Has the War on Drugs really resulted in 45 million Americans being locked up for drug-related offenses at a cost of trillions?

Asked by: GWL-CPA
  • Easily since 1971

    I wouldn't be surprised if it was more. Prohibitionism in America hasn't worked and has unjustly sent millions of Americans to prison for possessing marijuana which grows naturally anyhow whilst the tobacco companies continue to run ads and make billions as do liquor companies. Marijuana is illegal because of corporate lobbyists (lumber companies, for instance, as hemp is useful for many things that they help produce). Marijuana is also illegal because America is not a democracy, it is a two party oligarchy where neither of the parties wish to legalize marijuana, even though a majority of Americans in many states likely do.

  • Yes, since 1971

    The drug war has been going on for over 40 years, Nixon was in office at its commencement. Since then, you'll find that the aggregates are as I stated. I'm not sure if you've intentionally straw-manned my argument (and my age: 18 -- not that this is relevant to debate), but this should clarify things.

  • But It's Still A Huge Sum of Money and Drugs Should be Legalized

    OK, it's not quite multiple trillions. But it's still a giant sum of money.
    There are other effects of the war on drugs. It impairs scientific research. The guy who discovered the DNA double helix shape was on LSD. Yet because it's illegal now it's very very hard for someone to get permission to do research on it. Think of all the things we could've learned about the human mind.
    There's also the fact that which drugs are legal and illegal isn't based on logic, it's based on the public's arbitrary emotional reactions. Alcohol is by far more dangerous than LSD, ecstasy, and especially marijuana.
    The war on drugs is ineffective anyways. Even for the more dangerous ones such as PCP why not allow it on licensed, supervised premises? That way professionals could keep the person say and prevent harm to self or others during a bad trip. Big Lurch wouldn't have aten his girlfriend and wouldn't have been in jail and instead would probably be laughing about the time he tried PCP.

  • Pro Drug Legalization Folks Overstate the Drug War Facts!

    xxXChelseaXxx, a 17 year-old teenage girl, stated in a blog “Comparably, the U.S has spent multiple TRILLIONS on the drug war, with over 45 MILLION people being locked up for drug related 'crimes,' and these trends look set to continue.
    I am real confused, according to the 2010 Census, there were 243,956,000 people 15-years of age or older in the USA.
    The BJS - U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics for 2010 states that the total number of people in jail for all offenses, (e.g., murder, rape, car theft, battery, drug offenses) was 2,337,592 (about 1% of adults) - incarcerated in U.S. federal, state, and country jails, which included 70,792 juveniles in juvenile detention. And, that is for all crimes, not just drug related offenses. We need to look at how many are in jail for drug related offenses.
    At the end of 2011, the combined federal and state prison population that was in jail for drugs and drug related offenses was 330,000, a slight decrease of over a decade ago.
    How can that be if xxXChelseaXxx says there are 45 million in jail for drug related offenses? She just made numbers up from who knows where. Teenagers who smoke pot have no clue as to what is going on. Pro pot people make up numbers that they can’t support.
    Then she says multiple TRILLIONS have been spent. Multiple means three or more usually. Given her the benefit of the doubt, I will use 3 Trillion 3,000,000,000,000. The highest amount I could find as spend per year on the war on drugs was $51 billion (51,000,000,000) by a pro drugs site. Using the 51,000,000,000, it would take 58.8 years to spend 3 Trillion dollars on the Drug War. But, the drug war is only 40 years old. But, in 1970, we spend less than $2 billion, but from 1970 through 2010, about 41 years, we have spent $1.5 trillion for drug control spending; but, these number were produced in a study done by someone who wants to legalize drugs; and, his numbers include what is spent helping people with drug problems and addiction – so that is not properly counted as the fighting the drug war. In 2012, the DEA – Drug Enforcement Agency will received $25 Billion, which includes $10 billion for treatment and prevention. So, all the numbers on the total amount fighting the drug war are totally overstated by those who want to legalize drugs.
    Even if we legalize marijuana, which only accounts for maybe 50% of the drug money earned by the Drug Cartel, they will still sell drugs, guns, etc. There is a huge market for selling marijuana to underage kids/teens and hard drugs to adults and kids in the USA. If we legalize marijuana for adults 21 and over, more kids will do marijuana, and the USA will still have to spend 25 billion or more per year on the war on drugs.

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