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History of the War on Drugs

Info: 2748 words (11 pages) Essay
Published: 23rd Sep 2019 in History

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The War on Drugs

The war on drugs, is it even worth wild to the American people anymore; what pros and cons have come from it; most would say it’s been a positive in effort to stomp out drugs and the negative effects associated with them out of the United States and even elsewhere, while others think it’s a complete waste of time, money, and resources that could easily be put to work elsewhere in the country, the war on drugs is essential to the success and stability of the crime levels in the United States. In a article by McCaffrey its expressed that the viewpoint of the war on drugs is that its essential to the decreasing crime in the United States, obviously shown through statistical and logical reasoning. Likewise in another article by McDonough its similarly expressed that the war on drugs is indeed worth it, especially in the long run as the drugs people are being charged for are the thing that are causing crime to go up and are the controlling factor leading to violence in our streets. This can also be seen an article written by both Lee and Newton, two individuals who have a strong viewpoint based on by evidence that the U.S. needs to continue the war effort on drugs in the US. However not everyone is so over the fence as these two, instead people are pushing to end the war on drugs, such as seen by the article written by Bandow, where its shown that the war on drugs does more harm than good for the American people.

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 In the article written by McCaffrey he lists great evidence and backs it up with studies helping to show the public how drugs need to be controlled and not left stringently left alone. One example of this is shown when the author writes “the deaths of basketball star Len Bias and football star Don Rogers demonstrated to the public that one dose of cocaine could prove lethal even to healthy young athletes (McCaffrey)” into his article. This quotation shows just how powerful the effects of drugs really are on the human body, how one incident can leave someone either alive or dead. All for the simple fact that they get their “reward” for a couple of seconds. This claim is once again further backed by the article when its written “ Wooed into a false sense of security by the supposed benign quality of smoked marijuana, unwitting victims of crack cocaine wrongly concluded that smoking this substance—unlike injecting it—would be a safe route of administration… Actually, crack cocaine made heroin “look like the good old days,” according to historian Dr. Jill Jonnes. The advent of crack houses and crack babies (the NIDA National Pregnancy and Health Survey estimated 1.5 percent to 2 percent of American infants in 1992 had been exposed to cocaine in utero (McCaffrey).“ The effects of drugs on the human body are not fully understood by the American public, which is a great redeeming value as to why the War on Drugs was and still is an essential need to the American public. Without some type of campaign even more babies or peoples lives could’ve have been ruined than just stated above. The lack of knowledge shown by people about just how drugs affect the body, and how we as a society are still testing in lab environments to which extend these drugs really have an effect. This can be seen stated in the article when McCaffrey states that people’s “tendency to underestimate the hazards of drug use has been made in successive generations. We forget what has been painfully demonstrated in years past. The seductive quality of drugs fooled many professionals and laymen. The father of modern psychiatry, Sigmund Freud, initially thought cocaine was non-addictive and relatively harmless—a mistake made in the mid-1880s that was repeated nearly a hundred years later (McCaffrey).” This quotation shows the powerfulness of the ignorance that the American people have about drugs, but most importantly society. The War on Drugs needs to be continued and even further pushed because it will be saving lives from these treacherous conditions exerted on the human body while injecting or consuming drugs like heroin, crack and marijuana. Many of these conditions we still may not know about to this day because they haven’t come up into a study just yet.

