Every 25 Seconds An American Is Arrested For Drugs – Maybe It’s Time To Put An End To The Failed War On Drugs
It has been 45 years, three months, and 25 days since Richard Nixon declared that America is engaged in a war on drugs. In the near half decade since his proclamation, the United States has spent more than $51 billion annually in the war on drugs, by 2010 the cost had surpassed over $1 trillion. So the drug problem in the country must assuredly be solved by now with all that money and resources being poured into it to stop it.
The war on drugs has been a failure. There are still major drug problems across this great nation. Looking at just one drug, heroin, there are more than a half a million people who used the deadly drug in 2013, up nearly 150 percent since 2007 and fatalities from heroin-related overdoses have increased by 286 percent.
But instead of treatment, the first inclination is to lock up perpetrators.
An American is arrested for drug possession or use every 25 seconds in the U.S., according to a new report released on Wednesday by the Human Rights Watch and the American Civil Liberties Union.
On any given day, 137,000 men and women are placed in jail or prison for drug charges other than trafficking, according to data in the report.
You may think that there has been massive progress in the legalization of marijuana, but there are only four states that have legalized cannabis for recreational use. There are 25 states that have legalized the use of marijuana for medical purposes. There are 17 states that have decriminalized marijuana.
Despite the recent wave of decriminalization and legalization of marijuana, more than half of the drug arrests were for possession of cannabis. Not to mention that criminalization drives users underground and creates a dangerous black market.
Because of the stringent laws, there are 1.25 million people who come into contact with the criminal justice system every year for drugs.
Having a criminal record can be a death sentence for peoples’ careers and livelihood. Besides the jail time, they are branded as a drug user and criminal which may get them fired from their job, have difficulty finding a new job, be kicked out of their housing, and have their educational opportunities taken away.