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Take a position different from theirs, and elaborate on whether or not the War on Drugs has benefited society. A few sentences and a question. Also, reference the student by name or in a way that you are replying to them directly. PLEASE REPLY AS IF YOU AND KAMECIA IS HAVING A CONVERSATION. LOGIN IN FOR CLARITY. EX, HI STEPHEN.. I AGREE WITH YOU…
The war on drugs is considered as America’s longest war. It has been 50 plus years since President Nixon launched the “war on drugs” (Newman, 2013). The enforcement of overly punitive laws for drug offenses has not only proven ineffective in curbing the production, trafficking, and consumption of illicit substances but has resulted in many negative and unintended consequences, (Newman, 2013). For this discussion, economic deprivation and racial injustice will be expounded on as two unintended consequences of the war on drugs regime.
There is a link between substance abuse and poverty. People who use drugs, or are accused of small-scale drug offenses, generally belong to vulnerable, poor and socially excluded groups, and disproportionately represent ethnic and other minority groups. An overwhelming percentage of drug users are struggling with unemployment, poor skills, low income, poor housing, and bad health and family environments (Melis & Nougier, 2010). Thus, rather than deterring these offenders from further drug offending, the criminalization of drug users drives them further into the cycle of poverty and drug use. Once marked with the stigma of a criminal sentence, access to work, housing and education is even also jeopardized, which further pushes these persons away from health and social services and pull them closer to other drug users and environment that facilitate their drug use habits and financial dependence (Penal Reform International, nd).
Additionally, the war on drugs is built on racial injustice. There is an approximate equal rate of drug use and sales, but African-American men are arrested at 13 times the rate of white men on drug charges in the United States with rates up to 57 times in some states. African-Americans and Latinos together make up 29 percent of the total U.S. population, but more than 75 percent of drug law violators in state and federal prisons. Thus minority groups are significantly affected by the war on drugs thus enforcing further marginalization (Newman, 2013).
I do not believe that the war on drugs has benefited society. As the research has shown, there are no direct results in the reduction of the drug trade despite the war on drugs. This war has widened the socio-economic gap amongst classes and races and in many instances is the birth of other social dilemmas. Additionally, mass incarceration has broken many families, the absence of breadwinners, father figures and mothers may result in further social problems such as teenage pregnancy, juvenile delinquency, other family drug use, and criminal activity (Jensen, Mosher & Gerber, 2004)).
Moreover, evidence from around the globe shows that enforcement at best displaces illicit markets and transit routes to new areas, and at worst increases the violence and harm it is intended to stop. Apart from the displacement of the market that may affect international relations with nearby countries. The war on drugs may result in international consequences that potentially can deter investment and reduce international business prospects and restrict the activities of NGO and government agencies. The potential implications for such a campaign can also deter inward investment by domestic or external businesses, restricts the activities of development groups and other bodies that would otherwise assist in the economic and human development and divert aids and other resources that can assist in law enforcement capacity building (Penal Reform International, nd).
One of the main strategies to counter the effect on the war on drugs is to review the policy and legislation that are directly related to the war on drugs. The policy and legislation must ensure sentencing is fair and proportionate, and consider decriminalizing personal possession or reviewing laws and regulations relating to thresholds and quantities. Additionally, addressing prison overcrowding and increasing the application of non-custodial measures for drug users and small-scale drug offenses may assist with mass incarceration and the ripple effects of such. Furthermore, the United States can review the experience of countries that have pursued a decriminalization policy, such as Portugal, to enable them to formulate evidence-based policies that are appropriate for their country situation (Penal Reform International, nd).
Jensen, E., Mosher, C., & Gerber, J. (2004). Social consequences of the war on drugs: the legacy of the failed policy. Criminal Justice Policy Review, 15(1), 100-212.
Melis, M., & Nougier, M. (2010, October). How action against illicit drugs impact on the Millenium Development Goals. International Drug Policy Consortium, p. 10.
Newman, T. (2013, March 3). HUFFPOST. Retrieved from Connecting the Dots: 10 Disastrous Consequences of the Drug War: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/tony-newman/drug-wa…
Penal Reform International. (nd). Retrieved from The unintended negative consequences of the ‘war on drugs’: mass criminalization and punitive sentencing policies: https://s16889.pcdn.co/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/…
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