Legal & Policy Challenges

Stop the "War on Drugs"

The “War on Drugs” is a war on us, the American people. 30% of Americans use or have used illicit drugs. Those who are prosecuted and imprisoned, however, are by far and away the poor, the disabled, the disenfranchised, the Black and Hispanic, the men in our communities, who cannot parent their children because they are in prison, who will be denied forever the right to vote because they went to prison. The last President of the United States never denied that he used illegal drugs. Hard drugs. Was he prosecuted? Of course not. Was he imprisoned? Don’t be silly. Was he denied the right to vote, or to contribute to society? Was he denied the ability to raise his children? Of course not. Has the “War on Drugs” created a “drug-free” society? No. Has it kept drugs from the reach of our youngsters? Not remotely. Drugs are everywhere, as available as they have ever been. It has, however, created a society in which young Black men in America are far more likely to go to prison than to college. A society in which drugs and violence are on every corner. In which the police are powerless to do their job and have declared war on our communities and our children as a consequence. IN WHICH OUR CHILDREN HAVE MORE TO FEAR FROM THE POLICE THAN FROM GANGS AND DRUG DEALERS. The “War on Drugs” is killing us. The “War on Drugs” is a war on us. STOP THE WAR ON DRUGS.


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Similar Ideas [ 4 ]


  1. Comment

    If drugs are 'moderately legalized' someday (like alcohol ultimately was, and indeed drugs used to be sold over the counter) they could be better controlled and many cartels would collapse. It won't stop all abuse but there would be no 'war'. Instead there would be taxes coming in for rehab and a much greater knowledge and control of the drug trade routes.

  2. Comment

    Illicit drugs affect not only the user but all the family members and the community as a whole. I am watching a relative's family being destroyed emotionally and financially became of one user in the family. The War on Drugs does not exist. Illicit drugs are pervasive and I feel government knows where and who is bringing it in and where it is being sold, but it is not stopping it. The financial burden on our society is enormous from this lost "War." Worst, there is no ongoing support to help a user from stopping.

  3. Comment

    It is important to distinguish between drugs and the disease of addiction. It is analogous to the gun argument that guns don't kill, people who use them do. Removing familiar drugs from society will not prevent addiction, just as removing guns will not prevent violent crimes.

    People prone to addiction will get new kinds of drugs, alcohol, tobacco or sniff glue-whatever it takes-because they have a physical propensity for addiction plus have psychological issues that need to be addressed. Recovery universally is driven by addressing these issues. Addiction occurs in society because it is an illness or disease and it naturally occurs in all human populations. Were there no murders before guns? Before knives? Before poison? Before fists? Very dangerous drugs need to be illegal and people need education. All other drugs should be legal, but available on a restricted manner and taxed to provide money to treat addicts, much like the gambling industry.

  4. Comment

    Pokechop: I’ve aware of and have read everything you commented on before. The reality is a whole different story. If the War on Drugs was effective, then in 2009 families would not be torn apart by illicit or legal intoxicants. You, us, society are paying a terrible price for the reality of all drug abuse plus illicit drugs fuels an enormous underground economy that results in crime both petty and vicious. What would your response be if you saw members of your extended family or good friends falling into an abyss as a direct result of a family member that was introduced to drugs right in their own neighborhood. Would you be angry that tax dollars and programs make no difference? Would you be angry if you saw in the news that the brother of a neighbor was executed in his own shop because he stood up to drug sellers? Would you be angry that people are sold so many alcoholic drinks that they stumble into the lake and drown? I am.

