The War on drugs: Thinking Outside the Box
The war on drugs has been waging since the 1960’s. Yet there has been little progress.
We as a nation must look at our drug policy and change it to suit the needs of the 21st century
drug problem. To suit this new drug use, more funding must be used and rehab required for drug
offenders not just prison. Only with these reforms will America be able to combat scourge of
First of course as with any other government policy, large amounts of funding will be
required. America is now spending 21 billion dollars on its war against drugs. We need more
funds to properly run a new 21st century approach to drugs. With more funding come more
border patrol agents and DEA officers along with more funding for municipal anti-drug
programs. With more border patrol agents it would be much harder for traffickers of illegal drugs
to enter our country with their products. Also with more DEA agents we can take on the fight at
home taking down more drug kingpins, drug rings and drug dealing street gangs. Along with the
benefit of having drugs taken off the streets with the removal of street gangs from neighborhoods
violent crime would also decrease making areas that once where run down with drugs and crime
into safe and clean areas, better for residents to live in. Also with municipal drug funding
municipalities and states could use the funding to better fight the drug problems that they have.
Such as creating a larger police force or spending more on rehabilitation programs for addicts.
Another problem of drug use is the children of drug abusers. Funding must be allocated for use
in such programs as foster housing, psychiatric treatment, and health care. Considering how
children of drug users are more likely to use drugs themselves, stepping in and showing the
children a way to a drug free life would benefit them very much. More funding could also be
used to teach students about the risks of drugs. Considering that 50% of high school students try
illegal drugs. Education must be updated and made true to the facts. We cannot afford students to
think that drug education is a joke by exaggerating facts. As a duty to them drugs must be
explained openly and vigorously and the real facts should be given to them so when it comes
there time to decide they can chose for themselves to say no, not just because they were told to.
This is one instance where overprotection will not help. We must let teens get all the facts and
decide for themselves that drug free is the way to be not scaring them or making them think it is
a joke. Drugs are no joke they are hazardous substances and must be treated that way. Yet to
make this possible much more funding is needed to ensure a drug free America.
Drug offenders make up the bulk of America’s prison population for a crime they should
not be punished for: hurting themselves. Drug users need help for there condition they cannot
just be thrown away and forgotten about. We need to act and help these people before there
conditions get any worse or they overdose and die. Most of the inmates in Americas prisons that
were convicted of drug crimes only were sentenced for possession without intent to distribute.
This means they only had a small amount for personal use. Is it a crime to hurt oneself? I think
not it is more of a mental disease, one that prison cannot help but only a good rehabilitation
program that will help keep those caught with drugs clean for the rest of their lives. Prison is also
not the best environment to keep clean. Prisons even encourage drug use. Many inmates smuggle
drugs into prisons and sell them for large profits. Even many inmates who were not drug users
prior to prison become so in prison. As mentioned earlier funding should be made available for
rehabiltitation clinics for those sentenced with drug crimes. Rehabilitation should not be set aside
as being too costly. Prison is very expensive for each inmate per year. Yet if inmates only need a
year of rehab to clean themselves up it will save money from being in prison for long terms.
Another fact is that many non violent drug offenders come out of prison being more violent than
before. Prison is a very violent place and it is easy to step from being on the side lines of
violence to joining in on the violence. As a consequence of this prisons need to be cleaned up. In
mates should not be running prisons. The wardens and the prison staff should be, violence and
drug addiction should not be a daily event they should be a rarity. Prison should not be a place to
have fun. Prison should be a place to reflect on ones crimes and be punished for them. Prisons
also are incredibly overcrowded. America now has over two million inmates in prison this is
more than any other industrialized country. Our prisons our almost at the breaking point there is
almost no room for anymore prisoners. Sadly, many prisoners are there for petty drug crimes.
Addicts need help overcoming their addictions and this help can obviously not be found in
prisons and with the need to get rid of prisoners that are taking up so much room in prisons we
should release drug addicts from prison and put them in drug rehabilitation programs that will
end their addiction once and for all. Drug offenders need help not prison terms that is why non
violent drug offenders should be released into rehabilitation.
Drug use is rampant in this country and will likely stay that way for time to come. As a
country we must fight this addiction and help the citizens in this country who are faced with the
perils of addiction in this country not throw them in jail and forget about them. Funding must
also be provided to fund such things as foster care, Drug rehab, and drug education. With all of
these hopefully our country can lead and continue the new fight against drugs in the 21st century.
“Facts about Drugs and Alcohol use.” EMQ. 2007. Online. Internet.
“Prisons encourage drug use.” December 2006. Online. Internet.
“Prison Facts.” 2006. Online. Internet. <http://www.nonewprisons.org/prisons/> 3/30/08
American Drug War [Television Broadcast]. Kevin Booth, broadcaster. Los Angeles: Showtime, 21