 The dangers of drugs proves more just how America needs to continue the campaign on the War on Drugs, we as a society are still plagued with these vial contrabands that flood our streets. The need for the War on Drugs is further explained and proved in the article written by McDonough. This is especially so when we as a reader pickup on the quote “Law-enforcement officers routinely report that the majority (i.e., between 60 and 80 percent) of crime stems from a relationship to substance abuse, a view that the bulk of crimes are committed by people who are high, seeking ways to obtain money to get high or both (McDonough),” this quotation of how law enforcement officials report that crime stems from substance abuse or the need of people to get more drugs is alarming. As seen in the before paragraph, substances not only had been proven to have fatal effects on the human body, but now its also being linked to a rise in crime. This easily can show that the War on Drugs needs to be continued to help further violent crime in the states. Obviously we as a society cant have individuals running around commiting crimes to get money, which one could only assume is by either stealing or other means of violent crimes. This is statement of the continuation of the War on Drugs is further proved once again when stated “For children ages 12 to 17, delinquency and marijuana use show a proportional relationship. The greater the frequency of marijuana use, the greater the incidents of cutting class, stealing, physically attacking others and destroying other peoples’ property (McDonough)” in the article written by McDonough. This quotation is showed that the effects of drugs on youths are higher than those of adult age. We as a society have to recognize that the War on Drugs further helps to bring down these youths and help them reform their poor choices in life by them getting involved with drugs. These youths that are getting caught up in the drug game are being seen doing terrible things at such a young age, basically the start of their lives. These actions as described above are such of stealing and physically attacking others and destroying their property. Another example of the War on Drugs being an essential campaign to the safety to the American people is when McDonough writes “When we look beyond the crime driven by drugs and factor in the lost human potential, the family tragedies, massive health costs, business losses and neighborhood blights instigated by drug use, it is clear that the greater harm is in the drugs themselves (McDonough).” This clear and fantastic example of a quotation shows just how the whole drug situation affects the American society. People’s health is at risk, businesses are at risk, but most importantly the balance of families and lives are at risk as well. This is a clear and reasonable reason as to why we as an American society need to support the War on Drugs and continue its efforts in our lives. The continuation of the War on Drugs helps to bring along the decrease in levels of crime and helps decrease those with broken hearts and scars that will forever stay with them as a result of substance – drug – abuse.

 One article that continues to prove this point even further is one that was written by both Newton and Lee, their written article helps to further prove the thesis before by bringing in new information about the War on Drugs and fully help evolve it into a meaningful campaign that will further help reduce levels of crime and even heartbreak. An example of just how influential these drugs are on the youth of America alone can be seen when Lee and Newton state “In 2005, the National Institute on Drug Abuse conducted a survey of nearly 50,000 students in hundreds of secondary schools nationwide… it subsequently published concluded that over 20 percent of eighth graders had already used at least one type of illicit drug at least once … For children in the twelfth grade, the figure rose sharply, to more than 48 percent (Lee).” These survey results that are shown to the reader are appalling, absolutely heart sinking and stomach turning. No one in their right mind, especially those with kids or youths of their own would want their kid to be included in this survey as a positive for trying drugs. The drug problem in America is rampant and the War on Drugs needs to be continued to help combat all these issues that come along with substance use. One pro that can be seen from the War on Drugs is when stated in the article “In 2000, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents conducted one of the largest LSD lab seizures in history and arrested Leonard Pickard and Clyde Apperson, who operated the lab from a retired missile silo near Wamego, Kansas, and were believed to supply a vast majority of the US trade in the drug (Lee).” As seen here, contrary to a lot of criticism, the War on Drugs has contributed to an decrease in the flow of drugs into the country. Another example of this can be seen once again, “the DEA reported in early 2007 that since 2001 there has been a 23 percent drop in the overall number of teenagers using illegal drugs. There have been reductions of 60 percent or more in the use of methamphetamines, and cocaine abuse by high school seniors has fallen by 55 percent (Lee).” These are some large factors to play around with, a 23% drop in the usage of drugs by teens by some can be seen as a great positive as even 1% could be. As long as these teenagers are stopping the use of drugs and lowering the usage statistics, the War on Drugs is saving lives. The War on Drugs has once again been proven to be helping reduce the pungent disgusting factors that come along with drug use such as homelessness, dropped grades even complete loss of life and ruining of lives and families.  Another example proving another pro to the War on Drugs can be seen when Lee & Newton writes “he US State Department has also reported “significant successes” in combating the problem of international drug trafficking through its close cooperation with other countries (Lee).” This simple fact that the War on Drugs as not only helped the American public, but also others on a international level is absolutely stunning, how our own American campaign can affect those in other countries . Not everyone sees eye to eye on this topic though, as many still believe the fact that the War on Drugs is a waste of time, money and instead of helping individuals, is hurting them instead.