  5. Comment

    op808: I hope you didn't think I support the war on drugs. I do not, because it does not work. I support legalization of marijuana, since it has some benefits and very few risks as compared to tobacco, alcohol or other street drugs. Marijuana should be sold in a controlled manner or grown by registered users who pay a fee. This money then could be used to fund recovery and education programs for addicts of all other drugs and to educate the public as to the dangers of drug use. We already use taxes on alcohol, tobacco and gambling in this manner, with positive results. A large part of the money wasted in the war on drugs is related to the criminalization of marijuana. It is not realistic to consider marijuana in the same way as cocaine, meth, crack, heroin or PCP. These drugs can kill in a single use, and lead much more quickly to serious addiction and death. They should never be available for public use without direct supervision by a doctor. I do not believe the government is allowing the fight to fail, either. It is impossible to control the flow of drugs because there is so much money involved for the criminals that they will always find a way to get around any law enforcement. And heck yeah, I'm angry about my tax dollars being wasted! Why not tax the drug users for there own treatment and put our tax dollars to use doing something else! Finally, I'm sorry to hear your life has been touched by addiction and violence. Addicts need medical treatment and sobriety, and murderers need to be in jail forever. It is already illegal to serve any severely drunk person alcohol in a bar. If someone gets so drunk as to fall in a lake and drown, there are other problems in play than the bartender that served them. Any adult getting that drunk has a drinking problem, and unfortunately many do not get the help they need in time. I have seen this first hand in my own life. People don't need drugs, alcohol, tobacco, casinos or guns to have a good life, but part if liberty and freedom involve the right to decide for ourselves and bear the responsibility for the outcome.

  6. Comment

    I'm not going to promise it will cure the economy.

    The idea that congress represents parents of adult US citizens by forbidding behaviors they do not approve is repugnant to liberty, and in error of the fundamental design of our nation.

    I want more than decriminalizing, I expect and deserve an apology for this arrogant trespass on my personal autonomy and its interference in affairs that are not of proper interest to congress.

    I am not a child. I do not seek their approval. I do not consider them qualified to decide for me. No vote gives them that right. It is not government's domain.

    This teaches contempt for the law, and rightly so.

  7. Comment

    Those that abuse drugs both legal (i.e., alcohol) and illegal (i.e., heroin) think they have the right to use whatever they want and claim they will be responsible for the consequences. The reality is that users are high and don’t know nor remember what they are doing and the consequences to family, friends and the public are all too often horrifying. As I commented earlier, a neighbor’s brother was executed in his own shop in a large metropolitan city because he wouldn’t allow the selling of drugs in his building. Will the drug seller (and his customers, who are just as guilty) who executed him pay support for the orphaned child this person left behind? Will he pay for the funeral? Will he pay for the child’s education? Will you be paying? Yes. You will, because now there is one less person paying his full share. You will be paying for all the taxes needed for the costs of police investigation, the housing of this criminal, the attorney he will be provided with, the court costs and then keeping this drug seller in jail for the rest of his life and then you will pay to have him buried.

    If drug users have a right to use drugs in any amount they want, then they also have a duty to cause no harm to anyone else. Drug abusers have the duty of having sufficient funds to pay for their hospital care and/or funeral costs as well as an estate to cover the costs of raising any children and any harm caused to anyone else by their actions while high.

    Thomas Paine strongly advocated rights, he also states that duty comes with rights.

  8. Comment

    This year, Senator Jim Webb from Virginia introduced S.714, the National Criminal Justice Commission Act to establish a commission whose purpose would be to

    "undertake a comprehensive review of the criminal justice system, make findings related to current Federal and State criminal justice policies and practices, and make reform recommendations for the President, Congress, and State governments to improve public safety, cost-effectiveness, overall prison administration, and fairness in the implementation of the Nation's criminal justice system"

    We spend billions of dollars every year on a "system" that hasn't really done anything to reduce crime. Our current policy of lock 'em up simply creates a vicious cycle of incarceration, poverty, and ultimately, more crime.

    Support for drug policy reform is growing, but the public still believes in the old hype about marijuana being the "gateway drug", and all the other reefer madness nonsense despite mounting evidence to the contrary.

    So, to the folks on Capitol Hill, Mr. President, et al;

    Let's take this seriously. Let's entertain the possibility that maybe we were all wrong. Maybe we got caught up in a moment of panic, made some hasty decisions that we thought were in the best interest of the nation, and maybe things haven't exactly worked out the way we hoped they would.

    It wouldn't be the first time it's happened. Hey, we all make mistakes.

    What we should do next is admit that something isn't working. That's the first step. Don't laugh it off, because it isn't funny.

