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“War on Drugs”
The Illegal Drug Problem: Effects on America and the Public Sector Response

Randy Ali
PAPA 550 Public Policy
03/02/2010

Introduction
The notion of illegal drugs and drug abuse in America has been a common motif in our history. Since the late 19th century days of industrial development, drugs in America have been a major issue and today have developed into one of the nation’s leading problems. Today in society, the government role in the illegal drug policy is stricken with the duty of eliminating drugs out of the U.S. These efforts, however, have proven to be very difficult and sometimes, nearly impossible. The critically-acclaimed “War on Drugs” has been echoed throughout the public sector of the U.S government for the past 40 years. The use of illegal drugs and OTCs (Over-the-Counter) medication affects varies departments of the public sector, spanning from the Department of Human Services to Department of Employment as well as on federal and state level of government. This problem has led to numerous legislations being passed to prevent further damage to the American public from this epidemic. In this paper, the notion of drugs in America will be broken up into parts discussing some of the problems associated with illegal drugs in Americans, the issues with regulation and policy among public policy and administration, the effects of drugs in our communities, and the government actions to fight the everlasting drug problem. Illegal Drugs in America

The drug epidemic in American has been a looming problem in today’s society since the early 1970s. During that time period, the cocaine epidemic began to casually make its way into the urban communities of major cities along the East and West coast. Eventually the drug problems spread towards the Midwest and southern regions of the United States eventually affecting every aspect of American society. Today, the illegal drug trade in America has become a black market business ranging in the billions of unaccounted-for funds. In 2003, it was estimated that the drug trade globally was approximately $321.6 billion dollar market (Pollard). The United States is the main marketplace for illegal drug distribution with contributing to around $64 billion dollars in drug trafficking sales every year after 2003 (DEA). Due to the economic stature of the U.S, the country has become a profitable marketplace for drug traffickers to make lucrative profits in our states. The most common way for illegal drugs to enter our country is through smuggling. This occurs through a complex network of drug distributors working out of countries such as Canada, Mexico, Asia, South America, etc. In the United States, drug smuggling is common along the borders of Mexico, Canada, and the coastal lines of the country. Along these borders, acts of drug-related violence in common. In recent news, Mexico says 6,300 people have been killed in “drug-related murders” since December 2006 (Hawley). Drug cartels along the borders of Canada and Mexico are areas where drug smuggling activity is at an all-time high. In a journal article discussing drug trade along the border, the main drug cartel families: The Gulf, Juarez, Sinaloa, Tijuana, and La Familial cartels, have responded to the attempted crackdown with a trail of cocaine-fueled carnage against their drug trade efforts (Danelo). The growing casualties throughout northern Mexico, south of El Paso in Chihuahua, are evidence of their actions: some would either kill or bribe officials from any organization threatening their business model (Danelo). Thousands of pounds of drugs enter our country illegally every day and are distributed to major cities. Research shows that 10,000 metric tons (22 million pounds) of marijuana have been transported into the United States in 2006 (Gettman). Once on U.S. soil, the drugs are distributed into major cities and even smaller rural communities across the United States. The type of drugs dealt in the United...
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