Reorienting The War On Drugs
Published: August 27, 2019
The United States’ drug policy has not effectively discouraged drug consumption. Targeting suppliers has not effectively deterred cartels and gangs from producing and distributing drugs. The United States could better achieve its goals by focusing on reducing the demand for illegal drugs at home by supporting drug demand reduction and creating wider access to drug treatment options for addicts.
- How successful is the “War on Drugs?”
- What steps can be implemented to reduce the flow of illegal narcotics into the United States?
The United States’ policy of the “war on drugs” has not effectively discouraged drug consumption
For decades we’ve targeted suppliers by increasing the penalties for production and distribution in order to make drugs difficult to obtain.
But the suppliers who are still able to produce and distribute to drug cartels and gangs, earn immense profits.
Instead, the United States could better achieve its goals by focusing on reducing the demand for illegal drugs at home
through strengthened prevention and decriminalization
that opens up wider access to drug treatment options for addicts.
Portugal’s experience offers a successful example of decriminalizing small-scale drug use and possession,
and expanding access to treatment to addicts without fear of arrest.
Decriminalization is not the same thing as legalization.
The end goal is to reduce drug use, not encourage its recreational consumption.
Resources spent on disrupting supply and paying for costly incarceration should instead be used to support drug demand reduction and treatment efforts.