    Then we need to take a serious look at what's going on in our criminal justice system and figure out what needs to change.

    We may not get it right at first, but I think that if we make it a priority and at least make an effort towards reform then we'll be much better off than if we do nothing.

  9. Comment

    We do have the right to consume drugs. The crime here is government intervention in personal space, improper punishment, confiscation, and imprisonment.

    We already have laws against harming others.

    Vice is not crime.

  10. Comment

    It all comes down to self ownership, our bodies are our property, our bodies (and our income) are NOT owned by government, as our property we have the full Constitutional Right to ingest whatever we please, and to decorate or treat or use our own bodies however we please, as long as what we do does NOT interfere with the rights of others to do what they want with their bodies.

  11. Comment

    With rights comes duties/responsibilities; this country was founded on rights and duties. With the right to put anything in your own body comes the responsibility to not cause harm to anyone else while you are not in control of your actions. The laws and the War on Drugs came about as a response to those of us who have experienced first hand the consequences of lack of responsibility for one’s actions while not in control because of any number of drugs.

    Living in a large metropolitan means news reports of children killed by drunk drivers, children caught in gun cross fire because of drug turf wars, the number of babies born with heroin in their system and are so common–they don’t always make a personal impact.

    But, perhaps those who would chose to put anything in their bodies might feel differently the first time they grieve with the parents of a 13-year-old that hung himself while high on a legal substance or the parents whose teenager was found among the garbage cans in an alley–dropped off there by his “friends,” after he overdosed. You become appreciative of the skill of a funeral home in covering up ligature marks on a neck or a bruised face.

    Perhaps you will grieve for the teenager whose father was executed for keeping drugs out of his building because you know she will never have her father at her side when she graduates from high school, college or on her wedding day. Those who bought from the drug dealer were accessories to the tragedy of this young woman. The buyers felt they had the right to buy and the drug dealer felt he had the right to sell and kill. The only rights they were concerned with were their own. The store owner’s child is an orphan–so what, I have a right to buy or sell or kill.

    Maybe you will be angry when you see first hand the consequences of continued use of heroin in your extended family, especially when the user’s money has run out and the resulting hell for the user’s family. Will you also be angry when you know that a seller felt he/she had the right to introduce this individual to drugs as a teenager?

    Individuals do have rights and choices–what they choose to do with them can make a society better. Think of what could be accomplished if everyone stopped using illegal drugs for a year. Think of what could be accomplished with the redirection of money and personal energy to make our country better. Are you up to the challenge to take your rights in a new direction?

  12. Comment

    Legalize and decriminalize!

    Allowing the Government to control growth and distribution of Marijuana will do numerous things to help our culture and economy.

    1) Marijuana has never been known to be a problem drug for users and people near them.

    A) Marijuana users are not prone to using violence to solve disputes with other users or non-users.

    B) Marijuana users are not aggressive drivers, and are usually very cautious, unlike alcohol users.

    C) Marijuana users are seldom involved in

    criminal activities while using the drug.

    2) Government distribution of Marijuana is good for the economy.

    A) Taxes on marijuana use will contribute tens of millions of dollars in taxes, maybe more.

    B) Tax dollars will no longer be needed to fight the illicit marijuana drug trade.

    C) The American Court system will be relieved of a great financial and case load burden through legalization.

    D) American law enforcement will be able to use their funds and resources to address more serious issues of crime.

    3) Improvement in health issues.

    A) Users of marijuana for health issues will have a reduction in costs for the product, allowing them to use their resources for other aspects of health recovery.

    B) Consistency of the strength of marijuana products will be greatly improved, thus allowing health users a more predictable result.

    C) Elimination of stress for "illicit" users of marijuana for medical purposes. Users will no longer fear being jailed for using marijuana to settle their stomach after chemo, or increase their appetite when disease has taken it away.

    4) Marijuana by-products will be more available and scientific discoveries more frequent.

    A) Fiber for paper and textiles can be provided by the farms that grow marijuana.

    B) Oils from the rendering of plant fibers can be used for a myriad purposes including fuel, cooking and cosmetics.

    C) Derivatives may include control of glaucoma, a serious eye problem that causes blindness.

