Can We Win the War on Drugs?

By Calvina Fay
Executive Director, Drug Free America Foundation

If winning the war on drugs means total eradication of all drugs, perhaps we cannot win this so-called war. However, if winning the war on drugs consists of decreasing the demand for drugs, then we are winning already. In December 2008 the Office of Drug Control Policy announced a newly released Monitoring the Future study that found drug use among youth has decreased 25% from 2001 to 2008.

If winning the war on drugs means total crime elimination then we cannot win this so-called war. However, if winning the war on drugs means treating drug offenders through drug courts and saving money on incarceration, then we are winning already. The cost benefits of drug courts were announced by the Center for Court Innovation, whose study on New York’s drug courts found that the diversion of 18,000 nonviolent drug offenders into treatment saved $234 million in incarceration costs.

If winning the war on drugs means ridding the world of cartels, perhaps we cannot win this so-called war. However, if winning means decreasing the violence associated with drug crimes, then we are winning already. According to recent Uniform Crime Reports, only 5 percent of all murders are committed because of drug trafficking and manufacturing, whereas approximately 25 percent are committed because the murderer was under the influence of drugs.

Drugs have invaded our country but we have not let them defeat us. Taxing and legalizing marijuana would be a surrender that would have devastating long-term effects. We would be giving up on addicts and profiting off addiction. Haven’t we seen the horrific consequences of using alcohol and tobacco products? How have these dangerous, legalized substances helped our economy or our lives?

Miraculously, marijuana - “the wonder drug” - will solve all of our nation’s problems according to some. They claim it will help people live longer and save us from economic destruction all at the same time. The pro-drug lobby first tried to use compassion to legalize marijuana as a so-called medicine, a Trojan horse for legalizing the drug itself. Now, forget about compassion, as they push to tax it and legalize it.

Could the answer to all of our problems be as simple as legalizing marijuana? Remember H.L. Mencken said, “For every complex problem there is a solution that is neat, simple and wrong!”

The legalization of marijuana would be similar to the deregulation of mortgage lending. For awhile users would be happily high and then boom – there would be more addicts, more homelessness, more teen pregnancies, more workplace liability for business owners and more drug exposed and impaired newborns! The costs associated with all of these scenarios would tremendously exceed any revenue generated.

Eventually, more predators will come, wanting to make more profit on the legalization of all drugs such as crack, heroin and meth.

It doesn’t stop at legalizing one drug. It didn’t after alcohol and tobacco were legalized, and it would not stop after the legalization of marijuana. Permissive policies are not always the answer. Freedom does not equal consent. We have a social responsibility to our fellow countrymen, and profits and greed have already caused enough harm.

We know that our world will never be drug free, but our society is not murder free or robbery free either – do we not continue to fight to protect human life and property? Isn’t it important as well to fight for the human right to live without addiction and the problems it creates for users and the innocent?

If, for instance, teen pregnancies were reduced by 50 percent, homelessness reduced by 50 percent, or SAT scores raised by 50 percent, the successes would be applauded. Instead, a 50 percent reduction in the number of drug users is considered a failure by the nay-sayers.

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