 To those that are like minded to writer Bandow that believe that the War on Drugs is instead hurting those that its meant to help. In Bandows article he discusses several different examples of why this hurting statement is true. One example of this is when Bandow writes “the most perverse impact of the Drug War has been to injure and kill users. Far from protecting people from themselves, prohibition actually makes drug use more dangerous (Bandow),” this is further continued by Bandow writing “For instance, actor Philip Seymour Hoffman chose to use heroin, but he could never be certain as to its quality, purity, and potency. And he had no way to hold his suppliers accountable for negligently or fraudulently endangering his life. Criminalization also encourages dealers to traffic in substances which are both more concealable and valuable—which usually means more concentrated, and dangerous (Bandow).” This statement by Bandow is compelling as its reasonably true and goes against everything the War on Drugs was committed to doing. Especially as now instead of helping people the War on Drugs can now be seen as further endangering those within its grapses. But the evidence is further stacked against the War on Drugs as Bandow continues on in his article and writes “Threatening addicts with jail also makes them less likely to acknowledge their problems and seek assistance. The drug war encourages needle-sharing by IV drug users, which promotes the spread of AIDS and hepatitis (Bandow).” Luckily now for the American people, not only is the War on Drugs encouraging drug use in a safe environment, but its now also an expressway for AIDS to be carried around. Obviously this hopefully wasn’t an intention by those rolling out the Anti-drug campaign. One last example that Bandow expresses in his well written article bashing the War on Drugs effort is “The worst crimes grow out of a well-funded illegal marketplace. As during Prohibition, violence becomes the ultimate business guarantee. Moreover, abundant drug revenues subsidize gangs and organizations which branch out into other crimes, from kidnapping to terrorism (Bandow).” Not one could easily tell that once things are illegal prices go up, this is the case with drugs as well, instead this one is fueling both crimes by gangs but also to terrorism, such has been seen that the War on Drugs have actually helped terrorism by funnelling money to those organizations. Clearly the war on drugs isn’t working out in the best interest of those intended.

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 The war on drugs, is it even worth wild to the American people anymore; what pros and cons have come from it; most would say it’s been a positive in effort to stomp out drugs and the negative effects associated with them out of the United States and even elsewhere, while others think it’s a complete waste of time, money, and resources that could easily be put to work elsewhere in the country, the war on drugs is essential to the success and stability of the crime levels in the United States. The War on Drugs is 100% essential to the stability of crime levels in the U.S.  As can be seen by the writer McCaffrey through her multiple points made by her article, the War on Drugs helped bring attention to the risk of drugs and what they can do to human life. So in the end, the War on Drugs is essential to bringing together the American society to end the distribution and use of contraband substances.

Works Cited

  • Bandow, Doug. “The War on Drugs Is Not Working.” Drug Legalization, edited by Noël Merino, Greenhaven Press, 2015. Current Controversies. Opposing Viewpoints In Context, http://link.galegroup.com.ezproxy.sunycgcc.edu:2048/apps/doc/EJ3010211292/OVIC?u=suny_c_sunycgcc&sid=OVIC&xid=bc9823de. Accessed 6 June 2018. Originally published as “End the Drug War: The American People Are Not the Enemy,” Intercollegiate Review, 3 Mar. 2014.
  • McCaffrey, Barry. “America Must Continue the War on Drugs.” Drug Trafficking, edited by Auriana Ojeda, Greenhaven Press, 2002. Current Controversies. Opposing Viewpoints In Context, http://link.galegroup.com.ezproxy.sunycgcc.edu:2048/apps/doc/EJ3010043239/OVIC?u=suny_c_sunycgcc&sid=OVIC&xid=958af84c. Accessed 6 June 2018. Originally published as “Getting a Fix on U.S. Drug Use History,” Washington Times, 16 Mar. 1997.
  • McDonough, James R. “Drug Offenders Belong in Prison.” Prisons, edited by James Haley, Greenhaven Press, 2005. Current Controversies. Opposing Viewpoints In Context, http://link.galegroup.com.ezproxy.sunycgcc.edu:2048/apps/doc/EJ3010059257/OVIC?u=suny_c_sunycgcc&sid=OVIC&xid=d85ca942. Accessed 6 June 2018. Originally published as “Critics Scapegoat the Antidrug Laws; Advocates Pushing for Decriminalization of Drug Use Blame the War on Drugs for Creating an ‘Incarceration Nation.’ But a Hard Look at the Facts Proves Otherwise,” Insight on the News, 10 Nov. 2003, p. 33.
  • Lee, M., and Heather Newton. “Point: The US Should Continue Supporting the War on Drugs.” Points of View: Drug Policy, 31 Mar. 2017, p. 2. Points of View Reference Center, EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.sunycgcc.edu:2048/login.aspx?direct=true&db=pwh&AN=26612506&site=pov-live. Accessed 7 June 2018.


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