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The Costs of America’s Longest War

By Stephen Webster
Investigative Reporter

Since the start of America’s War on Drugs, millions of addicts, sellers and producers have been arrested or killed. Trillions in tax dollars have been spent. Our police have become militarized, and our politicians have become hardened to the many tragedies resulting thereof. The body count is immeasurable.

But what has this war wrought upon our society?

First, it guarantees a high crime rate. When the only people who have access to illegal substances are criminals, crime thrives. Gangs do not go to war over turf so much as they battle over drug trade profits.

Second, it allows criminal organizations a supply-side monopoly, and guarantees their exorbitant profits on substances that are otherwise inexpensive to produce. No matter the percentage of their shipments seized by authorities, they continue to live, and live well, off the suffering of others.

Third, it allows and encourages the “gateway” effect, by putting users of drugs such as marijuana in constant and frequent contact with the criminal supply chain, easing their movement from soft to hard drugs via sellers eager to hook a new steady client.

Fourth, only the sellers have control of the purity of their substances, continuing the threat of overdose among addicts.

Fifth, as with any war, propaganda thrives. It hardens the people and their leaders against conducting any truly open and honest research into the matter.

Sixth, even responsible, private, part-time users of who do no physical harm to others are criminalized. Their arrests stigmatize them to the point where re-entry into society is almost a lost cause.

Seventh, this prohibition has tainted many other keystone laws in American society, such as the Fourth Amendment, which protects the people from unreasonable or coercive search and seizure. Police, through nothing more than good intention, trample all over the edges of the constitution to make the bust; all in the name of public safety.

Eighth, it guarantees the continued alienation of society’s youth from their neighborhood protectors. Though many officers are upstanding, right-thinking, moral members of their communities, as long as record numbers of young individuals are wasting away behind bars for what many youths see as a non-crime, society becomes increasingly radicalized against law enforcement.

Ninth, it continues to drain the national treasury of vast sums of tax dollars in what is increasingly being seen as a losing battle. Over $69 billion was spent on the war just last year. The federal government has spent less money revitalizing the American gulf coast in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Since its outset, the War on Drugs has cost the American taxpayer more than any war or federal program ever launched.

Tenth, with such vast sums of money changing hands, it promises the continued corruption of law enforcement officials.

Truly, it is crime this society battles. It is a safer neighborhood we desire. It is the protection of our children we seek. For what, if any, is the benefit of continuing down a path that has only wrought more crime, corruption and death than any path we have traversed before?

As Albert Einstein once said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results.”

It is time to take control of the War on Drugs. It is time to take control of the supply of drugs. It is time to rip the legs right out from under The Mob, destroy their supply, and safeguard those who would be their victims.

For the sake of our children, our society must seize control of ALL drugs, and treat addiction as a medical problem. Then, and only then, can we begin to address America's criminal element in a meaningful and effective manor.

The War on Drugs must continue. However, it is a new strategy that is needed.

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