The United States Drug Policy

The United States Drug Policy


The spike in international abuse of drugs in the 1960’s necessitated the government to develop national policies aimed at curbing the vice. The war on drugs was declared by President Nixon in 1970 through anti-drug and was embodied under the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970( Walker, 22).

The primary goal of these policies was tailored to ensure absolute prohibition of drug abuse within the boundaries of the United States. Additionally, the Nixon led administration made a provision for the federal demand reduction and drug treatment program, which was aimed at helping recovering addicts get over their addiction.


The war on drugs and drug-related violence has always been a subject of debate in the United States of America. Drug use affects every fabric of society; it strains the country’s economy, the health care system, the criminal justice system and endangers the development of the youth(Branson, 15).

The United States drug policy takes cognizance of the harmful effects of drug use on society and maintains a heavily prohibitionist approach towards the war on drugs. While maintaining a prohibitionist approach is commendable, nearly five decades after the war on drugs began; America continues to grapple with the effects of drug use. The number of those affected by drug use continues to grow as each day passes, and so has the number of drug cartels in the United States and internally. As such, the war on drugs is a failed policy; there is a need to develop new policies that curb the drug menace in the world.


In the United States, the policy does not allow drugs which should stay that way.  Drugs could cause diseases which could also be spread that could then lead to deaths could cause problems with pollution and could make everyone get sick along. Also, it could cause problems to your brain.

Claim 1:

Drugs causes diseases which lead to death

  1. Evidence 1: It could cause heart diseases, lung cancer, mental illness (

Claim 2:

Causes problems with pollution that could make everyone get sick

  1. Evidence 2: The deforestation takes homes away from animals and destroys the trees that keep the planet’s air free of pollution. (

Claim 3:

Causes problems to your brain

  1. Evidence 3: When you use drugs for a long time, it can cause changes in your brain, and it could cause your decision making, memory, and ability to learn


Cost of Running a Drug Business

Running the business of buying or selling drugs attracts high transaction costs on both the buyer and the dealer. Those involved in the drug business cannot risk losing a penny, or their tuff or risk being arrested by the authorities; as such, drug dealers result to buying guns to defend themselves from the police or any unscrupulous dealer(Branson,45). The drug user cannot risk losing his life to a drug peddler, so they result in buying a gun to defend themselves. The overall effect of the solicitation of guns in the drug industry is cartel wars and the needless loss of life.

Claim 1:

            Running a drug-related business attracts high transaction cost

Evidence 1


Claim 2

All parties involved in the drug business, buy firearms to protect themselves.

Evidence 2

claim 3

The solicitation and possession of guns amongst drug sellers and users has led to needless loss of life

Evidence 3

Prohibitory Nature of Drug Policies

Despite existing for over 40 years having a noble intention, the prohibitory nature of the war on drugs has had little or no effect in curbing the menace. The reality is that the number of those affected by drugs has been on the increase, leading to the overall conclusion that either the global drug lords are extremely strong and cannot be stopped by the United States, or the war on drugs is a failed policy and needs to be reconsidered.

Claim 1

The prohibitory approach embodied in the war on drug policies has failed in its primary goal of eradicating the use of drugs in the United States of America.

Evidence 1

claim 2

            The number of drug cartels in the United States and neighboring Mexico has been on the increase despite the existence of policies specifically tailored to curb their existence.




Claim 3

            The current war on drug policies have failed to achieve a drug-free America, and warrant massive re-consideration.

Evidence 3

Failure of the War on Drugs and the Criminal Justice System

The primary basis of the war on drug policies has been the eradication of drugs in America and providing treatment to addicts. However, the reality is that individuals serving drug-related offenses in penal institutions rank highest in population across the penal institutions in the country. These federal institutions are run using taxpayers money. Hence hardworking Americans are forced to bear the cost of maintaining the failed policies.

                        Claim 1

            The current war on drugs policies do not consider drug addiction to be a disease. Instead, they condemn a drug addict to prison.

                        Evidence 1


claim 2

            Federal penal institutions cannot treat drug addiction.

                        Evidence 2

claim 3

            Sustaining drug-related convicts in prisons takes a toll on the economy.

                        Evidence 3


            The downside of the war on drugs is staggering. The war on drugs has not only failed in its mandate of making America a drug free nation but have also led to the militarization of drug lords and cartels. The effect of this militarization is the needless loss of life and pain to the families of the deceased.

The prohibitive nature of drug policies are compatible with the models of demand and supply, in operation the only effect that drug control policies have is increasing the price of drugs; which does not necessarily help in making America a drug free nation. Additionally, the issue is further complicated by the fact that the legally-available substances have a greater degree of societal harm as compared to drugs classified as illegal.

The classification of drugs within schedule 1 is inconsistent, the classification of marijuana as a schedule 1 drug yet it has numerous medical applications and causes less psychological and social harm beats logic. Evidence of this inconsistency also lies in the abuse of prescription drugs making the government’s war on drugs policies inconsistent.


It is about time that the government reconsiders its stance on drugs. In doing this, the government ought to appreciate that prison is not a cure to addiction, instead, addicts should be treated for their addiction and assisted in re-incorporation into society upon finishing the treatment program.

Secondly, there is a need for the government to reconsider the classification of drugs in Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act, and also recognize the prevalence of abuse of prescription drugs.

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