    As a non-user of marijuana, I see many more benefits than problems that will come about when the government takes control of this product. When marijuana and other drugs are controlled by government, fewer crimes will be committed in order to acquire the substances. Our society will be a much better place because of it. Government as an Ideal, should foster the personal and collective growth of it's members, not seek to punish them for their every transgression.

  13. Comment

    The one thing I can't seem to convince people of is the fact that prohibition is in complete violation of the Constitution. The 9th Amendment forbids such meddling. The government knows this, that's why they ignore the 9th Amendment.

    They do not just interpret it differently, as in the manipulation around the 2nd amendment, they ignore it.

    There is no obligation to justify why we want autonomy and respect for our natural rights. Our whole nation was founded on concepts like that.

    It is government's job to support the constitution, not violate it.

    They are violating it.

    They need to be held accountable, not us. Them. They are in the wrong.

    We have no obligation to respect, or obey a crime against the people.

    If government does not correct this error, we have no obligation to it whatsoever, including taxes.

  14. Comment

    George Soros paid a lot to get Obama elected. George Soros has the money to make himself the leading dealer of mind altering drugs - if drugs are legalized.

    Legalizing drugs would be a nice payback to George Soros for the money and help he gave to get Obama elected.

  15. Comment

    This post is popular but not nearly as popular as the posts asking for Obama to make his birth certificate, college record, health records and the like available.

    Count Birth Certificate comments here and you will get over 7,000 But, this site has been rigged so that the posts asking for Obama to support transparency by providing his own birth certificate, health records and college records are not properly counted, even when they do not get deleted. All of the multiple posts would not need to exist if the honest reporting of this site showed the number one request here is for Obama to release his records.

    I have done a personal count of more than 1,000 requests for his birth certificate. My analysis suggests there have been at least 7,000 request for Obama to produce his real birth certificate, college records, health records and other financial records.

    It is possible to review this site to find the most requested ideas by scanning "Top Rated" posts, but the requests for Obama's records do not show up as being top rated. Those runnig this site are cooking the results. If the results were honest people would be able to continue to vote on a single post asking for transparency of Obama's records.

    According to the liars running this website the most requested item has NOT been Obama's birth certificate.

    (My email is - inlcude your email address if you want me to reply to you)

  16. Comment

    As to:

    Executive branch commanding the legislative branch...

    That is the argument used to disregard the popular demand for ending the war on drugs.

    It is diversionary. Health care is also in the hands of the legislature, the administration has no problem involving itself there.

    So was the bailout. Administration made demand after demand on legislature.

    When it is a policy the administration wants, it is called leadership.

    When it is a policy the administration does not want to touch it is called legislative territory.

    We do not have to accept and be bound by the parameters of that game.

  17. Comment

    If it weren't for the drug education programs in my elementary school, I have little doubt that I would have ended up as an addict. I am not the only one. I don't care if you call it "the war on drugs" or not, but don't stop drug education. There are lives that have been saved because of it.

    And legalizing drugs won't do any good. If I'm making millions of dollars selling cocaine illegally, why in the world would I "register" with the government and let me profits be taxed? Legalizing drugs won't stop illegal trafficking and it won't increase tax revenue. If you try to "make" people pay the tax, you'll just end up spending all the money you were "saving" on enforcement.

  18. Comment

    Sure- some drugs currently classified as illegal should be decriminalized (e.g. marijuana). However, some of the harder and more pernicious drugs do more than just damage the user. As soon as another's drug use infringes on the freedoms and safety of others, it is the government's duty to protect those people. For example, I do not want a meth lab down the street or in the apartment next door (risk of explosion and the 7 pounds of carcigenic and dangerous toxins released into the air for every 1 pound of meth created). Meth, definitely one of the harder drugs, is horrific in almost every way imaginable. In my county, the vast majority of child abuse cases stem from parents who are meth users. To make this horrific drug even more prevalent is appauling and threatens the health of our society.

