Drug Trafficking is a growing epidemic that faces are great nation and fragile borders every day. The United States has been fighting this battle for decades and there seems no end in sight. When will enough be enough and when will we see change across the United States to stop the drug trafficking problems? Every day in the news there is a headline about drugs and how the prison population is growing because of drugs. Something has to be done and done soon before we run out of money and can’t support the “War on Drugs” anymore and it rules are society at a level that we cannot control. This paper will analyze the different issues of drug trafficking that we are having in America.
In America, drug trafficking has become an increased problem and is continually on the rise even since the time when President Nixon established the famous phrase “War on Drugs” in 1968. Drug trafficking is defined and consists of selling or distributing illegal drugs. In the 1960’s this was a known but was referred to as recreational use and there was not much done to put a stop to it. This problem has produced a global network of illegal acts that has taken over communities all over the globe and even in the backyards of some of our own communities here in America. It is important that we analyze the issues, look at the pros and cons of the prevention and control measures and decide what the next move for America will be on the “War on Drugs.”
According to US Legal the federal government has given out guidelines for sentencing to state and local officials that forbids the manufacture, import, export, distribution, or dispensing of a controlled substance or the possession of a controlled substance. Although drugs have been around for many decades it wasn’t until the 1960’s when the government started to crack down on the use. There was a sudden increase in the 1960’s in the use of marijuana, amphetamines, and psychedelics were the government had to finally step and try and take control. One of the most known acts to put a stop to the drug trade would be in 1973 when the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) was developed. The DEA’s mission statement today is ” to enforce the controlled substances laws and regulations of the United States and bring to the criminal and civil justice system of the United States, or any other competent jurisdiction, those organizations and principal members of organizations, involved in the growing, manufacture, or distribution of controlled substances appearing in or destined for illicit traffic in the United States; and to recommend and support non-enforcement programs aimed at reducing the availability of illicit controlled substances on the domestic and international markets.”
Drug trafficking is one of the most extensive operations worldwide with bringing in billions of dollars annually. These operations are led by sophisticated organizations that have no regard of laws or rules. One of the most recent countries in today’s news that is having a huge influence in the drug trade is Mexico. The New York Times says that more than 28,000 people have been killed since the new president Felipe Calderón started to tackle the drug trade in Mexico. In 2006 the Mexican president started an offence to stop the drug trade in Mexico by sending his troops and police force out into battle against the drug cartels but wanted the United States to be held responsible for its actions since American’s are the ones that influence the drug trade with the high demand. If the demand is low then the supply would have to be low, so therefore the United States has to figure out how to reduce the demand and stop the supply.
Two of the main methods of drug trafficking are sea and air. During the early 1980’s drug trafficking pilots were flying to South America and brining the shipments back to America for distribution. These pilots were getting paid thousands of dollars and had little to worry about because of sophisticated approaches of bypassing the law. One of the most recognized cases of air drug trafficking is the Devoe Airlines which was busted by the DEA in 1984. They DEA discovered that Devoe Airlines was responsible for one of the biggest drug bust of Cocaine they had ever seen. Jack Devoe was the CEO and leader of the smuggling plan that would fly to South American and then fly back into the states and distribute the drugs back to the cartels. Obviously after the DEA caught onto their plan the airlines was shut down and Jack Devoe was convicted. The DEA has become a powerful organization of stopping the drug trade which operates over land, sea, and air. This did not happen overnight this was a process that started with trial and error. The DEA experienced the use of planes in the 1970’s has a means to stop drug trafficking since drug traffickers had no means of boundaries.
Using air has a means to stop the drug traffickers was a success and the DEA increased their fleet fast. According to the DEA museum there were 41 Pilots and 24 planes working in the U.S. in 1973. Drug trafficking on the seas is one of the oldest trades and smuggling drugs into the ports of American cities is an overgrowing problem. The DEA works with the Coast Guard on an everyday occurrence to stop the drug trafficking on the seas. The DEA has a hard job especially since the supply and demand is always on the rise and the criminals are always thinking of new ways to outmaneuver the law.
