After reading the article “Four Decades and Counting: The Continued Failure of the War on Drugs”, I realized how uninformed I was on the topic of Drug restrictions and prohibition. Personally, I had only really started to take notice of it when the first states began to legalize marijuana. I never realized how much these restrictions actually were affecting people not only in our country but outside of it too. I did, however, learn about the alcohol prohibition and the opposite effect it ended up having on alcohol consumption and how it actually did way more harm than good. However, it never struck me that the war on drugs has yielded similar results to the alcohol ban.
When Richard Nixon first declared war on drugs, I’m sure his intentions were good and were simply trying to protect citizens from the dangers of illicit drugs, however, similarly to the alcohol prohibition of 1920 it has done a lot more harm than Nixon probably had in mind. The penalties for being caught with illicit drugs have become so stingy that nearly half of the 186,000 prisoners in federal prison have been arrested because of drug-related charges. Not to mention the effects that a drug charge can have on someone’s life outside of prison. Tens of thousands of students a year are denied financial aid from universities because of their drug-related backgrounds, many people have trouble finding employment with limited job opportunities.