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Is the War on Drugs working?

Posted on June 8th, 2011 by Alley Pezanoski-Browne 2 Comments

Courtesy of Rachel Voorhees (via Flickr)

The War on Drugs is very much an international matter. What happens in the U.S. affects the rest of the world, and vice versa. While our government’s stance has been to criminalize drug use and possession as well as trafficking and selling, leaders in other countries question the logic.

A couple of years ago in an interview with CNN, the former Colombian President Cesar Gaviria said that the only way the worldwide problem would be solved was if drug consumption in the U.S. and Europe was reduced. In other words, he said the demand in the U.S. and Europe was what influenced the supply in his and other Latin American countries.

He and two other former Latin American presidents – Fernando Cardoso of Brazil and Ernesto Zedillo of Mexico – argued that rather than spending $4 billion on sending drug users to jail, the U.S. should “use more of the resources in the health system, in treatment and taking some people out of jail.” They believed that this tactic would save lives both in the U.S. and in Latin America.

Recently, Florida Governor Rick Scott signed legislation that would require adults applying for welfare assistance to undergo drug screening. If they test positive for drug-use, they will be denied benefits. Scott says that Florida tax-payers shouldn’t be subsidizing drug addiction. But Representative Corrine Brown is opposed to the legislation and says the testing represents “an extreme and illegal invasion of personal privacy.”

What do you think? Is all fair in love and the drug war? Is it right to criminalize drug use? Is it right to use it to prevent people from receiving welfare assistance? Or is thinking of drug use as an illness in need of treatment, not jail time, a better way to solve the drug problems in the U.S. and abroad?

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2 Responses

  1. Brian Ellis says:

    Calling it a war implies that it is a winnable action. It is not. Simply put, there is no way to end drug use/abuse. The mistakes the US is making here, and the same mistake they/we keep making in many instances it the idea that the US is best and needs not look at other countries for what they are doing right or wrong. That’s crap. If we look at what the countries with lower addiction rates are doing we see that it is a decriminalization that is most effective.

    Many people, mainly conservatives, will tell you that decriminalizing leads to all sorts of evils. Portugal, alone, shows us this is not true (,8599,1893946,00.html).

    Violence is rampant in the “war” on drugs. The word war is itself a violent word. The gangs war with each other, over the trade. The DEA, and local agencies, war with the producers, traders and consumers of it. What happened to the childhood lessons that violence never solves anything? Not to sound like a hippie, but only through understanding, compassion, and persistence will we be able to reduce this problem. Please note, I said reduce, not end.

  2. I had a friend that needed to get an STD test after her last boyfriend cheated on her so I recommended her to STD Testing.