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Should We Continue to Fund the War on Drugs ?. Amy Chamberlain Paul Fleischer Alcione Frederick Nick Hager. Do you remember?. Prohibition, the move to decrease alcohol consumption in 1919 National Prohibition Act (Volstead Act or 18 th Amendment) was passed by Congress in 1919

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Should We Continue to Fund the War on Drugs ?

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should we continue to fund the war on drugs

Should We Continue to Fund the War on Drugs?

Amy Chamberlain

Paul Fleischer

Alcione Frederick

Nick Hager

do you remember
Do you remember?
  • Prohibition, the move to decrease alcohol consumption in 1919
    • National Prohibition Act (Volstead Act or 18th Amendment) was passed by Congress in 1919
    • The law prohibited the manufacture, transportation and sale of beverages containing more than 0.5 per cent alcohol, particularly beer
  • Beer consumption reduced dramatically
prohibition consequences
Prohibition Consequences
  • However, this created the market for hard liquor
    • Moonshine, bath-tub gin, home brewed spirits, etc.
  • In addition, the following happened:
    • An increase in:
      • Substance-related deaths
      • Government spending to enforce the law
      • Judicial caseloads
      • Prison population
      • Violent crime, including murder
    • The alcohol production and distribution became decentralized and democratized
      • Organized crime boomed as criminals jumped at the chance to quench the demand for liquor
      • However, most of the production and distribution was done on a smaller scale by average citizens
the end of prohibition
The End of Prohibition
  • When the American people saw what Prohibition was doing to them, they supported its repeal through the 21st Amendment in 1933
    • Made the rules and regulations surrounding alcohol control a State matter
    • Within a few years, the production and consumption of alcohol fell by 50%
  • Instituted the Three -Tier System:
    • Producers, wholesalers, retailers
drug war clock as of friday 10 22 04
Drug War Clock as of Friday 10/22/04
  • Money spent on the War On Drugs in 2003:
      • $19.179 billion at a rate of approx. $600 per second
  • People arrested for Drug Law offenses this year:
      • 1,279,214
  • People incarcerated for Drug Law offenses this year:
      • 191,773
history of drug laws
History of Drug Laws
  • “1875 Anti-Opium Ordinance”, San Francisco – the smoking of opium was forbidden in opium dens
  • “1914 Harrison Narcotics Act” – at face-value this was a law for the orderly marketing of opium, morphine, heroin, and cocaine in small quantities over the counter, and in larger quantities on a physician's prescription “in the course of his professional practice only”
  • 1936 - Reefer Madness is released and shown to school children as a deterrent for drug use
  • “1937 Marijuana Tax Act” - purpose of the Act is to levy a token tax of $1 per ounce for authorized transfers on all buyers, sellers, importers, growers, physicians, veterinarians, and any other persons who deal in marijuana commercially, prescribe it professionally, or possess it
history cont
History cont….
  • 1960s – Counterculture revolution!!! Recreational drug use becomes fashionable among young, white, middle class Americans
  • 1970 - Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act - consolidates previous drug laws and reduces penalties for marijuana possession. It also strengthens law enforcement by allowing police to conduct "no-knock" searches
  • 1971 - Soldiers in Vietnam develop heroin addiction
  • 1971 - Nixon declares war on drugs. At a press conference Nixon names drug abuse as "public enemy number one in the United States." He announces the creation of the Special Action Office for Drug Abuse Prevention (SAODAP)
controlled substances act
Schedule I (Most Dangerous)








Magic mushrooms

Schedule II



Coca leaves





Opium poppy and derivatives

Controlled Substances Act
controlled substances act9
Schedule III

Anabolic steroids

Barbituric acid and derivatives

synthetic THC in sesame oil/soft gelatin


Morphine combos

Codeine combos

Schedule IV





Schedule V (Least Dangerous)

