Drug War

Best Essays
Daniel Schifrin
APCP Research Paper
Period 8

Drug Policy: A Look at America’s Ineffective Approach to Drugs

Introduction In January 2004, senatorial candidate Barack Obama firmly opposed the twenty two-year war on drugs, saying that the United States’ approach in the drug war has been ineffective (Debussman). Although the term, “war on drugs,” was originally coined by President Richard Nixon in 1971, it wasn’t until Ronald Reagan announced that “drugs were menacing society” that it became a major policy goal to stop widespread use. Following Reagan’s promises to fight for drug-free schools and workplaces, the United States boosted its efforts in its most recent declaration of war. Thirty years later, at the Summit of the Americas, President Obama staunchly opposed the legalization of drugs in a classic political flip-flop, claiming that unregulated use of drugs would be more corrupt than the status quo (“Blunt Talk”). The president’s view is naïve and inaccurate. The legalization of drugs is the most effective way to decrease corruption and violence in Latin America. Legalization would result in less crime across the region, less money for drug cartels, and significantly reduced corruption in Latin American governments. Background Since Reagan’s declaration, the war on drugs has been a dismal failure. The New York Times book review quantifies the extent of the war’s failed approach, saying that it is hard to think of a single lasting accomplishment. (Guillermoprieto). Eradication efforts have worked against what the war intended to do, and have actually increased drug production in Latin American countries. Although Columbia spends six percent of its annual GNP on drug eradication (Guillermoprieto), the amount of land devoted to growing coca in Bolivia, Colombia, and Peru has risen to more than 700 square miles. These are the highest levels of cultivation since 2001. (“Coca”).



Cited: Andreas, Peter. "Profits, Poverty and Illegality: The Logic of Drug Corruption." Business Information, News, and Reports. 1 Nov. 1993. Web. 24 May 2012. . "Blunt Talk." The Economist. The Economist Newspaper, 16 Apr. 2012. Web. 17 May 2012. . Bronsther, Jacob. "Guns, Drugs, and La Barbie: Why America Is Responsible for Mexican Drug Cartels." The Christian Science Monitor. The Christian Science Monitor, 02 Sept. 2010. Web. 17 May 2012. . "Burn-out and Battle Fatigue." The Economist. The Economist Newspaper, 17 Mar. 2012. Web. 17 May 2012. . Carpenter, Ted Galen. Bad Neighbor Policy: Washington 's Futile War on Drugs in Latin America. New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2003. Print. Debusmann, Bernd. "Obama and the Failed War on Drugs: Bernd Debusmann." Reuters. Thomson Reuters, 16 Apr. 2012. Web. 17 May 2012. . Doward, Jamie. " 'War on Drugs ' Has Failed, Say Latin American Leaders." The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, 07 Apr. 2012. Web. 17 May 2012. . Ellingwood, Ken, and Tracy Wilkinson March 15. "Drug Cartels ' New Weaponry Means War." Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times, 15 Mar. 2009. Web. 29 May 2012. . Kenny, Charles. "Kenny: The Failed War on Drugs." Newsday. 17 Apr. 2012. Web. 17 May 2012. . Leff, Alex. "SALON." Latin America 's Drug War Evolution. 16 Apr. 2012. Web. 17 May 2012. . Leff, Alex. "Should Latin America Legalize Drugs?" CNN. 16 Apr. 2012. Web. 17 May 2012. . "Mexico Drugs War: Corruption Grows on US Border." BBC News. BBC, 06 Oct. 2011. Web. 17 May 2012. . Miron, Jeffrey A. "Commentary: Legalize Drugs to Stop Violence." CNN. 24 Mar. 2009. Web. 17 May 2012. . "The New York Review of Books." An End to the War on Drugs? by Alma Guillermoprieto. 12 Apr. 2012. Web. 17 May 2012. . O 'Connor, Anne-Marie. "Hillary Clinton Urges Latin America to Fight Drug Corruption." Washington Post. The Washington Post, 06 Mar. 2010. Web. 17 May 2012. . Wood, Ethel. AP Comparative Government and Politics: An Essential Coursebook and Study Guide. 5th ed. Reading: Woodyard Publications, 2011. Print.

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