Problems With Current U.S. Policy.Washington's war on drugs has not achieved its stated goals of reducing either the quantity of drugs or the level of drug consumption in the U.S., as evidenced by the fact that addicts and more casual consumers spend between $40 and $50 billion a year on illegal drugs. Instead, both sides of the drug equation--drug trafficking and drug enforcement--have become extraordinarily lucrative industries, providing both licit and illicit incomes to criminal syndicates, corporations, politicians, and law enforcement bodies in the U.S. and abroad.
Federal spending on antidrug programs has grown from slightly more than $1 billion in 1981 to roughly $18 billion in 1999, with two-thirds of these funds directed at enforcement and interdiction INTERDICTION, civil law. A legal restraint upon a person incapable of managing his estate, because of mental incapacity, from signing any deed or doing any act to his own prejudice, without the consent of his curator or interdictor.
2. programs. Within the U.S., an additional $20 billion in state and local funds is spent on antidrug measures, mostly on imprisonment Imprisonment
See also Isolation.
former federal maximum security penitentiary, near San Francisco; “escapeproof.” [Am. Hist.: Flexner, 218]
German prison ship in World War II. [Br. Hist. , policing, and prosecution. Over 400,000 persons are currently imprisoned im·pris·on
tr.v. im·pris·oned, im·pris·on·ing, im·pris·ons
To put in or as if in prison; confine.
[Middle English emprisonen, from Old French emprisoner : en- for drug offenses at an annual cost exceeding $8 billion, and the demand for more cells for drug offenders accounts for half the cost of new prison construction.
Those advocating tough law enforcement policies stress that drug users account for 80% of crime in the United States Crime in the United States is characterized by relatively high levels of gun violence and homicide, compared to other developed countries although this is explained by the fact that criminals in America are more likely to use firearms. . However, the reality is that most drug users never commit any crime other than possessing an illegal drug. A criminal's use of drugs, on the other hand, simply demonstrates that those willing to steal or commit violence are also willing to break the drug laws. But most incarcerated incarcerated /in·car·cer·at·ed/ (in-kahr´ser-at?ed) imprisoned; constricted; subjected to incarceration.
Confined or trapped, as a hernia. drug offenders did not commit a violent crime. If crime reduction and prevention were viewed as genuine policy objectives, drug treatment would be made readily available to addicts. Yet in 1996, 3.3 million drug addicts--63% of those needing treatment--remained untreated, a higher number than in the previous five years.
Escalating expenditures and harsher drug war policies have not been effective. First, there are more deaths from drug abuse than ever. Deaths from drug-induced causes more than doubled from 7,101 in 1979 to 14,843 in 1996, and the death rate has grown from 3.2 per 100,000 in 1979 to 5.6 in 1996. Second, heroin and marijuana marijuana or marihuana, drug obtained from the flowering tops, stems, and leaves of the hemp plant, Cannabis sativa (see hemp) or C. indica; the latter species can withstand colder climates. were easier for high school seniors to obtain in 1998 than at any time since students were first surveyed in 1975, and crack cocaine was easier to obtain than at any time in the last decade. Third, heroin and cocaine prices have fallen dramatically: from 1981 to 1998, the retail price of a gram of pure cocaine plummeted from $379 to $169, and the retail price of a gram of pure heroin dropped from $3,115 to $1,800. Fourth, drug purity has increased shockingly. Between 1981 and 1998, the purity of retail cocaine rose from 40% to 71%, while heroin purity soared five-fold from 4.7% to 24.5%. These changes pose much greater risks of overdose overdose /over·dose/ (o´ver-dos?)
1. to administer an excessive dose.
2. an excessive dose.
An excessive dose, especially of a narcotic. deaths, especially among vulnerable novice users.
In addition, current domestic drug policies are racist in effect, if not in intent. Drug offenses constitute the largest category--over 1.5 million people in 1998--of arrests in America. Although 30% of all those arrested for crimes are black, 59% of those convicted of drug offenses and 63% of those convicted of drug trafficking are black. Furthermore, only one-third of convicted whites are sentenced to prison, yet one-half of arrested blacks go to prison, and the average black serves an 18% longer sentence (26% longer in the case of a drug trafficking conviction) than a comparable white criminal.
In addition, blacks are stopped and searched for drugs much more frequently than whites when entering the country, driving, walking down the street, or simply standing in front of their homes. This persecution in the name of fighting drugs means that people of color Noun 1. people of color - a race with skin pigmentation different from the white race (especially Blacks)
people of colour, colour, color
race - people who are believed to belong to the same genetic stock; "some biologists doubt that there are important are disproportionately imprisoned, their families dislocated dis·lo·cate
tr.v. dis·lo·cat·ed, dis·lo·cat·ing, dis·lo·cates
1. To put out of usual or proper place, position, or relationship.
2. , and their job and educational prospects destroyed.
The law enforcement-based strategy has also increased the health risks to drug users. Many deaths involve poisonings from contaminated contaminated,
v 1. made radioactive by the addition of small quantities of radioactive material.
2. made contaminated by adding infective or radiographic materials.
3. an infective surface or object. drugs due to traffickers' sloppy production methods or because they dilute their product with a wide variety of substances unsuitable for injection into the bloodstream blood·stream
The flow of blood through the circulatory system of an organism.
the blood flowing through the circulatory system in the living body. . Other deaths arise from diseases such as HIV HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus), either of two closely related retroviruses that invade T-helper lymphocytes and are responsible for AIDS. There are two types of HIV: HIV-1 and HIV-2. HIV-1 is responsible for the vast majority of AIDS in the United States. and Hepatitis C Hepatitis C Definition
Hepatitis C is a form of liver inflammation that causes primarily a long-lasting (chronic) disease. Acute (newly developed) hepatitis C is rarely observed as the early disease is generally quite mild. spread by sharing contaminated needles.
Furthermore, current antidrug policy encourages both violence and the inappropriate use of children. Cocaine and heroin are many times more valuable than gold, because they are illegal, and they are sold for cash. Thus drug markets are prime robbery targets. Every drug market requires armed men to protect the cash and drugs. Drug sellers hire men who have earned reputations for violence or have demonstrated their willingness to shoot people. In addition, children are being incorporated into the drug-trafficking system. Children are less reliable witnesses in court than adults and are almost certainly not undercover police officers. The stiff penalties for adult dealers also encourage the recruiting of minors to sell drugs, because, if caught, they are likely to be tried in juvenile court juvenile court
Special court handling problems of delinquent, neglected, or abused children. Two types of cases are processed by a juvenile court: civil matters, often concerning care of an abandoned or impoverished child, and criminal matters, arising from antisocial .
Drug-linked corruption of police and other law enforcement officers, and to a lesser extent judicial branch officials, is epidemic from coast to coast. For instance, in 1992, Detroit's chief of police went to prison for 10 years for embezzling more than $2 million in antidrug funds, and half of all FBI-led corruption cases involve drugs.
* Current U.S. drug policy does not meet any of its stated goals. Instead it is supporting two lucrative industries: drug enforcement and drug trafficking.
* Washington's enforcement-oriented strategy has generated millions of arrests and hundreds of thousands of prisoners who are overwhelmingly black or Latino.
* Cost-effective treatment for hard-core drug addicts receives woefully woe·ful also wo·ful
1. Affected by or full of woe; mournful.
2. Causing or involving woe.
3. Deplorably bad or wretched: inadequate funding and support.