  19. Comment
    yeti descendant

    "Prohibition will work great injury to the cause of temperance. It is a species of intemperance within itself, for it goes beyond the bounds of reason in that it attempts to control a man's appetite by legislation, and makes a crime out of things that are not crimes. A Prohibition law strikes a blow at the very principles upon which our government was founded."

    Abraham Lincoln (1809-65), U.S. President.

    Speech, 18 Dec. 1840, to Illinois House of Representatives

  20. Comment

    a.klassycat, that is why manufactured drugs should be regulated either via the alcohol model or th prescription model. When "speed" was available which was pharmacy made there were no meth labs. Restricting the prescribing of drugs like biphetamine 20s (known back then as "black beauties") is what led to the meth labs. People were determined to get that speed high and so they began manufacturing their own (like bathtub gin and moonshine during prohibition 1.0 and the meth they create is frequently as dangerous and deadly as those two forms of alcohol were during prohibition -- you've heard the tales of blindness and deaths from imbibing those homemade forms of alcohol) But the pharmaceutical versions, because they were free of impurities and dosage controlled, didn't cause any problems to the casual user. Regulation and commercial production is the only answer for those kinds of drugs.

  21. Comment

    What do you think the chances of this passing are...with Pharmaceutical being some of the biggest donors in washington? We need public financing of campaigns. None of this other stuff happens without it.



    We must have public financing of campaigns. I know you think you don't want to pay for it...but you already ARE!

    You pay hundreds and thousands of times what you would if the politicians actually answered to you and not greedy corporate criminals. You pay thousands of times more in a CORRUPTION SURCHARGE!


    Every no bid contract, every unpaid royalty on an oil lease, every blocked piece of legislation, every blocked investigation, every effort to get healthcare for all, every blocked attempt for a living wage, every needless nuclear warhead that will never be used, every mountaintop removal mining permit OK’d, every case of cancer caused by lax environmental rules or enforcement, every prison built instead of a school...YOU PAY AND PAY AND PAY!

    And to add insult to injury, where do corporations get the money they give politicians in order to insure they can roll right over you whenever they want? FROM YOU! The cost of these payoffs is passed on to YOU the consumer!


    Whatever you think is the most important issue facing the country…forget about it. It’s going to be decided in favor of those in power. It will be watered down in favor of those who finance campaigns and control corporate media sources.

    You think the health care debate is going to come out in your favor or Pfizer’s? You think we are really going to cut military spending when more than half of the military budget for the entire world is being lavished on some of the biggest campaign contributors there are? How about Bank reform? Wall Street? Big Pharma? Iraq? The environment? Just exactly how do you see any of that working out in your favor in our current system?

    Our system is broken. Our government does not work for the people. It works for – or in fear of – people who can spend a lot of money, access a lot of media, or have a lot of power in society.


    What people don’t understand is that it is not necessary to buy off the whole government in order for corporate, big money interests to get its way…every time. You merely need to control either the moderates and/or the committee heads in order to assure that whatever compromise is reached it will ALWAYS benefit BIG MONEY!

    In Congress, you have partisans on either side, in safe districts, with entrenched interests who won’t compromise and are at no risk of being voted out.

    Then you have the folks in the purple districts. They could get the ax anytime. Their elections could come down to which candidate has a few thousand more to spend. If Big Money goes their way they stay, if it goes to their opponent they are out.

    These are the people you count on to forge the compromise between the two extremes and these are the very people who are most vulnerable to big money coming in hard and heavy against them.


    The current system assures that any compromise between the partisan extremes will be concluded in favor of big money. Even the most conscientious moderate politician in a contested state MUST cater to big money or they will not stay in congress.


    Do you wonder what has happened to democrats in congress over the last 8 years…the spinelessness and cowardice evidenced by these people?

    This is the result of what happens to an organization over time when anyone who fights big money gets weeded out…even if it’s only one or two per election. Eventually you are left with …well, what we have now…a bunch of corporate lap dogs.

  22. Comment

    While I would agree the War on Drugs is a socially catastrophic, poorly aimed instrument of dubious social value, it is not so clear that ending it would add to government coffers via taxation - seeing how drug pricing is higher when drugs are illegal, there is less market competition, and that the biggest dealers are in (or in partnership with parts of) the US government, the big banks and some very large corporations. If somehow you've missed the main stream media coverage of this (!) just Google "Narco-Dollars For Beginners How The Money Works In The Illicit Drug Trade" by Catherine Austin Fitts for an illuminating, very informed expose.