In 1988 the White House created the National Drug Control Policy which came from the Anti-drug abuse act. The Office of National Drug Control Policy states the following goals:
“The goals of the program are to reduce illicit drug use, manufacturing, and trafficking, drug-related crime and violence, and drug-related health consequences.” (http://www.whitehousedrugpolicy.gov)
One of the programs that this agency created was the High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Program (HIDTA) which provides federal assets to areas that are hit hard with drug trafficking. Basically areas that are seen has a treat for drug trafficking are allowed to use this program to stop drug related problems and they can also share information throughout the different law enforcement agencies. The DEA and National Drug Control Agency are just a few agencies that provide resources and law enforcement which are trying to crack down on the ever-growing drug trafficking problem. With their hard work and determination to stop these problems they are faced with countless issues that bring their operations to a sluggish halt every day.
One of the most overlooked and not taken serious issues is analyzing the statistics of the prison population and a federal commission program that can set forth new polices that can make changes to the criminal justice laws with political oversight. Here are a few interesting statistics of the prison population: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2009) states “Current illicit drug use among persons aged 12 or older varied by race/ethnicity in 2008, with the lowest rate among Asians (3.6 percent). Rates were 14.7 percent for persons reporting two or more races, 10.1 percent for blacks, 9.5 percent for American Indians or Alaska Natives, 8.2 percent for whites, 7.3 percent of Native Hawaiians or Other Pacific Islanders, and 6.2 percent for Hispanics.” The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration states there are racial disparities in the rates of drug arrests which conclude in high racial imbalances among incarcerated drug offenders. They say that two-thirds of drug arrests result in a criminal conviction but many convicted drug offenders are sentenced to incarceration: an estimated 67 percent of convicted felony drug defendants are sentenced to jail or prison. The criminal justice system that we have set in place now is making America which only has 5% of the population in the world have the highest incarceration rate in the world. Changes need to happen in the Criminal Justice system when it comes to sentencing drug offenders.
A few of the hot topics that prevent the stopping of drug trafficking are Mexico, Demand, and Legalization. These issues are deep and routed with great deliberation that have not been resolved and are having a huge influence on the drug trade every day. The Mexican Drug War is a war that is taking place in Mexico where the government is fighting the Drug Cartels which is trying to prevent the drug trafficking. Drug Trafficking has existed in Mexico for a long time now but in the recent decades it has become very noticeable with the drug cartels gaining power and control.
The Council of Foreign Relations stats that there have been more than 2,500 drug cartel related deaths in 2007, and more than 4,000 deaths in 2008. These drug cartels are ruthless with their actions has they are bringing local battles to the streets of innocent citizens and making it a turf war. The Mexican police have not gained any ground in stopping them has the local Mexican-US border towns are becoming more devastated from the drug trafficking every day. The State Department stated in 2008 that that 90% of the cocaine smuggled into the United States came across the Mexican border.
The ruthlessness of this crisis is Mexico reached an all time peak in 2006 and has been on the rise. The drug cartels are using violence that is only seen in times of war such has beheading anyone that opposes there power. The cartels have it out especially for the police, media, and government officials. It was reported in 2008 that the Mexican federal police chief was killed by drug cartels during a drug bust. Since the Mexican military has been deployed inside their country with trying to stop the growing cartels power it has been though through many public forums that this is only a quick solution to the problem. Although there hasn’t been any other real solutions brought to the table and when the Mexican President was elected he had to act quickly. One of his only choices was by sending troops into the cities to stop the violent behavior.
