The Failure of The International War Against Drugs

drug war 2For decades, all across the globe, authorities have done all that they could to keep the production and distribution of illegal narcotics off of the streets. But has anything worked? Although there have been various new ways to handle these drug related incidents, it is questionable whether drug war will ever come to an end. According to numerous research, the drug war will never come to an end. How can we fight something so powerful and so strong? The harsh reality is that we, as the human race, are failing with this international war against drugs.

For decades, the world has had its fair share of unfortunate drug incidents. Today, an estimated 4% of the world uses drugs daily (Zedillo 9). The main supplier in the drug trade is, Mexico, who is internationally well known for their drug dealing. The central American country, not only is geographically right next to the United States, but is the largest supplier of illicit drugs to the United States and other European nations. Due to all the production and distribution of the substances among the world, the country of Mexico has been stricken with poverty, adversity, organized crime, and especially violence. It has become a country run with chaos. However, before Mexico became the mass drug producer, Colombia was hit with the same issues for the same reasons. Colombia leads the world in production and distribution of cocaine (Zedillo 9). It has caused major fatalities in the country, leading to a loss in government and loss in authorial power. In a correlational study conducted, scientists made a chart showing the relationship between the homicide rate in Mexico and the production and distribution of cocaine from Colombia. They found that as the net production of cocaine in Colombia decreased, the homicide rate in Mexico increased (Duke 29). Central America has since been named the battleground for the international war against drugs. However, other nations across the globe are also responsible for the distribution of other drugs. Morocco is responsible for the production and distribution of cannabis in many European nations (Duke 35). In order to stop drug trafficking in one part of the world, it would have to be stopped across the globe. We have yet to find a solution to the international war against drugs and will most likely never find a definite solution.

The United States is currently the world’s largest consumer of drugs. On July 14, 1969, President Richard Nixon announced “a national war against drugs”. Drug use has significantly increased over the past century. In 2004, cannabis was named the most illicit drug used in our country (Zedillo 9). It accounted for more than 80% of the drug use in the United States, with opiates following at 8% and cocaine at 7% (Zedillo 9). In 2009, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) estimated that there were 250 million drug users in the country, and that 38 million of them were addicts (Zedillo 10). The Justice Department has stated that despite many efforts to keep drugs out of the country, the price of cocaine and heroin are at an all time low. They stated that despite severe efforts to eradicate crops and prevent drug shipment into the country, cocaine users have been on the rise and heroin users remained stable (Youngers 1). On April 8, 1986, President Reagan issued National Security Directive No. 221, stating that drug trafficking directly threatened U.S. National Security (Pedigo 113).  As a result, many supply-side policies, characterized as the Andean Initiative, launched by President Bush in 1989, provided assistance to Andean countries that were embattled with drug traffickers (Pedigo 113). A main focus of the policies was Colombia because it held more than $6 million in aid over only five years (Pedigo 113). However, despite all efforts, we are proven that the Andean Initiative failed to accomplish its goal of reducing the supply of drugs in the United States. Our country will never be able to fully cease the production of illegal narcotics in other countries.

drug war1Despite numerous efforts and policies, there is still and will always be a global war against drugs. Therefore, the controversial question stands, whether to give up and legalize drugs on both sides of all international borders or to not? Jorge Castañeda and George Grayson state that this policy would not even decrease the demand for drugs, but would be able to transform the dynamics of the drug market so that street drug dealers do not make such immense profits from the trade (Pedigo 121). One drug expert named Ethan Nadelmann, refers to legalization as a harm reduction policy, instead of a demand reduction policy. According to Nadelmann, reducing demand, is next to impossible. Universal legalization would reverse the trends of violence, organized crime, trafficking, and essentially, the entire drug trade (Jenner 919). If illegal drugs were legalized, the supply demand would diminish, because all profits of the industry would no longer exist (Jenner 921). “Society will not fall apart when drug use is no longer a crime” (Foldvary 1151). The decriminalization of drugs in the United States would eliminate the profit for street dealers, eliminate the demand for drugs from the cartels, and also would reduce harm on foreign lands (Foldvary 1151).

In conclusion, the supply-reduction policies promoted by the United States and other international countries have failed simply because the demand for drugs was not reduced (Foldvary 1151). Prohibitionist policies create high-profit opportunities for drug criminals, inducing violent conflicts for various territories (Foldvary 1151). “There’s virtually never been a drug-free society, and more drugs are discovered and devised every year” (Pedigo 121). We are failing as a race to compete with an international war against drugs. Although we have been at battle for numerous generations, we have yet, as a people, to find a solution to the drug trafficking problem around the world. According to all the research conducted, it is highly unlikely that we are going to find a way to stop the production and distribution of drugs around the world.






Works Cited

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Zedillo, Ernesto, and Haynie Wheeler. “Rethinking the War on Drugs: Through the US-Mexico Prism.” Web. 13 Feb. 2015.