For over 40 years, this nation has spent $40 Billion a year to fight a war that is not winnable. This war is not against a hostile or enemy nation, nor is it against an enemy organization such as Al-Qaeda. This war is none other than the war on drugs. It is a war on the American populace itself; it is war that breeds law enforcement corruption; it is a war that breeds violence in the street of every metropolitan city; it is war that makes criminality and criminal conduct sound appealing; it is war where profits are earned in the black market; and it treats those who abuse and use drugs like criminals and the dreads of society at large.
A War on the American Populace: There are individuals whom believe that the war on drugs targets only those who are considered “Kingpins” and members of organized crime. This may be true in some aspects, but it is not the whole picture. Often times, innocent civilians and regular folks are targeted. These people may or may not use drugs, but acting on tips from informants and others, police officers use their S.W.A.T teams to break into homes without a search warrant and search the dwelling. This has happened in states like Louisiana, Georgia, Florida and elsewhere. If the person is arrested, he or she is subject to asset forfeiture laws, child authorities are notified, his or her children are seized and the person’s life is turned into a living nightmare.
Law Enforcement Corruption: Police officers are not well paid. That is the truth. Therefore, the temptation to make a great deal of money being look outs for drug gangs and organized crime for the purposes of supplementing their incomes becomes very appealing. There have been many stories of law enforcement officers being on the take in cities like Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, Newark, Camden, Philadelphia and New Orleans by drug gangs and organized crime figures, just to name a few. The worst is happening south of the border in Mexico where law enforcement officers have been corrupted by Mexican Drug Cartels.
Breeding Violence: In cities like Newark, New Jersey, the drug war has caused that metropolis to have one of the highest homicide rates in the nation. Newark Mayor, Cory Booker, even admitted to the press that the drug war was, in his words, “killing Newark.” In that city, drug gangs fight for territory and some are killed, one everyday.
Making it all sound appealing: Teenagers, especially in poor neighborhoods, often look at members of drugs gangs and organized crime figures in awe. They look at the expensive clothing they wear, the vehicles that they drive, the beautiful women they have in tow, seeing how these people are “respected” in the community and they salivate like Pavlov’s dog. They look at it all, and it gives them a sense of want and belonging. They begin to yearn for that lifestyle filled with what they think is excitement and fortune. To use the language of sociology, these people are admiring the innovators. The innovators are individuals who reject the rules of society and how to achieve goals. They make a shortcut to achieving the desired ends. It is far from being a conformist where you work hard, stay in school, play by the rules, save, invest and prosper.
Black Market vs Free Market: Whenever there is a demand for a product, there will always be those who will supply it. If it is illegal, it becomes more expensive, risky and it literally means jumping through hoops. In the black market, drug gangs and organized crime can make billions of dollars supplying narcotics. The money that is earned is not reported for tax purposes. It is always under the table and these groups make sure that the money cannot be traced by law enforcement. If drugs were legalized, that would all end.
Drug Addicts and Drug Users: If a person suffers from alcoholism, and wants help, he or she can get it and a moment’s notice and all will be done. Not so with drug addicts. They may demand treatment and help, but often times it is after they do their stint in jail. According to the Uniform Crime Reports released by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, this nation imprisons over one million drug addicts’ and users a year. After their sentencing has been completed, these people will have to go through life with a criminal record attached to their being. These people will go through life with the words “ex-con” stamped on their life records. This can hinder their ability to get a job or get a loan. For the rest of their lives, they will have to wear a scarlet letter.
There are many who argue that liberty encompasses the right to one’s own life and one’s own body. This is very true. However, the societal impact that the drug war has on the American conscience and on American society cannot be ignored. It has to be exposed and it requires that something be done. The drug war cannot go on or continue for a few more years. It is time to admit defeat, pull up the trip wires and go home.