Prohibition and the War on Drugs

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Throughout history, campaigns against certain parts of life are frequently argued upon. Wars are in a state of flux, but a constant in America's policies is the Drug War. The government attempts to prevent the consumption of illicit and harmful substances, even shown in modern domestic policies. Yet with much effort, positive results was not usually yielded. Apart from the outcomes, prohibition has made a large impact on daily life. In the United States, prohibition of alcohol and opium was a visible and controversial debate. The prohibition of alcohol and criminalization of opium were very different but still had some similarities such as the events that happened, its immediate reaction, and the lasting significance. Alcohol is a dangerous vice that is popular amongst many people. Although popular and in demand, alcohol holds controversy. The purpose of the national prohibition was to improve hygiene, tax burden, prevent corruption and crime, and solve social problems. Though prohibition had many good intentions, it actually created an opposite effect. Alcohol was deemed harmful and life affecting because it damages health, in example liver failure. It affected people economically, drunk laborers made work absences from buying beer. The initial effect resulted in job loss of related trades. Furthermore, many states before the prohibition relied on alcohol taxation, therefore there was an immediate drop in revenue. “At the national level, Prohibition cost the federal government a total of $11 billion in lost tax revenue, while costing over $300 million to enforce” (Lerner). This was a major hit to the economy. The family life was disturbed by the precedence of alcohol. Husbands spent money on alcohol inst... ... middle of paper ... tax revenue and jobs, landlords and closing of brewers distilleries and saloons led to the elimination of many jobs and in turn even more jobs related to alcohol were eliminated. There was also unintended consequences on government revenues. Before the alcohol budgets, much revenue was immediately lost. The ban and regulations of opium did not cause a big stir up as it did during Prohibition. There was little debate and discussion on the intent to restrict opium. Opium's rise and fall are tracked through the U.S. consumption. Americans quickly associated opium with "Chinese immigrants who arrived after the Civil War...[their] example of a powerful there in American perception" (David K Musto, 3). Opium became a link to the feared and rejected group within the society if those times. This perception helped fuel support for a vigorous anti-opium campaign.

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