Codeine preparations

Ethylmorphine preparations

Opium preparations

Controlled Substances Act
who s using
Who’s using?
  • According to the DEA, there are approx. 30-40 million US citizens who have used an illegal drug within the last year or so – this number, however, is speculated to be significantly higher
  • The U.S. has 5% of the World’s population but consumes 60% of its illicit drugs
drug usage among children
Drug Usage Among Children
  • Since 1992, federal surveys indicate an increase in adolescent drug use
  • The Office of National Drug Control Policy’s plan for budgeting drug control during the years 1998-2003 included spending less than 12% on youth prevention – 12% of the 100 billion planned
  • The Research Triangle Institute reported that – “DARE students were no less likely to use drugs than students who were not involved with the program”
In 1975, 87% of youths said it was “very easy” or “fairly easy” to obtain marijuana. In 1998, 89.6% said it was “easily obtained”

The Cost of The War on Drugs

Historical Drug Control Funding by Function

(Budget Authority in Millions)

*The Domestic Law Enforcement Category consists of money used for the criminal justice system, other research, and intelligence.


What’s More Important – Prevention or Enforcement?

Represents money allocated, does not include outside budget spending, in reality, figures are closer to $18 - 20 billion a year

costs of incarcerating drug offenders
Costs of Incarcerating Drug Offenders
  • Costs to incarcerate a drug-dealer is as follows:
      • “Arrest + conviction” - $150,000
      • “Additional Prison Bed” - $50,000-$150,000
      • “Yearly Housing” - $30,000 (Note: the avg sentence is 5 years, which raises the # to $150,000)
      • Approx. max. total = $450,000
  • Cost if estimated 30-40 million yearly drug abusers were imprisoned – $10-$15 trillion
incarceration rates
Incarceration Rates
  • According to the Department of Justice – there are approx. 2 million people incarcerated in the U.S.
  • U.S. leads the world in Incarceration Rates
    • The number of people behind bars in the United States for drug crimes alone now exceeds the number of people in prison in Europe for all crimes combined
federally imprisoned by offense in u s
% Federally Imprisoned by Offense in U.S.

Drug Offenses – 59.6%

Robbery – 9.8%

Property Offenses – 5.5%

Extortion, Fraud, Bribery – 6.8%

Violent Offenses – 2.7%

Firearms, Explosives, Arson – 8.6%

White Collar – 1%

discrimination in incarceration rates
Discrimination in Incarceration Rates
  • Approx. “¼ of young American black men are either in prison or on parole. Most of them were arrested on non-violent drug charges”
  • The rate for incarcerated whites is less than ten times the rate of blacks
arguments for the drug war
Arguments FOR the Drug War
  • A state cannot tolerate or be involved with the distribution of immoral substances
  • Recreational use of certain drugs is unhealthy and dangerous for the user's body
  • Drugs are addictive, they rob the user of free will
    • A drug user can’t make an informed and rational decision to continue using drugs
  • If illegal drugs were legalized, dealers would invent more dangerous and addictive drugs in order to maintain their profit
arguments for cont
Arguments FOR cont…
  • Drug use is dangerous to people other than the user, in the rise of health care costs, violence associated with the use of drugs and neglect of children by drug-addicted parents
  • If drugs were legalized, the companies that manufacture and market them would be sued, as have the tobacco companies
  • Drug use negatively impacts the economy in the form of users missing work and doing poor work.
  • Soft drugs, such as marijuana, are “gateways” to harder drugs – cocaine, heroin
arguments for cont21
Arguments FOR cont…
  • If illegal drugs are legalized, the FDA will have to be shut down, meaning that all health and safety restrictions on foods and drugs will be eliminated. Massive epidemics of diseases, overdoses and accidental drug interactions will occur
  • Once legalized, corporations would advertise and promote addictive drugs to increase profit
  • “We have to protect the children”
arguments against
Arguments AGAINST
  • If the goal of a state is to protect citizens' health and well-being, drugs should be legalized so that their purity can be monitored
  • Other countries that have experimented with degrees of legalization have had positive results:
    • Prohibition vs. Legalization – the U.S. Policy vs. programs used in Europe
      • Comparison of U.S. to Amsterdam & Holland:
          • US: marijuana is outlawed
          • Amsterdam: marijuana is legal, sales are regulated, selling to minors is prohibited
          • Holland has 100s of shops where pot is tolerated
          • US: 38% of adolescents have smoked pot
          • Holland: 20% of adolescents have smoked pot
arguments against cont
Arguments AGAINST cont…
  • Drug legalization will decrease organized and disorganized crime by putting the distributors out of business
  • Drug use is a victimless crime which means it should be legal
  • W.O.D. facilitates police corruption, by injecting huge profits into the black market
  • W.O.D is hypocritical because only certain drugs are targeted. Other drugs, such as alcohol, caffeine and tobacco are legal, yet cause many more problems than current illegal drugs

