The End of the US War on Drugs


The modern world has different negative factors, which aggravate the lives of people and require solving in order to assure positive development of the society. Among them one can name environmental pollution, different social problems of local and international kind. However, there is an issue, which has specific origin and mostly depends on human choices allowing this phenomenon to grow and drastically affect the society. This problem is drugs, which are substances of various origins that cause addiction and turn people into living zombies craving for another dose of a poisonous substance. The problem of drug use and drug trafficking is relevant to almost any country disregarding its level of economic or technological development. Drug issues ruin personalities, families, quality of life and corrupt the systems of social regulation such as the police or border patrols. The discussed issue is extremely relevant for the US because of its neighbor Mexico, which is used by numerous drug dealers as a breach for bringing forbidden substances to the country. The analysis of the discussed issue performed in this paper allows stating that the war on drugs should be ended because it increases incarceration, destroys families, and leads to death of numerous individuals throughout the country.



It is important to characterize the consequences of drug usage in order to enhance the understanding of the importance of their ban and the end of drug wars. Thus, drugs are a category of substances, which deviate human cognition is a special way, mainly by means of forced reaction of chemicals with biological tissue in the body of a drug user. The ways of reaction differ depending on the substance and the means of its intake by the organism, which may include eating, sniffing, smoking or injecting. For example, a group of psychotropic drugs, which is mostly eatable, is capable of affecting the mind, emotions, and behavior of a person (“Definition of psychotropic drug”). These aspects along with other kinds of deviations, which are associated with drugs, increase their popularity in specific groups of people. These groups range from marginalized ones to the top celebrities as well as are of widespread use by representatives of different age, gender, race, ethnicity and country.

Characterizing the negative aspects of drug usage one should say that they arise from individual ones to those affecting the whole country. Thus one of the issues relevant to drug consumption and abuse is incarceration, the statistics of which in the US is several times higher than any other country of the world (The Drug War, mass incarceration and race”). Consequently, this problem is more relevant to the US rather than other countries and requires the increased amount of financial and human resources for solving. The overview of the basic data related to this problem allows stating that 50% or 95,800 of sentenced inmates in federal prisons were serving time for drug offences in 2014 (“Prisons, jails, and people arrested for drugs”). Moreover, in 2013, about 1.7 million adults aged 18 or older were on parole or other supervised release whereas 4.5 million adults were on probation because of drug issues (“Prisons, jails, and people arrested for drugs”). Drug use is also associated with the increase of different crimes as stealing and robbery caused by the need for getting money to buy drugs leading to imprisonment. As a result, local and federal governments initiate different drug treatment programs attempting to reduce these ratios because treatment is associated with drug-related crime reduction. The benefit of this way of combating the issue is that it costs approximately $20,000 less to treat people rather than support their stay in prison (“Prisons, jails, and people arrested for drugs”). Another aspect related to incarceration is the destruction of families, which is also relevant for the US and poses serious risk to the nation.

Destruction of Families

Family destruction in the US because of drug-related issues has several critical issues to consider one of which is incarceration and others being deviant behavior, illnesses and deaths. Experts claim that 2.7 million children in the country are growing in households where one or more parents are incarcerated (“The Drug War, mass incarceration and race”). The analysis of this issue in terms of the incarceration ethnicity tendencies demonstrate that African American and Latino-American families are at more serious risks of family destruction. Thus, 1 in 9 African American 1 in 28 Latino American and 1 in 57 White American children have an incarcerated parent (“The Drug War, mass incarceration and race”). In this respect, the reason for family destruction is mostly psychological meaning that marriages break up because of the lack of ability for supporting relationship. For example, this may include problems in communication, distance, absence of a partner, risky behavior in prison and other issues. Similarly, some wives and husbands are stigmatized because of the imprisonment of their spouse, which causes family destruction. Other cases include the loss of attachment of children and problems of reestablishment of family connection. At the same time, experts state that “Nothing has contributed more to the systematic mass incarceration of people of color in the United States than the War on Drugs” (Alexander). Consequently, the US war on drugs has a direct connection with family destruction caused by mass imprisonments and requires development of more efficient solutions decreasing negative social tendencies.

