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What's behind the war on drugs?

America's "war on drugs" is the subject of intense debates, with many people feeling like it has, overall, been a disaster.

Drugs are widely available everywhere and there are epidemics of overdoses in some areas. Prescription drugs and illicit drugs alike are still a huge social and health crisis. Aside from being incredibly expensive to enforce, the hard-line approach of many laws that had their roots in that war has led to massive numbers of people incarcerated for low-level drug crimes. The laws also often punish people for merely being addicts, throwing them in jail when they're caught instead of putting them in treatment.

The war on drugs is also inherently racist at its core and always has been. Most people don't know that much about the history of the war on drugs or fully understand how it contributes to the humanitarian crisis at the United States border. While the war on drugs gained a lot of speed in the 1980s, it actually started in 1971. A top aide in President Nixon's administration has publicly admitted that the goal was to target hippies and blacks, both of whom were generally opposed to the Nixon administration.

In other words, the government's apparent panic over "reefer madness" never had anything to do with protecting America. By criminalizing the possession of widely-used drugs like heroin and marijuana and making sure that propaganda connected those drugs with hippies and blacks, it was easy to get warrants to raid the homes or businesses of community leaders and sow disruption.

By driving the drug market underground, the war on drugs also fostered the drug cartels in South America -- which now cause refugees to flee for what they hope are safer lands.

Many people feel that there is still a lot of racial bias evident in the way that people are charged and prosecuted for drug crimes. If you or your loved one are facing drug possession charges, it's important to get an experienced defender on your side.

 

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