The Left/Right Challenge to the Failed "War on Drugs"
Publisher: Dissident Voice
Date Written: 24/05/2017
Year Published: 2017
Resource Type: Article
Cx Number: CX20848
More and more conservatives and liberals, from the halls of Congress to people in communities across the country, are agreeing that the so-called "war on drugs" needs serious rethinking.
The argument to criminalize "street drugs", and severely punish their sellers and users, is largely based on the assumption that a "tough on crime" approach will reduce addiction and abuse of these dangerous substances. Criminalizing drug use consistently fails to address the health problems of addiction, and drives the drug trade underground where crime, violence and death flourish.
Our country learned this hard lesson firsthand when it prohibited the production and sale of alcoholic beverages in 1920 through the 18th Amendment to the Constitution. That led to an underworld of organized crime and illegal undercover stills making "moonshine", whose victims could hardly go for medical treatment. Considered a failure, the amendment was repealed in 1933 with the 21st Amendment.
This national experiment with prohibition verified the wise observation of the famous dean of the Harvard Law School, Roscoe Pound, who said that there were certain human behaviors that are beyond "the effective limits of legal action." In short, the law couldn't stop the addicting alcohol business; it could only drive it underground.