At the same time, one should characterize negative psychological factors, which cause family destruction. In this respect, scholars claim that an exploitation of impact of drugs by one member of the family may drastically affect the others gradually ruining the family(Barnard). Moreover, numerous studies revealed that “drug use within the family also created risks, not least the increased likelihood that younger brothers or sisters might develop drug problems” (Barnard). Drug abuse of one member of the family is also associated with the increased financial risk because drug users tend to spend enormous amounts of money on drug consumption. Similarly, the stress of the family caused the development of different negative feelings towards the members abusing drugs. Among such feelings people report to experience “feelings of loss, anger, shame and disappointment, and their sense of how drugs had destroyed their family” (Barnard). At the same time, the policies of the country towards saving the families of drug-addicts should provide assistance to such families. The reason for this is the lack of experience and knowledge, which leads to family destruction despite the will of the members to save it. Thus, scholars report that families try solving this problem alone without resources or agencies, which is why incompetence ruins their attempts(Barnard). Similarly, other family members are at the risk of drug consumption because of sharing the same living setting. In such cases, it is extremely difficult to save the family without the assistance of competent specialists. At the same time, there is one more aspect, which should be considered when stating that the war on drugs in the country should be finished, which is death caused by drug abuse.

Increased Death Ratio Because of Drugs

It is important to point out that in the majority of cases of drug consumption drug addicts are at the increased risk of death caused by different factors. Among them one can name work in dangerous settings under the influence of drugs and morbidity caused by drug overdose. Thus, the most obvious consequences of drug abuse are ill health and sickness which lead to death (“The impact of drugs on society – National Drug Threat Assessment 2006”). Often, drug abuse is associated with a wide range of diseases such as HIV/AIDS and hepatitis, which transfer together with blood during mass injections with a similar inject. Along with it, experts state that the adverse effects of drug abuse are dangerous not only for individuals abusing them. Thus, among the endangered people are families and friends of drug addicts as well as different businesses and even the governmental resources and state security. For instance, the reports indicate that the economic cost of drug abuse in 2002 was $180.9 billion (“The impact of drugs on society – National Drug Threat Assessment 2006”). This cost is the sum of different issues including the lack of ability of drug addicts for full-time employment, damage of property, and violation of public rules, laws and private security. Moreover, there are cases when drug abusers took positions, which require responsibility and attention when being under the effect of drugs, which led to drastic repercussions. Among such cases, experts name airline pilots, air traffic controllers, train operators, bus drivers and other (“The impact of drugs on society – National Drug Threat Assessment 2006”). Furthermore, these individuals are at the increased risk of losing a job, which leads to their financial insufficiency and death of starvation or at the crime scene. Usually, businesses and organizations tend to fire drug abusing workers because of the cases of stealing equipment, cash, supplies and other valuable objects for further selling with the purpose of buying drugs. In addition, business owners claim that lost productivity, absenteeism, and increased use of the benefits of insurance negatively affect their organizations (“The impact of drugs on society – National Drug Threat Assessment 2006”). Therefore, the risky and antisocial behavior of unemployed drug users may endanger their own lives and the lives of the citizens. As a consequence, it is evident that drug usage is a general problem of the society, which cannot be localized to any concrete area or country and requires a complex solution.

