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These problems occur mostly due to drugs; drug problems have been increasing in the past few years, especially in central and southern America. Problems in those countries have now started to shift its way to America and the violence is now affecting the American people. The effort to fight the war has caused the American government to squander lots of money. These illegal drugs have now become a profitable business for criminals and there is possibility that it is responsible for corruption of several state officials. There are plenty of people who are now serving time in jail for drug related offenses. With so much money at stakes, the business is easy to draw people to abandon their job and join the drug business. American peoples safety and the federal budget deficit on fighting the war has become a concern of the American government. The war on drugs has not had much success because drugs are more available at a cheaper price and its costing citizens substantial amount of money.
According to encyclopedia dictionary, the war on drugs is the efforts, including the use of military forces, of the United States government to suppress the illegal trade in narcotics worldwide (encyclopedia def.). When drugs became illegal in America, criminals began to supply these banned narcotics then when drugs began to cause problems the government declared war on drugs where they aim was for young kids not to be exposed to these drugs. According to Judge Gray, Richard M. Nixon was the first U.S. president formally to declare the nations War on Drugs. As years went by the government passed tougher laws such as the comprehensive crime control act of 1984 in which the bail amounts and lengths of sentences for drug offenders (Gray 27)
Although though its under control in the U.S., drug problems has gotten more intense in Mexico where the government don't have enough power to handle the drug cartels. The Mexican military with the help of the American government is now involved more on fighting drug cartels. According to Reiss, Under Obama's watch, funding for the Mexican initiative almost doubled in 2009 to $830 million, making it the largest U.S. foreign aid program (qtd. in Reiss 27). Before the army was involved it was easy for the drug cartels to ship drugs and transport them, but with the mounting effort the cartels have to discover other ways to distribute their drug operation. Despite the support from the U.S government, the drug cartels still have found other ways to continue their operations.
The Mexican army has not had much success on winning the war against the highly sophisticated cartels even with the help of the U.S. Violence has increased in the past few years because of turf among different cartels. There death toll exceeded more than 22,700 people in Mexico drug war since the U.S backed military crackdown on the cartels began in 2006 (World in brief). It is almost like a war zone in Mexico, where innocent people are being killed because of the escalating violence. In the article Are We Losing the War on Drugs? it states that, At the end of August, Juarez eclipsed Caracas, Venezuela, to become the murder capital of the world. Due to this violence many people in Mexico are fleeing their country. According to Cutler, there has been many day time shooting, where since January 2008 there had been more than 1,800 murders in Nogales, Tijuana and Ciudad Juarez (Cutler). Cutler continues that,
Safety and security are so threatened that the mayor of Juarez relocated his family across the border to El Paso after being threatened by the drug cartels. Increasing numbers of Mexican citizens are following suit, fleeing the violence and seeking asylum in the United States further straining the U.S. immigration system (Cutler).
As a result, the American government has stepped up the war on drugs by securing the border to stop illegal immigrants from sneaking through the border and bringing drugs to the United States. Most of the drugs in America are smuggled through the southern border, so by having a secured border will reduce the number of drugs being smuggled into the U.S.
Furthermore, the government has to spend so much money to secure the border. The government stepped up the war on drugs in the U.S because problems have also increased. The problems in Mexico have reached the United States, so the government had to step up. There have been incidents where American people have been kidnapped around the border. According to Cafferty, The Mexican drug cartels now have operations in 230 American cities (Cafferty). Cafferty continues:
And we're not just talking about border towns, but places such as Anchorage, Alaska; Boston, Massachusetts; Atlanta, Georgia; and Billings, Montana. They're everywhere. And they don't just bring drugs, but violence and crime as well
The major reason cartels smuggle drugs is because of the value of drugs. If a drug dealer can make quick money by selling drugs around the corner, then he will take the risk of going to jail in order to make money. According to Hawley Drug pilots were received almost 300,000 dollars per trip to smuggle drugs. (Hawley 18). Even with the failures, the American government keeps spending lots of money to fight the war. According to Martinez, the budget for drug war spending places the U.S. at 15.8 billion dollars for fiscal year 2011; 3.5 percent increase over for year 2010 (Martinez 7th).
As a result, the war on drugs has become a big failure where it is costing taxpayers money. With so many non-violent offenders in jail, taxpayers are the ones who are paying for them. According to Gray, the average cost for a state inmate over the age of fifty-five increases to about $69,000 per year because of increased health costs. (Gray 37). He also mentioned that health coverage is not required for citizens not in jail, but the taxpayers are obligated to provide adequate medical care for prisoners, whatever it costs (37).
Above all, some might consider the war on drugs a failure just like the prohibition of alcohol. According to Gray, when Alcohol Prohibition went into effect nationwide in 1920 the U.S saw increase in death from poisoned liquor, crime, violence and corruption. (Gray 23). There are similarities because just like alcohol, criminals began to provide these illegal things. Crime was also found, where competition between criminals resulted in killing each other and innocent bystanders over the banded substances. Both laws also caused the number of people incarcerated to increase and just like the mafia, drug cartel found a new market to profit. A major comparison was the supply and demand, where in both situations there were demands and others found way to supply the good. In both situations criminals found ways to smuggle the illegal substance through the border and the government was not vary effective to stop it. In the end some see both laws as being ineffective and opened black markets for criminals.
One possibility to winning the war on drug is to legalize drugs and a huge benefit of legalizing drugs is boosting the economy. Legalizing drugs possibly might eliminate the violence and it would be taxed. It is estimated that the consumer spending by drug addict is nearly $70 billion a year (The war on drugs is lost). The regulation and sale would present opportunity to create new jobs and even help pay some of the government debts. In addition, the money on the war on drugs can be used for health care, education, and rebuilding inner-city communities. Most people in prisons are incarcerated due to drug related offenses. According to London, Of the two million people behind bars, about 500,000 are there for drug-law violations (London). If drugs were legalized, then it will solve the overcrowding in prisons, and would make this freed space in jails and prisons available for violent offenders. If the government regulates drugs then drug dealers would possibly lose their business because legalization would lower prices and open competition.
In Conclusion, the war on drugs has become a big failure because drug consumption has risen and drugs are reaching major U.S. cities including the suburbs. After so many years of effort and government spending, drugs are cheap and are found in abundant. In fighting the war the government's focus was to tackle organize crime rather than treatments. Once again some may see the war on drugs like the prohibition of alcohol. Violence occurs because people are fighting over turf and doing crimes such as robbery in order to get money. As long as there is a quick way to get money, people will do anything, including crimes. The work to stop the supply of drugs into the U.S. is costly and at the same time ineffective. It seems the war on drugs is a stalemate, where money is being wasted and violence is increasing. The war on drugs has been going for many years and unless the government finds a way to decrease drug supplies and change its game plan the war on drugs could on for years to come.