  23. Comment


    A government of the masses.

    Authority derived through mass meeting or any other form of "direct" expression.

    Results in mobocracy.

    Attitude toward property is comunistic-negating property rights.

    Attitude toward law is that the will of the majority shall regulate. whether it be based upon deliberation or governed by passion, prejudice, and impulse, without restraint or regard to consequences.

    Results in demagogism license, agitation, discontent, anarchy.

    Democracy is the "direct" rule of the people and has been repeatedly tried without success.

    A certain Professor Alexander Fraser Tytler, nearly two centuries ago, had this to say about Democracy: " A Democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of Government. It can only exist until the voters discover they can vote themselves largess out of public treasury. From that moment on the majority always votes for the candidate promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that Democracy always collapses over a loose fiscal policy, always to be followed by a Dictatorship."

    A democracy is majority rule and is destructive of liberty because there is no law to prevent the majority from trampling on individual rights. Whatever the majority says goes! A lynch mob is an example of pure democracy in action. There is only one dissenting vote, and that is cast by the person at the end of the rope.


    Authority is derived through the election by the people of public officials best fitted to represent them.

    Attitude toward property is respect for laws and individual rights, and a sensible economic procedure.

    Attitude toward law is the administration of justice in accord with fixed principles and established evidence, with a strict regard to consequences.

    A greater number of citizens and extent of territory may be brought within its compass.

    Avoids the dangerous extreme of either tyranny or mobocracy. Results in statesmanship, liberty, reason, justice, contentment, and progress.

    Is the "standard form" of government throughout the world.

    A republic is a form of government under a constitution which provides for the election of:

    an executive and

    a legislative body, who working together in a representative capacity, have all the power of appointment, all power of legislation all power to raise revenue and appropriate expenditures, and are required to create

    a judiciary to pass upon the justice and legality of their governmental acts and to recognize

    certain inherent individual rights.

    Take away any one or more of those four elements and you are drifting into autocracy. Add one or more to those four elements and you are drifting into democracy.

    Our Constitutional fathers, familiar with the strength and weakness of both autocracy and democracy, with fixed principles definitely in mind, defined a representative republican form of government. They "made a very marked distinction between a republic and a democracy and said repeatedly and emphatically that they had founded a republic."

    A republic is a government of law under a Constitution. The Constitution holds the government in check and prevents the majority (acting through their government) from violating the rights of the individual. Under this system of government a lynch mob is illegal. The suspected criminal cannot be denied his right to a fair trial even if a majority of the citizenry demands otherwise.

    Difference between Democracy and Republic, in brief:


    a: government by the people; especially : rule of the majority.

    b: a government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically held free elections.

    Attitude toward law is that the will of the majority shall regulate, whether it be based upon deliberation or governed by passion, prejudice, and impulse, without restraint or regard to consequences


    a: a government having a chief of state who is not a monarch and who in modern times is usually a president : a political unit (as a nation) having such a form of government.

    b: a government in which supreme power resides in a body of citizens entitled to vote and is exercised by elected officers and representatives responsible to them and governing according to law.

    Democracy and Republic are often taken as one of the same thing, but there is a fundamental difference. Whilst in both cases the government is elected by the people, in Democracy the majority rules according to their whims, whilst in the Republic the Government rule according to law. This law is framed in the Constitution to limit the power of Government and ensuring some rights and protection to Minorities and individuals.

    The difference between Republic and Righteous Republic is that in the Republic the Government rules according to the law set up by men, in the Righteous Republic the law is the Law of God. Only in the Righteous Republic it can truly be said "One nation under God" for it is governed under commandments of the only One True God and there is no pluralism of religions.

    Autocracy declares the divine right of kings; its authority can not be questioned; its powers are arbitrarily or unjustly administered.

    Mobocracy: 1. Political control by a mob. 2. The mass of common people as the source of political control.