The War Should Be Ended

The review of contemporary state of war on drugs demonstrates that it receives heavy criticism from almost any side including politicians, citizens and legal experts. Thus, scholars claim that drug trafficking and abuse still present as a dynamic and challenging social threat to the country (“National drug threat assessment summary 2013”). Along with emergence of new substances used as drugs, the availability of such substances as heroin continues to increase. The major threats of heroin and metamphetamine trafficking are still connected with Mexico indicating that drug traffic control is still insufficient and requires enhancement. This statistics of the emerging threat of drugs is also supported by the recent increase of heroin overdose rates in metropolitan areas (“National drug threat assessment summary 2013”). Similarly, increased domestic cultivation of cannabis still poses a threat in some states, which serve as targets for marijuana suppliers. At the same time, the increase of the ratio of synthetically designed drugs such as “K2”, “Spice” and synthetic cathinones called “bath salts” is characterized as a serious problem in the country (“National drug threat assessment summary 2013”). The source of their danger is the increase of popularity among youth as well as the presence of high risk of severe negative consequences including severe hallucination and death. Moreover, as comparatively newly emerged substances, these drugs require introduction of modern regulatory legislations allowing regulating raw materials associated with their production.

Furthermore, there are numerous claims indicating that the modern system of drug trafficking control and other associated measures are far from being efficient. The vivid example of this is the documentary How to Make Money Selling Drugs, which demonstrates the modern situation in the sphere of drug dealing and trafficking. The film criticizes the war on drugs and examines its weak points, which actually led drugs to becoming more accessible. The majority of the claims are supported by the statistics, which, for example, states that more high-purity heroin has become available at the street level causing the increased number of overdose deaths (“National drug threat assessment summary 2013”). As a consequence of the increased access, only throughout 2011 the number of heroin addicts increased from 142,000 to 178,000 together with the increase of younger users of drugs (“National drug threat assessment summary 2013”). Similarly, the majority of experts agree that the US is losing the war on drugs because the number of total expenditures associated with different governmental initiatives does not meet with its efficacy. For instance, Wesley (Wesley) states that the US government spent $1 trillion in the latest 40 years increasing the annual budget each year until it has multiplied by 150 times. At the same time, the number of drugs getting imported, exported, bought and sold in the country reaches $460.6 billion (Wesley). Thus, the country should end the war on drugs by means of analyzing its drawbacks and fixing them as soon as possible.

The proposed initiatives for enhanced drug control and regulation might be include a wide range of solutions. Among them one can name the increase of the use of technology with the aim of revealing drug production, coordination and distribution centers, cooperation with the agencies of different countries and enhanced legal policy. Thus, the US drug combating agencies may use GPS systems for tracking the typical routes of drugs and their storage and productions centers. This would allow revealing the core points of production, which should be eliminated in order to reduce the quantity of available drugs in the country. Similarly, the federal and local agencies in the US would benefit from sharing these technologies with other agencies in the world revealing large international drug traffic routes. Moreover, the modification of legal policies may enhance the procedures of arrest and extradition of drug smugglers, which would make legal procedures faster. At the same time, scholars claim that the local environment influences the citizens in their choices in taking drugs (“Drug abuse, a threat to society”). As a result, the governments should change the attitude of population towards drugs into negative and stigmatizing in order to decrease the level of drug users. Consequently, the drug dealers and smugglers of the US would have both limits of resources and customers, is to finally defeat them. Therefore, the government should implement the proposed changes in order to end the drug war saving the lives of millions of citizens and assuring economic stability and state security.


Summarizing the presented information, the paper concludes that the US government should end the drug war by means of reviewing its strategies and enhancing their efficacy. The analysis of the drug usage in the country allows stating that drug abuse leads to incarceration, families break up and increased death ratios endangering the wealth of the nation. The investigation of the modern state of drug issue in the country indicates that the drug war is far from being efficient. Thus, the state has spent almost $1 trillion whereas the number of drug abusing citizens and drug trafficking cases did not drop. As a consequence, there is a need for the revision of the applied anti-drug strategies in order to end the drug war with the victory of the state. It is possible to achieve it with the help of modern technologies, legal policies, international cooperation and the development of popularity of healthy lifestyle. Therefore, one presumes that it is possible to end the drug war for the benefit of the citizens of the country.

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