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The War on Drugs

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The War on Drugs

After reading this week’s required text, please respond to the following:

  1. In your opinion, what have been among the main outcomes of the War on Drugs?
  2. How close has it come to its original goals of reducing drug use and punishing drug suppliers?
  3. How has this “war” impacted African-American males?
  4. How has this "war" impacted immigration policy?
  5. How will this "war" end?

In 1972 President Richard Nixon declared a “War on Drugs”. According to our text, the drug policy in America would be “first and foremost a law enforcement and criminal justice system issue, and secondarily an issue of public health” (Collica & Furst, 2012, Sec 4.3). In my opinion, one of the main outcomes of the War on Drugs is the criminal justice system being tougher on crime. The change in policy increased the number of drug offenders, making our streets safer. The unfortunate thing is once they have been removed from the streets, they are likely to be incarcerated multiple times. Experts feel that this increase in incarceration was a result of the War on Drugs and was not because of an increase in drug use or drug crime.

Impact on African-American males

There has been an ongoing debate about the “War on Drugs” and the discriminatory impacts it has. Punitive drug policies have not affected all groups equally. There is an overrepresentation of racial minorities in the criminal justice system. It is said that African Americans and Whites use illegal drugs at a similar rate but Blacks and Hispanics make up 65% of drug offenders in prison. Our text goes on to state that people of color “are far more likely to be arrested and eventually incarcerated for drug crime” (Collica & Furst, 2012, Sec 4.3). The “War on Drugs” discriminates against racial minorities.

Impact on immigration policy

It is said that increased immigration decreases crime in America. Our text states immigration increases tend to contribute “to social-structural dynamics that decrease crime such as “traditional family values, higher rates of marriage, and extended family supports that construct ethnic enclaves of stability within these communities” (Collica & Furst, 2012, Sec 4.4). Some of you may have heard of the Postville, Iowa raid on an Agriprocessors plant. It was the largest crackdown on illegal workers in one site. 389 immigrants were arrested. The reason I bring this up is because I live about three hours from there. Every year we pass through this town on our way to a family reunion. Prior to this raid, it was much like any other small town. You could tell it was predominately Hispanics. After the raid, it has become much like a ghost town and you can see the effects. Immigration laws need to be enforced equally against the employers and employees that break the law.

How will this “war” end?

I do not think anyone knows how this “war” will end. There are obviously areas that need improvement starting with the overrepresentation of racial minorities. I do think that harsher punishments need to be enforced and maybe this will reduce the likelihood of repeat offenders.

Collica, K. & Furst, G. (2012). Crime & society. San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education, Inc

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