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9 Important Pros and Cons of the War on Drugs

Drug trafficking is a global problem, an illicit trade that involves the manufacture, cultivation, distribution and sale of prohibited substances. While every nation in the world works hard to fight against drugs, drug trade is still a booming business. The dynamics of drug trafficking is simply incredible in the sense that consumption and distribution continues to rise even with continuous efforts to curb drug-related crimes and offenses.

War On Drugs Overview

In a bid to reduce the illegal drug trade, a campaign of drug prohibition, military intervention, and military aid was established. It includes effective drug policies that are designed to discourage distribution, consumption, and production of psychoactive drugs that were made illegal by the UN and participating governments.

While declaring war on drugs seems to be logical, opponents think it might be a waste of time and resources. Some claim that criminal acts are a consequence of drugs being declared illegal. Because people can’t acquire these substances through official channels, they will resort to illegal production, distribution and consumption.

List of Pros of War on Drugs

1. Deter or lessen drug-related crimes.
When drug addicts will not have easy access to illegal substances, they will not experience the highs or hallucinations that will drive them to commit crimes. They wouldn’t need to steal either so they can buy drugs. Put simply, without the pushers there will be little to no users.

2. Culprits will be penalized
Included in the policies of war on drugs is the penalty that will be afforded to manufacturers, distributors and users of illegal drugs. The level of punishment that will be imposed depends on the gravity of the crime. Knowing that there are consequences to be paid will make people think twice before embroiling in any stage of the illegal drug trade.

3. Helps create a place that is drug free
A drug-free area or community may seem impossible given the present situation, but it is achievable as long as everyone does their share in the fight against drugs. War on drugs should not only involve the government and local authorities, but also friends and family of drug users or sellers.

List of Cons of War on Drugs

1. Widespread corruption
Watch any drug-related movies and you’ll see that the people who introduced and imposed the war on drugs are the same people who could be peddling the illegal substances. Political analyst also see a projected increase in corruption within the government because of the funds that will be allocated to control drug abuse. What are the odds that these funds will be used for personal gain?

2. Provides a smokescreen to hide the real problem behind drug abuse
A majority of the population that are easily lured into drug dealing are those within and below the poverty line. People who have no hope of achieving very much because of their circumstances would resort to drug dealing where knowledge and skills are not required in their resume. They also see it as a way to make something of themselves, and to have the resources to fund their own drug habits. Would it not be better when the billions allocated for anti-drug campaigns are used to help improve the lives of these individual? For the last 40 years, an estimated $1 trillion was funneled to the war on drugs. Taxpayers are paying big for a war that is showing no signs of being victorious any time soon. In fact, the flow of drugs into the United States are increasing year after year.

Perhaps everyone would turn out to be good citizens if they are provided with all the basic necessities to help them achieve their dreams. Viewed this way, the war on drugs is nothing more than a nasty and vindictive smoke screen.

3. Increases risk on the lives of policeman and military
Missions against drug lords is no joke, considering that they too have their own army that has no care about the lives that will be lost during a shootout or drug bust operation. What do policemen have against assassins and mercenaries? Not to belittle the skills and capacity of law enforcement, but a mission against drug pushers and manufacturers are increasingly worse. The safety risks on the lives of many policemen are also very high. Friends and family of these brave men and women would be very unhappy if something happened to them.

4. Increase racial tension
The soaring arrest because of the war on drugs disproportionately targeted African Americans, according to the Human Rights Watch. From 1995 through 2000, the US Department of Justice reported that’s arrest for drug offenses rose by 126%, which also “accounted for 27% of the total growth among black inmates, 7% the total growth among Hispanic inmates, and 15% of the growth among white inmates”. In 2008, the Washington Post also reported that one in five black Americans are behind bars because of drug-related laws.

5. Disparity on sentencing
Opponents complain that sentencing in drug-related crimes have major flaws. There is a huge problem in the sentencing between possessions or trafficking of powder cocaine and crack. For example, those convicted for possession of 5 grams of crack and those in possession of 500 grams of powder cocaine basically have the same punishment – minimum mandatory sentence of being incarcerated in a federal prison for 5 years. Judging from the differences of the drugs in question, sentencing is definitely unfair.

Moreover, the ruling is perceived as discriminatory against minorities, because blacks, Hispanics and other races are likely to use crack than cocaine. Does this mean that white people go free for as long as they are not in possession of 500 grams of coke?

6. Never-ending chain reaction
One man incarcerated for drug abuse or drug-related crimes is likely to have children who are growing up without a father. Statistics show how this can have a bad effect on the little ones. If they are in the same situation as their father before them, they could end up drug users or sellers as well, whichever comes first. So the cycle just goes on and on. It will be a never-ending ride of history repeating itself.