Tobacco – 390,000

Alcohol – 80,000

Second-hand Smoke from Tobacco – 50,000

All Illegal Drugs Combined – 4,500; Marijuana – 0

arguments against cont25
Arguments AGAINST cont…
  • Legalizing drugs will help keep more dangerous and addictive drugs from minors, for whom the deleterious effects are greater
  • Drug legalization will enable users to be certain that they are receiving the correct drug
  • The strict enforcement of drug laws has led to overcrowding prisons and the early release of violent offenders
  • Legalization would prevent any government excuse to ban the industrial use of hemp which can be made into about 50,000 products
in addition
In addition,
  • The War on Drugs funds Terrorism and helped bring about 9/11
    • In March 2002, in a statement before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Technology, Terrorism, and Government, Sen. Jon Kyl (R.-Ariz.) reported that “opium production in Afghanistan [under the Taliban] accounted for 72 percent of production worldwide” and was used to “shelter Osama bin Laden and other al-Qaeda terrorists”
    • He similarly indicated that bin Laden “provided protection to heroin-processing labs, was a part owner in numerous labs, [and] part owner of one load shipped to the U.S.”
parallels between

An increase in:

Substance-related deaths

Government spending to enforce the law

Judicial caseloads

Prison population

Violent crime, including murder

The alcohol production and distribution became decentralized and democratized

Organized crime boomed as criminals jumped at the chance to quench the demand for liquor

However, most of the production and distribution was done on a smaller scale by average citizens

War on Drugs



$18 billion annually; total $40 billion (including State)

Largest prison pop. with 59.6% drug based

Added 11,000 murders/yr during 1980s

Drug production and distribution is decentralized and democratized

No criminal syndicate, however, there are large-scale operations

Most are small-scale entrepreneurs

In addition, there’s a relationship between drug prohibition and law enforcement corruption

Parallels between

Murder in America

Homicides per 100,000 population

1900 - 1997 (FBI Uniform Crime Reports)



















what prohibition teaches us
What Prohibition Teaches Us
  • Prohibition causes crime
    • “the consensus of opinion among criminologists is that "prohibition is shown to directly increase violent crime, even in cases where it deters drug use. The more resources given to the fight against drugs, the greater the homicide rate"
  • Prohibition encourages waste
    • There will always be a market for mind-altering substances
    • Profits from drugs sold in a similar manner as alcohol can go towards treatment and education
  • Prohibition ignores the “functional drug user”
    • The 40+ million that use drugs and still function in society
what prohibition teaches us cont
What Prohibition Teaches Us cont…
  • No amount of legislation or social engineering is going to prevent some people from using substances others disapprove of
    • According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, Americans still generally use illicit drugs with the same frequency they have since the drug war began, despite harsher sentences, increased funding for law enforcement, more prisons, expensive public relations campaigns and frightening trespasses on our civil liberties

We agree with the widely held belief that

the War on Drugs

is the modern-day


and therefore should no longer be funded

sources sources
Sources Sources
  • www.faculty/