Thursday, March 13, 2014
This is Why the US War On Drugs Does Not Work
Accept the Fact that Prohibition Doesn’t Work
This is step one. Step three is where everyone is happy. And if you don’t know what step two is, clearly you don’t understand step one.
Step one is people accept the fact that prohibition does not work. More specifically, laws which prohibit people from consuming intoxicating substances are ineffective. And it’s not just here. Not just now. Prohibition doesn’t work anywhere. And it has never worked.
It is now more than 40 years after Richard Nixon declared the war on drugs in 1971 and we have spent more than $1 trillion on prohibition since then. What do we have to show for it?
If you’re an economist, all you need to know is this: In 1990, cocaine was about $275 per gram. Today it’s less than $200 per gram. Yes, the street price of cocaine in the United States has actually DECREASED. (UNODC.org)
If that doesn’t convince you that prohibition is not working in the US, take our prison population for an example. in the world, with about 2.3 million behind bars. More than half a million of those people are incarcerated for a drug law violation. (from CNN 12-7-12)
Do you think we are the first? Do you think that the United States government decided that drugs are bad and that we’re the first civilization to try to prohibit people from using? Let me give you a little snapshot, here:
We, as a race of human beings figured out more than 6,000 years ago that we could ferment beverages. And when we drank those fermented beverages, we caught a buzz. At that point, we decided – as a species – that catching a buzz was a good thing and we were never going to stop. Along the way, humans found and created new ways to catch said buzz, but we haven’t stopped. And we aren’t going to.
The attempts to prohibit people from taking intoxicating substances date back to the 7th century – under Islamic law. Although Islamic law (according to the wikipedia) is often interpreted as prohibiting all intoxicants - not only alcohol - it is interesting that the practice of smoking hashish has continued throughout the history of Islam, against varying degrees of resistance. BT-dubs, the prohibition of cannabis isn't new, either. Fields of cannabis were burned in Egypt in the 11th and 12th centuries.
So, then…cannabis is gone, right?
If we’ve spent $1Trillion on fighting drugs – there are at least LESS drugs, right?
Despite tough anti-drug laws, surveys show the U.S. has the highest level of illegal drug use in the world. The World Health Organization's survey of legal and illegal drug use in 17 countries, including the Netherlands and other countries with less stringent drug laws, shows Americans report the highest level of cocaine and marijuana use. For example, Americans were four times more likely to report using cocaine in their lifetime than the next closest country, New Zealand (16% vs. 4%). Marijuana use was more widely reported worldwide, and the U.S. also had the highest rate of use at 42.4% compared with 41.9% of New Zealanders. (CBS News 7-1-08)
Our prisons in the US are tough. We have stellar precautionary measures, steel, timing locks, guards, bullet proof glass, guards, strip searches, and more guards. Don’t take my word for it. Go to a prison and try to visit someone. See for yourself.
And guess what? There are drugs in prison. Not just any drugs. Like, ALL drugs. I have seen proof with my own eyes. I have represented clients who have successfully snuck drugs into prison. I have represented clients who tested dirty for drugs because they used while in prison.
The truth is that prison should teach you everything you need to know about prohibition. The prisons have drugs. You could spend $20Trillion creating a complete police state in every city in America. You could turn the country in to a prison. And drugs would still be here.
They are in the safest, most secure places in America. They will never go away.
Accept it in your heart of hearts. Know that prohibition is ineffective. Know for a fact that there is nothing we can do, no law we can enact, that will make drugs disappear. Know it. That’s step one.
And if you truly accept it, you will know what step two is.