"Our current prohibitionist policy has failed miserably"
As chronicled in his book, Honorable Intentions, Russell Jones has been involved in the "War on Drugs" on various fronts for 40 years. For 10 of those years Russ worked as a San Jose, California police officer, narcotics detective and member of a DEA-run task force. Later, as a government intelligence agent, Russ worked in Latin America observing narcotics trafficking during the Nicaragua-Contra conflict. In academia, he conducted studies of the impact of drug abuse on the crime index, wrote training programs for identifying the psychological and physiological symptoms of narcotics use, and developed rehabilitation programs designed specifically for the court-mandated client. He has traveled throughout the former Soviet Union and China to study their drug problems and policies. In the field of drug rehabilitation, Russ implemented and taught courses for various California and Texas counties, as well as for privately run programs. Russ is a court-recognized expert (on both the federal and state levels) in the field of substance abuse and narcotics enforcement.
His journey to the Soviet Union made it clear to Russ that the "War on Drugs" cannot be won. "Drugs were prevalent even behind the Iron Curtain," he reports. "If a country, as controlling of its citizens as the Soviet Union was, still had such a large a problem - drug-dealing on Moscow street corners, meth labs in Leningrad - how could a free society such as ours handle the problem from a law-enforcement perspective?"
Russ rightly attests that from the advent of drug prohibition in 1914 to the declaration of "War on Drugs" in 1970, to our present-day policies and tactics, the US government has not significantly reduced the use and abuse of drugs. Instead we have incarcerated millions, destroyed the lives of countless youths, while corrupting police, judges, and politicians. "We are taxing our population at over 69 billion dollars a year to support this 'War on Drugs,'" he notes, "and the result is the enrichment of drug lords, foreign government officials, and our own government agencies that are involved in this folly."
Russ champions a three-pronged approach to reform: 1) treat addiction as a health problem - not a crime, 2) remove the profit motive from the drug trade, and 3) redirect a portion of the billions of dollars in enforcement costs that ending prohibition would save toward real, honest education about drugs. Education programs cut the use of nicotine, the most addictive drug known to humans, in half in a 20-year period and we didn't have to arrest or imprison anyone to achieve that success.