We will not gain the upper hand in the war against drugs until we shift the focus of our efforts from a supply-side battle in distant corners of the world to a demand-side battle at home. Victory will only come if we reduce the demand for drugs through stronger legal sanctions, education, treatment, and a radical change in community values. The current drug culture has its roots in the permissive attitudes of the 1960s, which glorified the use of both marijuana and hard drugs, and in the condoning of the “casual” use of drugs today. Unless we reach children early with knowledge of the consequences of drug use, and unless we reverse the tolerance and even glamorizing of drug use in the popular culture of Hollywood and the rest of the entertainment industry, we will stand no chance of winning the war on drugs.
The above quote is significant for that fact that former president Richard Nixon was the first United States president to use the term “War on Drugs.” With this utterance a new era in criminal justice began that shifted a great deal of focus to attacking a multi-pronged social issue from the stance of law enforcement, the courts, and prisons. This week, you consider the War on Drugs and whether or not it has been successful.
Many early examples of attempts to eradicate drugs exist such as the Chinese opium laws, the Marijuana Tax Act, and Prohibition. In the last century, certain policies were re-implemented that history had already demonstrated were unable to achieve the desired effect.
It could be argued that the War on Drugs of the 1980s has had the single greatest effect on the American criminal justice system. These policies arguably had a greater impact on the social, political, and economic criminal justice reality in the name of deterrence and rehabilitation. For this Discussion, you examine unintended consequences of the War on Drugs and whether or not society has benefited from this war.
Post by Day 3: Explain two unintended consequences of the War on Drugs. Explain whether or not you believe society has benefited from the War on Drugs and why. What are the potential international implications of the War on Drugs? Describe the necessary strategies to remedy these issues.
- Jones M., & Johnstone, P. (2011). History of Criminal Justice. (5th ed.) New York, NY. Routledge.
- Chapter 18, “Law Enforcement Professionalism and the Establishment of a Criminal Justice System” (pp. 316-336)
- Reiman, J., & Leighton, P. (2017). The rich get richer and the poor get prison: Ideology, class, and criminal justice (11th ed.). New York, NY: Routledge.
- Introduction, “Criminal Justice Through the Looking Glass, or Winning by Losing” (pp.1–10)
- Chapter 1, “Crime Control in America: Nothing Succeeds Like Failure” (pp. 11–63)