War on Drugs

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Matthew Reich
ENC1101
Louvar
17 April 2013

According to the National Survey of Drug Use and Health data, in 2008, 20 million people in the United States of America ages 12 and up used an illicit drug. (Walker 305) 20 million is a high number and being that the age level went all the way down to 12 years old is frightening. Marijuana is the main source of drug use weighing in at 15.2 million users (76 percent of the total number of users taken in the National Survey of Drug Use and Health) in 2008. (Walker 305) Cocaine comes in second place weighing in at 1.9 million users (9.5 percent of the total number of users taken in the National Survey of Drug Use and Health) in 2008 and heroin comes next with 200,000 users (1 percent of the total number of users taken in the National Survey of Drug Use and Health) in 2008. (Walker 305) The remaining 2.7 million or 12.5 percent of users come from other drugs such as hallucinogens, methamphetamines, inhalants, prescription drug abuse, etc. (National Survey of Drug Use and Health Archive) Being that there are so many drugs out on the street and proof that people are using them, there have to been crimes that are connected with drugs, right? The Federal Bureau of Investigation reported in 2006 there were 1,379,887 drug arrests made in the United States of America. 50 percent of members in federal prison are drug offenders and 35 percent of the population in state prisons constitutes drug offenders. (Gaines and Kappeler 475) Drugs alter one’s state of mind so it is reasonable to say that people are likely to make bad choices and big mistakes while on different drugs. According to the Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring Program, in 1997 55.3 percent of people arrested in the United States of America have some sort of drug in their system when they are arrested, the most common drug found in their system being cocaine followed by marijuana, then opiates. (Gaines and Kappeler 475) The Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring Program in 1997 obtained its data by collecting urine samples obtained voluntarily from prisoners in 40 major cities across the country. (Gaines and Kappeler 475) In 2003 the Justice Department terminated the Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring Program but reinstated it as Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring Program II in 2006. This time, instead of used 40 major cities across the United States of America, only 10 cities were used to collect the data. This time, in 2008 in Minneapolis, 47.8 percent of arrestees tested positive for marijuana and 22.5 percent tested positive for cocaine. Also, in Atlanta, 31.8 percent of arrestees tested positive for marijuana and 40.5 percent tested positive for cocaine. (Walker 306) Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring Program II was more focused on an important particular group in regards to drugs and crime rather than being representative of the entire country. (Walker 306) With all of the data shown, it is obvious that drugs are a problem in America. There has been a fight against drugs ever since the end of the Civil War (Gaines and Kappeler 475). It continued after World War I and again in the 1950s when many new laws were passed to try to deal with the drug problem. (Gaines and Kappeler 475) In 1912, nations were enacting international agreements to prohibit certain types of drugs. For example, the International Opium Convention was signed at The Hague, the Netherlands in 1912. (Roberson and Wallace 275) In 1969, President Nixon officially declared a “war” on drugs.

According to Walker (2008):
The 2009 National Drug Control Strategy included a mix of prevention, treatment, and law enforcement. Prevention efforts include a national media campaign, drug testing in schools, and supporting collaborative Drug Free Community efforts…Treatment efforts include drug courts…Finally, law enforcement efforts emphasize disrupting drug markets, including the production of drugs here in the U.S. and the importation of...
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