Through the past couple years since the military deployment in Mexico and the growing violence some officials have brought to light some new tactics on the military involvement. Once the military was deployed it brought the media into the actions which brought a world presence. The media was able to shed light on how bad the crime truly was and how bad the drug trafficking was becoming in the Mexico-US border towns. Some of the attention that has taken places has been the following:
Judicial transformation in Mexico that brought forth a speedy process trial used in a speedy warrant case. These small groups of judges can act quickly with allowing the evidence to be new and the sentencing to be fast. They also created a criminal database and a group of police officials that will track future criminals and their actions. Mexico has also been on the rise in the extraditing process since 2006 of cartel criminals from the United States. One of the most recognized contributions in fighting the war on drugs in Mexico is the Merida Initiative.
The Merida Initiative is an agreement that President Calderon and President George W. Bush put into effect in stopping the narcotics trade in Mexico and United States. The challenge that was presented to President Bush was that Mexico was producing over 18 tons of heroin, and 16,000 tons of Marijuana which was recorded in 2007. The drug trade was creating a profit of over $13-$25 billion dollars and over 500,000 people in Mexico where involved in some type of drug trade operation. President Calderon also explained that must of the drug lords where arming themselves with American Guns that came across the American borders into Mexico. Posing these problems to the United States congress acted by responded with the different types of aid.
There was over $465 million dollars spent in 2008 in the first phase of the Merida Initiative, mostly all of the money was spent in Mexico but there were some other countries in South America that also received money as well. President Caldron greatly appreciated the aid from the United States to help fight the war on drugs but he has also identified many problems with in his own country that has an enormous effect on the drug trafficking. Some of the problems that the Mexico President is fighting are corruption, Judicial Reform, money laundering, and border security.
There are many skeptics across the nation that are saying that it is going to take too long for the President Caldron to fix his country much less the drug trafficking that is effecting the borders. Time will only tell how well the Merida Initiative is going to affect the drug trade but at least its action and something is being done about it.
One of the overlooked problems in drug trafficking is that the majority of buyers of the drug trade are coming within the United States. If we looked at this closely we could make the assumption that the drug cartels would be out of business if the demand was low or there was no demand at all. Therefore has long has the demand is high there is going to be business in America. It’s all about the supply and demand. Overtime since the war on drugs has taken place the supply has increased and the demand has grown off the charts. We can control the borders all we want but has long as there are consumers of a drug they will find ways to get it, especially since it’s a drug that alters the mind in the first place. According to the Office of National Drug Control Policy in 2009, 104 million Americans age 12 or older have tried Marijuana at least once, which is 41.5% of the US Population. There are many statistics and data that show the demand for drugs in the United States and around the world, so until we solve the problem of the demand then there will always be one around.
One of the raised topics in our society today about the demand of drugs and the drug trade is to end the prohibition of illegal drugs. If we made drugs legal then the drug cartels would be out of business and then the government could control the product and tax the product. Basically instead of focusing all of the attention on the supply and how to stop the drug supply the government would not have to spend hardly any money, but yet would make money off of taxing the drugs. If one could only imagine gangs, and drug cartels going out of business because they lose their biggest revenue what would the world be like?
Not all drugs would be legal but drugs such as marijuana could become legal without much backlash. Once the government makes it legal and starts to make money off of the taxes than they could reinvest the money back into programs that fight against using the drug, just like fighting smoking and alcohol abuse.
With crime on the rise and drug trafficking coming from Mexico the hot topic on the table is should we just go ahead and legalize marijuana like the Netherlands did. There are some pessimistic views with making this type of change though by looking at other countries such as Netherlands and seeing how it works there. According to the druglibrary.org the government doesn’t really make anything of taxing marijuana because majority of the crime and unemployed come from using the legalized drug. The government in the Netherlands spends millions of dollars on welfare which relate to the high drug use by the citizens. The Netherlands states that one of the reasons that they legalized marijuana was to stop drug trafficking and to reduce the harm to the citizens. Although they keep a strict enforcement on the drugs that are allowed it has seemed to just put a band-aid on the problem with no real solution. Obviously just fighting the supply is not really making a huge difference to the drug trafficking in America because the demand is still high in effect. If the legalization of marijuana was to take place it is believed that the demand would go up even higher because the risk for buying the drug would be out of the picture. With no risk of getting in trouble than more people would want to purchases the product.
