American Drug Policy
AKA The War on Drugs
The American Drug Policy is a social issue with many pros and cons. So many different areas are impacted daily by the laws of this policy when one tries to separate the issues and wade through the muck and mire of what, who, where, why and when, all sense of truth and reality becomes a confusing unreachable goal. Both sides of the debate have their own set of statistics that support their argument. I suppose in order to analyze this policy; one will have to approach this issue with an open unbiased mind. The problem is that because of the virtue of the drug laws, it is almost impossible to not take side or feel strongly one way or the other. As I am writing this I am listening to Drug Policy Debates on CSpan, and it is very perplexing to me the attitude of the moral majority when it comes to drug policy reform. When valid points are raised about the benefits of nonprohibition or legalization and regulation of illegal drugs, people seem to lash out and refuse to see the hard cold facts about what prohibition has created in our world. Intended Outcomes
The intended outcome of the Americas Drug Policy was to eradicate the supply and use of illegal drugs. When Nixon initiated the policies that are in place today he had high hopes and goals about eliminating the importing and sales of illegal drugs that were causing what he called our nation’s number one public enemy in 1971, drug abuse...Initially he spoke of treatment and education for drug addicts and sticker laws for deterring the suppliers. He knew the monastery costs of fighting this war could be high saying “ If we are going to have a successful offensive, we need more money. Consequently, I am asking the Congress for $155 million in new funds, which will bring the total amount this year in the budget for drug abuse, both in enforcement and treatment, to over $350 million.” (Nixon,1971). His plan involved the consolidation of nine federal organizations that at the time worked separately, in to one more effective branch of government that could use the combined resources to focus more directly on stopping the drug problem in America. He stated in his speech introducing the Intensified Program for Drug Abuse Prevention and Control on June 17, 1971 , “ With regard to this offensive, it is necessary first to have a new organization, and the new organization will be within the White House. Dr. Jaffe, who will be one of the briefers here today, will be the man directly responsible. He will report directly to me, and he will have the responsibility to take all of the Government agencies, nine, that deal with the problems of rehabilitation, in which his primary responsibilities will be research and education, and see that they work …” (Nixon, 1971). Nixon also was key in bringing the RICO Act into play helping to dissuade the organized crime element that is a direct result of prohibition of any desired item. Nixon soon lost sight of his effort to eradicate illegal drugs, when the focus of our country switched to his own criminal actions. President Ford brought mandatory minimum sentencing guideline in to the policy, with the intended outcome of deterring dealers as well as users from continued criminal involvment. (Ford,1976). With the Regan administration we saw harsher mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines as well as the Just Say No campaign that swept through our nation’s school system. This program was intended to work on prevention and at risk group intervention stopping drug use before it starts. These improvements were not without cost however, as Regan stated in his speech on October 2nd , 1982, “Since 1981, when Vice President George Bush and I took office, we have better than tripled total Federal spending for drug enforcement, prevention, and treatment. And we've requested a further 13-percent increase that will put nearly $4 billion into the Federal effort next year…” He also stated nearly identical plans as...
References: Clinton, W.J. (1997, Febuary 25). Remarks Announcing the 1997 National Drug Control Strategy and an Exchange With Reporters. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project. http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=53779.
Ford, G.R. (1976, Febuary 23) .Statement on Drug Abuse. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley,The American Presidency Project. http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=5609.
Nixon, R. (1971, June 17).Remarks About an Intensified Program for Drug Abuse Prevention and Control. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project. http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=3047.
Obama, B (2009, March 11). Interview With Regional Reporters, Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project. http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=85870.
Reagan, R. (1982, October 2) .Radio Address to the Nation on Federal Drug Policy .Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project. http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=43085.
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