Pubdate: Tue, 16 Sep 2014
Source: Red and Black, The (U of Georgia, GA Edu)
Copyright: 2014 The Red and Black Publishing Co., Inc.
Author: Sam Woo
Note: Sam Woo is a sophomore from Marietta majoring in business 
administration and international affairs


In a world where you can be arrested and incarcerated for being in 
possession of a harmless plant, it is time to reform our drug 
policies and rethink the war on drugs altogether.

The Global Commission on Drug Policy reported the war on drugs is 
both counter-intuitive and harmful to society. Not only is 
prohibition completely ineffective, but in many ways it only 
exacerbates the problem and has led to a wide array of social and 
health issues throughout the globe. After a half century of failure, 
it is time to stop wasting time, tax money and resources and finally 
put an end to this ridiculous war on drugs.

Drug abuse is an unfortunate side of our society. It takes innocent 
lives every year and has led to the creation of an underground drug 
market. Violent street gangs prosper at the expense of public health 
and safety. While it is obviously important to combat drug abuse, the 
public needs to realize the current war on drugs is doing the 
complete opposite.

On June 17, 1971, President Nixon declared that "America's public 
enemy No.1 in the United States is drug abuse." Not only was the man 
behind Watergate wrong in 1971, but he is still wrong in 2014. Drug 
abusers make up a fairly insignificant fraction of the population and 
there are far more pressing matters, such as healthcare, ISIS, 
poverty and food security.

Since the United States first launched its campaign to rid the 
country of all illegal substances nearly a half century ago, not a 
single thing has been accomplished-other than the fact that we have 
wasted money we do not have. According to, the U.S. 
federal government spent $15 billion in 2010 on the war on drugs; 
state and local governments spent an additional $25 billion.

The war on drugs has done much more harm to our society than good. 
Our prisons are fuller than ever, crime continues to plague our 
cities and drug addiction has remained at a steady level.

"Harsh measures grounded in repressive ideologies must be replaced by 
more humane and effective policies shaped by scientific evidence, 
public health principles and human rights standards," reports the 
Global Commission on Drug Policy.

Ever wonder why you are so horrified by a plant that has grown 
naturally on this planet for centuries? Maybe it is because that is 
how you were raised. I always find it laughable when people that 
abuse alcohol and tobacco on a weekly basis try to condemn users of 
marijuana. To be blunt, no pun intended, it is time to let go of your 
senseless fears and accept that marijuana is not the evil, 
life-altering poison that your great-aunt Helga said it was. Try 
doing some research of your own and then base your opinion off of 
scientific findings, not conservative ideologies.

If the U.S. government really wants to end drug addiction, it needs 
to focus on healing drug abusers, not incarcerating them. People have 
been abusing drugs for centuries and will likely continue to do so 
for centuries more. The problem doesn't lie in the drugs themselves; 
you never would have become addicted if you had never tried it in the 
first place. Hard drugs are not the only addictive substances out 
there and people get addicted to a wide range of things, such as 
food, pornography, drinking and even exercise. If an individual 
really wants to inject themselves with heroin or methamphetamine, 
there is nothing an anti-drug poster or a police officer can do to stop them.

Clearly, I don't have all the answers; confronting drug abuse is a 
complex problem which I don't know how to resolve. However, it is 
clear that our current drug policies are not working. It is time for 
the U.S. government to stop pretending to be a god and stay out of 
our business. No one has the right to tell you what you can and 
cannot put in your body. Though obviously it is a good idea to stay 
away from illicit drugs that can kill you, it is ultimately your choice to make.
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