The government could control the supply by taxing at certain prices high or low depending on how the revenues look. If it was made legal there would have to be a lot of laws that would have to be put in place to control the abuse of the product for instance like alcohol.
There is unlimited amount of data that states that drugs are terrible and that drugs lead to crimes, so has much as we want to debate the hot topic of legalization it will cause the war on drugs to become even a bigger disaster than it all ready is. Here are a few concerning quotes from interesting sources around the nation on their views of legalization.
“The Journal of the American Medical Association in 1994 reports that cocaine use is linked to high rates of homicide in New York City and that homicide victims may have provoked violence through irritability, paranoid thinking or verbal and physical aggression which are known to be pharmacologic effects of cocaine.”
“The Department of Justice Drug Use Forecasting (DUF) program underscores the crime-drugs link. Of a sample of males arrested in 23 U.S. cities in 1993, the percent testing positive for at least one drug in the DUF survey ranged from 54% in Omaha to 81% in Chicago. Among female arrestees, the percent testing positive for any drug in 20 cities ranged from 42% in San Antonio to 83% in Manhattan.”
All legalization will do is increase the use and the crime to unseen ratios that have ever been seen before. With this being said there are groups or organizations such as the LEAP (Law Enforcement Against Prohibition) that are willing and wanting to legalize all drugs. Their attitude is to stop prohibition of all drugs in order to stop the drug trafficking problems and bring safety to the citizens. The topic of legalization is being broadcasted all through Congress and the White House even during a YouTube the LEAP had the highest rated questions on legalization for the President Obama to answer which is he does not agree with. There are many views on this topic and there are good points on both sides of the fences but something needs to be done. What needs to happen is fight the war on drugs and stop the drug trafficking problem in America. We need to increase the environment around us with positive effects to increase the positives outcomes.
Over the past few decades the United States has established all types of different control measures to stop the drug trade in America and abroad. For instance we have all types of laws that fit each type of drug and the penalties for having these drugs on you can cost you many years behind bars. For example cocaine, if you have a second offense charge you will get no less than 10 years behind bars, or a second offense of trafficking marijuana could cost you no less than 20 years in prison. If these laws are so strict why do American’s take the risk in using a drug that could cost them so much time behind bars? Under the US Code Offenses and Penalties there are over 24 sections that relate to drug charges and trafficking. This control measures are serious but yet the trafficking is gaining ground every day.
The most well known control measure that has been in place for a while now, but has gained media attention lately is the establishment of US Customs and Border Control which falls under the Homeland Security Agency. One of the main missions that the Border Control has to deal with is stopping narcotics from entering the United States. A news release was issued in October 2010 stating that the Border Patrol in Arizona seized more than 580 pounds of crystal methamphetamineÂ worth over $535,500 depending on the location that it is sold in. That same day they had another incident where they seized more than 570 pounds of marijuana worth over $455,000. This shows that the drug trade is alive and well all around the borders. The border control is a method of stopping the drug trafficking problem with in the United States but there is a lot of improvement that can be done in this area to ensure more drugs get off the streets.
It is amazing that we has the United States are first to go and fight and win hearts and minds in countries abroad but yet we have a growing epidemic of drugs taking place in the United States where it has been labeled a “war on drugs”. We have only sent 1200 National Guard troops to the borders to help assist the Border Patrol agents in the past year. That is a start but if we started to take care of our own country a little more compared to rebuilding nations that feel has if we should not be in there country then maybe, just maybe the progress on the drug trade would start to decline. Maybe each state should be deploying there National Guard assets to their borders and start fighting the drug cartels on the borders in relationship with the Border Patrol, and let them know we are not playing games.
