The failure from the "war on drugs"

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Bush's “war on drugs”, an extension to Reagon's former battle, had “crowded the courts, filled the prisons, corrupted law officers, compromised ... civil liberties, and criminalized substantial sectors of American society.” 1 In comparison to the leniency experienced in the late 1960s under Nixon where a “specific sub-culture of some 68,088 identifiable heroin addicts” who, subject to arrest for the possession of the heroin, and successfully convicted, were “sentenced to treatment at the federal hospital in Lexington, Kentucy.”2 After the three drug wars, civil liberties were comprised; the Fourth Amendment of the U.S Constitution regarding the “unreasonable search and seizure” was infringed. Drug checks can be conducted on any motorist, on interstate highways,and land residents are subject to summary searches.3 As The House We Live In showed, any driver caught carrying a minimum of $5000 cash will have his money and vehicle – often a truck -- seized and taken as per the US seizure law that is in effect. Under this law, random searches are conducted at road checks and cars are pulled over anywhere based on the suspicions by the law enforcement officers. Under Reagan and Bush's term, heavy mandatory minimum prison sentences were introduced. These lengthy mandatory minimum sentences were part of the new state and federal laws that affected drug offenders that would distinguish between major dealers or petty users. The “war on drugs” had led to the expansion of the US prison population to “unprecedented levels.” “Under President Reagan's campaign, annual drug arrests inside the United States doubled from 569,000 in 1977 to 1'155'000 in 1988; moreover, just 3/4 of these arrests were just for the “mere” possession of drugs, inclu... ... middle of paper ... ...seize to operate. As this paper had explored, US drug prohibition, from its inception, followed by the “war on drugs”, have failed. The repressive strategies found within the drug wars not only are not able to handle the inherently complex nature of the international drug trade, but it, as history has shown, has exasperated the problem. At the national level, the “war on drugs” effects was just as ineffective and detrimental to society with heavy mandatory minimum prison sentences and the world's highest imprisonment rate. In this regards, the drug war was a failure; however, in some other respect, it is a success. It is a success in that drug laws disproportionately affected minorities, especially the black community; moreover, it exclusively targets the lower rungs of society. As this paper has examined, the “war on drugs” is a proxy genocide of the lower class.

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