Is The War On Drugs Working Essay

1823 WordsMar 17, 20128 Pages
Is the War On Drugs Working? The modern day war on drugs was declared by President Richard Nixon in 1971, however its start can be traced back to the Harrison Narcotics Act of 1914 (Common Sense for Drug Policy 3). The Harrison Act was intended to be a tax and licensing measure. Up until that point in our countries history, drug addiction was treated by doctors. Physicians were allowed to prescribe certain drugs like morphine to addicts in order to maintain wellbeing. The Harrison Act was intended to license and regulate this practice, however it was quickly subverted by more puritanical elements in our government. These people set about to outlaw drugs by refusing to recognize addiction as a medical condition. It took the maintenance of drug addiction as a form of treatment by physicians about six years to end. Since addicts of narcotics like morphine and heroin were now criminals instead of patients the people supplying the narcotics were also criminals. Several doctors were arrested around the country and the rest of the doctors in the country quickly gave up on helping patients maintain their problem for fear of losing their licenses. When narcotics were outlawed, it did not have the deterrence effect that government officials had hoped for. Instead, it started to make the criminals willing to supply addicts with these drugs very wealthy. In 1920, after several years of escalating drug related violence as a result of the prohibition of narcotics and the riches it was bestowing on the worst elements of society it was demeaned necessary to prohibit alcohol consumption. Alcohol prohibition lasted until 1933 and in that time thousands of people died violent deaths, scores of public officials were corrupted and criminals like Al Capone were made into millionaires. This all happened because Al Capone recognized the need for supplying the underground demand for

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