Although this would not be a long term fix to the situation we would need one because drugs will still be around, and the cartels will just find new ways to maneuver the drugs in and out of America. The cost alone would not be something the United States would be able to maintain for a long period of time so it might be a good idea just to use the money to educate, build national treatment centers, and reform drug incarceration. If we started to reform these ideas with the money that we are spending in other countries and the failed war on drugs across the border then we might lower the demand which will take away jobs in the drug cartels and the supply would decrease because of the demand.
Education on drugs has been around for decades now with one of the most well known programs being D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education). D.A.R.E is an officer lead program that is established in the public school districts where officers give class room lectures to students on drugs and how they can negatively affect you. The program used to be a well funded program and was gaining national attention across America but over recent years it has lost its enthusiasm throughout the schools.
Although this is not the case in Oklahoma were it leads all states in D.A.R.E programs in schools. Education on drugs at an early age is vitally important to the success of our students since drugs are on all the streets that are kids are surrounded by. The peer pressure to try drugs has been happening at a younger and younger age every year. If we can educate more kids on the negative effects of drugs and increase the positive recreation activities for kids then we might see a decline in drug abuse. According to D.A.R.E “in 2006 more than 2.1 million teens abused prescription drugs andÂ most teens get these drugs from friends and family”. One of growing epidemic drugs in schools our anabolic steroids which reached a peak use in 2002 and has been growing ever since. Then there is alcohol use amongst kids at an early age and is usually the gateway drug that leads into many more drugs such marijuana, ecstasy, and cocaine.
The Office of National Drug Control Policy has established some educational programs throughout the country that are to increase positive environments for kids and to educate kids on drugs. These programs include Boys and Girls Club, D.A.R.E, Drug Free Communities Support Program, Drugs and Sports, and Office of Safe and Drug Free Schools just to name a few programs that the government supports. Another very interesting program is the American Council for Drug education which is a substance abuse and prevention program that bases there information on the most recent data on drugs and creates material for education purposes. These programs are great and it does deter away some students from the use of drugs but not all and that is way drug use is growing at such a fast pace, so more needs to be done instead of just having these educational programs.
A few ideas would be to implement a drug abuse class that students have to participate in once a year or they can choose to participate in it as taking as a elective and it can go towards there diploma.
Then there is the idea of starting a mentor program to start mentoring younger students in the school districts and holding kids more responsible for their actions. Kids need good role models to follow and if there are positive kids in schools that are willing to be a mentor to a younger student in the schools then we should allow this to happen. The program would be a big sister or big brother program and would allow the older students for instance the high school students to mentor the middle school students once they have meet certain criteria and have not had any discipline actions against them. Then if the program works then would could start having college students mentoring high school kids in all areas. This would allow kids to see goals and allow them to have something to work towards. They would have someone a little older to talk to besides their parents but someone that they could relate to in a positive way. A lot of times we allow are kids to go through school defending for their self and allowing their role models come from TV.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse has lead a ground breaking information fact sheet that highlights the good and the bad among drug statistics in schools. One of their positive findings in school age kids is the decline of cigarette use among kids and is at the lowest point in history. This is fantastic news since cigarette use is also labeled a gateway drug and is one of the most addictive drugs on the market. One of their areas of concerns in High Schools is the use of marijuana, and prescription drugs which is still increasing every day. One of the best ways to treat this growing problem is to infiltrate the poorer communities with highly funded educational programs that fight against drug use. Education and how we teach are younger generations will be vital if we plan on having a bright future of success in the Unites States. A lot of people will argue that the gang population is growing and is increasing in these poorer neighborhoods around America and are corrupting the schools and the education programs.
This is where the federal government should help fund state programs and increase the local police departments and start shutting down gangs on the streets. We need to start a surge of police on the streets now in order to get a hold of the violence and growing drug problem.
