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11/09 Blog Post

In the article “Four Decades and Counting: The Continued Failure of the War on Drugs”, the authors outline drug prohibition policies in the U.S. and the War on Drugs. Throughout our lives, we are constantly told how horrible illicit drugs are. Individuals who are caught with these drugs receive harsh punishments and jail time. Prohibition policies implemented by the United States are believed to reduce drug-related crime, decrease drug-related disease and overdose, and act as an effective means of disrupting criminal enterprises. Contrary to my belief, the article concludes that this is truly not the case. The prohibition of illicit drug use has created some harsh consequences. There has been an increase in overdoses and drug-related illnesses as the quality control mechanisms and information is weaker. There is no avid reporting of impure substances, as they would be breaking the law if they reported. This has led sellers to create more potent materials and switch to harder drugs as they want to increase their profits. Violence has also increased due to the fact that individuals can not resort to the police for their problems. 

Prohibition policies have also promoted and strengthened drug cartels. In fact, the U.S. War on Drugs led directly to the rise of the Columbian drug cartels and the creation of Super Labs. The authors then discuss why they believe we should consider legalizing drugs. They believe that there will be large positive effects with racial issues as well as counter ongoing trends of militarized police. As states continue to legalize Marijuana, it will be interesting to see how our government will respond in the future. Will the United States ever think to legalize drugs like Portugal has done? Will marijuana be legal everywhere? 


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  1. Olivia Cranshaw Olivia Cranshaw

    I agree and think that legalization will have large positive effects on racial issues, militarization, and international affairs/immigration, but I question if we will be able to move past our quaker roots which had a major impact on prohibition regulation. If we legalize marijuana I wonder if that decision will last unlike the prohibition.

  2. Isabela Keetley Isabela Keetley

    In addition to your argument for legalizing drugs, if they are legal they can be regulated. Right now I think a huge problem we face is drugs being laced which often results in overdoses. While no one can know for sure if their drugs are laced when buying on the black market, if they can be regulated by the government they can be used more safely. This may sound like an oxymoron but the government is already taking part in initiatives where they give out free needles to help lower rates of infection and disease. If drugs are made legal or decriminalized, the government has more control and regulation which could save thousands of lives as well as eliminate widespread violence.

  3. Elina Bhagwat Elina Bhagwat

    While I was reading the article I was also thinking about arguments for legalizing marijuana. The main idea that I thought of is that when you tell someone not to do something, very frequently it makes people want to do it more. Legalizing marijuana destigmatizes it and might prevent other harder drugs from being taken.

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