gram. That’s roughly enough of each of these drugs to last 10 days,” states in an article according to Spiegel.
The results from Portugal’s revolutionary drug policy has been a major success.
According to Spiegel, the amount of drug addictions, HIV infections from needles, and teenage use has fallen.
It is clear that the so-called war on drugs is not working and taking an approach that drug use should be treated as a medical and not criminal issue, like Portugal has, should be the way we approach drug use.