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Intellections Discussion

Reorienting The War On Drugs
How successful is the “War on Drugs?”


Well, considereing Nixon and Ehrlichman's policies of outright scapegoating the black community as heroin junkies, and all subsequent policy initiatives as resting on that odious foundation, I'd say it has been a colossal failure.

No one is arguing that unsafe people should be on the streets making the country more dangerous. But to argue that drug use and low level drug sales are a worthwile endeavor to police, charge, prosecute, and sentence, is a misappropriation of reason. The for profit prison system has a clear motive to lobby for a ststus quo, and I think we can all see the conflict of interest here. The excessive power prosecutors possess renders plea bargaining a joke and presumptive sentencing the whip by which justice is purported to be effected. To say nothing of the real argument hiding beneatht the dirty war on drugs, which is economics, or more properly, economic inequality.
As a nation we still haven't grappled with our legacy of slavery and all the subsequent malevolence that followed. From Jim Crow to Pig Laws to Redlining to Sundown Towns, we have systematically cut the black communities all accross America out of growing their wealth intergenerationaly. It is no wonder the poorer neighborhoods resort to escape through drugs and alcohol, it is no wonder the sense of desperation and the feeling of hopelessness about one's future are more dominant in poorer neighborhoods. So when you ask about the war on drugs, I have to bristle at the thoughtlessness of such a question. If we could incarcerate our way out of drug use and poverty, we would have already.