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Over the years the "war on drugs" has been fought on many fronts, both international and domestic. Legislators have tried to attack the source by issuing attacks on America's borders and producers of these illegal crops. On international sides the DEA has been known to destroy cocaine labs located in the Columbian jungles. The Coast Guard is seizing cargos of drugs at sea and the Secret Service is discovering money laundering schemes where money from illegal drug sales is being funneled into foreign countries. Here on the home front politicians move for drug treatment centers, improved educational programs in schools and stress the importance of family values to fight the war on drugs. Yet neighborhood's anxiety about drugs in their home front has escalated consistently. The reasons for this are as current as this morning's headlines. Drive by shootings, bars on windows, and parents afraid to send their children to nearby play grounds because they are littered with used syringes, crack pipes and drug addicts or drug dealers approaching them. Blatant neighborhood drug dealers, standing on street corners scorn any efforts these neighbors make to eradicate them from their neighborhoods.
Law enforcement have formed task force designated to eradicate these drug dealers from these neighborhoods by beefing up patrol, community oriented policing and by organizing neighborhood watch programs. According to the Bureau of Justice the estimated number of arrests for drug abuse violations for adults has been increasing. In 2008 there were a total of 14,005,615 arrest made 1,702,537 were for drug violations compared to 2000 when 13, 980,287 arrest were made and 1,579,566 were attributed to drug offenses (U.S. Department of Justice, 2008). According to the National Drug Control Strategy state and local law enforcement are involved in programs such as High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) and the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) these programs are them supplemented with interagency help from the DEA and ICE. These programs have helped to local law enforcement with interdiction and eradication of drug dealers and manufactures on the home front. Although the war on drugs continues to be problem local law enforcement are continuously fighting back. Local law enforcement agencies have set up highway interdiction teams that intercept drug supplies of drug dealers and they have also implemented drug buys to gather information against drug dealers to obtain convictions against them. These are just a few of the critical steps that law enforcement has taken to win the war on drugs.
In order to continue to win the fight I think that law enforcement need to implement critical steps in the process. Law enforcement cannot win this fight alone they need the community to help them and this is difficult because there is a lack of trust among communities and law enforcement. It is imperative that they build a trusting relationship within these communities in or to obtain crucial information. Law enforcement officers must be trained properly and educated on how drug dealers operate. Law enforcement officers are trained in academies but still are not savvy to the way these drug dealers and drug manufactures work. Drug dealers have had years to hone their skills and a normal law enforcement officer has a mere 16 weeks of training and possibly 12 weeks of on the job training. Continuous on the job training is essential for law enforcements to win the fight against drugs. Another critical step that law enforcement must undertake is interagency communication. Sharing information is crucial in this fight, if one agency has information about activities of a drug dealer it is important that they share that information with the other agency. Sharing information is essential for agencies to arrest and convict drug dealers and get them off the street. The final step that I think law enforcement must take is education in schools. Although I am a strong proponent of parents educating their children about drugs at home. I think that a presence on law enforcement in schools is essential. Law enforcement cannot only educate children on the dangers of drugs but they can also encourage children and suggest healthy alternatives to doing drugs. Sports, clubs, music lessons, community service projects, and after-school activities. Children are the ears and eyes of the communities they live in. They are the future leaders of this country and winning the war on drugs starts with educating kids on the dangers of drug. A curriculum that involves the presence of law enforcement educating children on how to avoid drug use and report drug activity is a crucial step in this fight against drugs.
Frequently the news depicts drug war turfs in Nuevo Laredo between the cartel and their opponents or on the home front drug arrest where dealers are caught with a massive amount of drugs. In other news you hear how law enforcement is targeting certain neighborhoods to remove drug dealers from neighborhoods, but what is not addressed in these media broadcast is where are the drug dealers going? Drug dealers have become very innovate in their approach to dealing drugs. They are moving into middle class neighborhoods with white picket fences and blending into communities. The only sign that neighbors may notice is more vehicle traffic in the neighborhood until crime in the neighborhood increases. I am of the opinion that displacement of drug dealers does cause problems for the environment that they move into. Once a drug dealer moves into a quiet neighborhood there may be an increase of thefts and drug use. Another factor that affects the environment with the displacement of drug dealers is the neighborhood itself they were displaced from. Once a drug dealers is displaced from the neighborhood crime may increase with other drug dealers trying to claim the territory or the displaced drug dealers seeking revenge against the neighborhood. Many people fear these drug dealers and avoid cooperating with police in fear of retaliation.
Crack Cocaine is a prevalent drug according to the 2001 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse, approximately 6.2 million (2.8 percent) Americans age 12 or older had tried crack at least once in their lifetime, 1.0 million (0.5 percent) used crack in the past year, and 406,000 (0.2 percent) reported past month crack use (White House Office of National Drug Control Policy , 2003). I am of the opinion that displacements efforts are more focused on hard core drugs such as crack cocaine, methamphetamine and heroin. I do not think that law enforcement is as focused on drugs such as marijuana. I think that they focus more on these drugs because of the danger these drugs bring to the communities. Crack cocaine, meth and heroin cause a person to develop a psychological addiction and cause the user to crave the drug. Because of this addicts are more likely to commit crimes to obtain theses drug. While some studies show that Marijuana has been best described as a sedative or a hypnotic drug (Deans, 1997).
Law enforcement have made great efforts in displacing drug dealers from communities and continue to fight what seems at times like a losing battle. Continued support from federal agencies and media awareness will help in these efforts to eradicate these individuals from society. I believe that communities must ban together with local and state law enforcement agencies to battle this drug epidemic. We as a society cannot expect law enforcement to battle this fight alone.