Gangs are the main distributors of drugs in the United States and street gangs are the managers of local organization crime that has the influence of drug control in local neighborhoods. There are currently over 21,500 gangs and with over 731,000 members in the United States. According to a 2001 Department of Justice survey, 20 percent of students aged 12 through 18 reported that street gangs had been present at their school during the previous 6 months. The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) claims that 27 percent of public school students aged 12 to 17 attend schools that are both gang and drug-infected. This shows that 5.7 million students attend schools which are both gang and drug dominated around America. The relationship of gangs and drugs is an epidemic monster that must be crushed now in order to stop drug trafficking. One of the interesting points that the CASA points out is the relationship between public and private schools and how drug use is more prevalent among public school children then private school children.
Protecting are education system must be protected and the government needs to ensure this is happening with a reformation act that sets forth new polices and laws that can do this. We need to flood the education system with money and highly educated teachers that can handle and maintain the education system with the growing violence on the streets of education. Once we dismantle the gang population then the drug trafficking will decrease. The focus should start in poor rural communities first and then spread to the inner cities.
The focal point should be on rebuilding schools, community buildings, job growth, and helping the youth become more flexible and adaptive. We do this and change will begin to grow like a wild flower among are communities and change is what we need to stop the drug war.
One of the other approaches that we need to try is building more drug treatment centers among are communities with a community based outlook. We take the drug abusers off the streets that want help, apply them with education and a fresh start to society, and then give them the tools to make it on their own. We need these centers all over, and we need to look at attaching these centers to public schools allowing are youth to get help with the option of not receiving backlash from parents. Drug treatment centers provide rehabilitation services for all types of drug abuses and addictions. We should allow these centers to work in partnership with local police stations to find the people that need or want help instead of locking them up in the prison system and then making the matters worse once they are released. The prison system shouldn’t be used as a drug rehabilitation center for society but used to lock criminals up that have committed horrible crimes. Prisons are not equipped with the right resources to conquer the quest of drug rehabilitation, so we need to conquer this on the streets before they end up in prison. We know that these treatment centers work and so do the drug cartels. The Washington Post wrote an article on the Mexican cartels and how they have taken over some of the treatment centers in Mexico and using them has a recruitment center for drug addicts. These treatment centers need to be a nationally protected and funded program by the government so we can keep these gangs out of the way of helping people that want help.
Reformation of laws and regulation are one of the hottest debated issues in the criminal justice system especially when it comes to sending people to prison and they way we go about helping individuals.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) states their mission statement as: “Drug Law Reform Project’s goal is to end punitive drug policies that cause the widespread violation of constitutional and human rights, as well as unprecedented levels of incarceration”. The ACLU fights for individuals that are serving time in prison for non violent crimes and trying to get them released by trying to get the President involved. One of the most informative and interesting organizations that are fighting for reform is the Drug Sense organization which a nonprofit organization informing the community as a database of articles that show information that pertains to the war on drugs. Reformation needs to take place in drug laws, and prisons around the United States, because our laws are outdated and are prison system is outdated as well.
Prison reform is needed to improve the system and rehabilitation process to have a more effective system for the new generation ahead. Right now are system is working against us with overcrowding, and repeat offender population. We need to build are prison to rehabilitate the ones that want to be rehabilitated and build prisons for individuals that cause harm separate from others. We need to separate these individuals once they are introduced into the prison system. If we do this we stop certain crimes from being committed and we also have a chance of stopping repeat offenders. Right now our prisons are overcrowded and we are intermixing everyone together even the weak with the strong and the system is becoming corrupt and the weak ones are becoming prey. The system must allow these criminal minds to be used in a positive way so when they are released they can bring something back to society in a positive way.
If we increase the manual labor that inmates have to perform each day instead of sitting in the cell for 23 hours of the day then we might be able to save money at the state and federal level.
It would also give the inmates something to do and give them the chance to clear their thoug
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