The war on drugs has unequivocally failed to meet a single one of its stated goals. We have bravely fought the war on drugs for more than 40 years – arresting, prosecuting, and imprisoning at ever-increasing levels. We have spent well over a trillion dollars and made more than 39 million arrests of nonviolent drug users.
Ask yourself this simple question: Has it worked? As most of us can answer from experience: No. The war on drugs has never worked. Today, drugs are cheaper, more potent, and easier to get than they were in 1970 when the war on drugs began. On federal surveys, teenagers consistently report that it’s easier to buy marijuana than alcohol, which is legal and age-regulated. And beyond its failure, the war on drugs has had unintended but devastatingly violent consequences. As with alcohol prohibition, drugs are under the control of bloodthirsty cartels fighting over untaxed profits and killing police and innocent civilians in their crossfire.
As public servants charged with the duty to represent the People and keep the public safe by prosecuting those accused of committing crimes, we come face-to-face with the horrors of the drug war every day. Watching ever more people enter our courtrooms charged with drug offenses, we bear witness to the repeating cycle of arrest, conviction, incarceration, release, and recidivism.
We juggle our resources struggling to prioritize loads of drug cases which divert resources from the prosecution of our most violent crimes like rape, robbery, and murder. Along with the police officers who serve alongside us, we know that the war on drugs facilitates the very addiction and violence which it seeks to ban. Public health, safety and welfare would vastly improve with the end of the drug war and a return to the prosecution of violent crimes rather than consensual crimes. Peggy Swords