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Julia Leonardi // 11.09.2020

“Four Decades and Counting: The Continued Failure of the War on Drugs” has really made me aware of the history of this issue. President Nixon declared war on drugs, and it all seemed positive and helpful. No one will oppose a war on drugs, so other governors started to implement their own reforms in their states. This was where this war started to become detrimental to communities of color, especially. All the passed laws and acts are so controversial because most common, privileged people would not think twice about them, so they weren’t an issue that the public saw till recently. A lot of awareness has come through the summer protests, but it is still not enough.


Nonetheless, this topic can’t be more relevant today. The war on drugs has been such a devastating phenomenon for communities of color, but that rarely is something discussed within other communities or politics because people assume the war on drugs is a good thing. People think, “When has anti-drugs been a bad thing?” But they don’t bother to do the research. The movement isn’t bad because drugs are good; it is bad because it implements racial bias and devastates communities of color and the prison system. I think it is also interesting to note that Oregon has just decriminalized all drugs this week. With this decision, the rest of the United States can look towards Oregon and see how it affects its inhabitants, its prison systems, and its government. Many folks see Oregon as irrational, and this decision as crazy, but I believe it is because they are uneducated or blinded by their own privilege. I would love to see other states follow Oregon. Still, I also recognize how that might not happen anytime soon or ever because drugs are such a polarizing and emotional topic.

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  1. Elina Bhagwat Elina Bhagwat

    I like how you bring up how easy and common it is for people to think an idea is theoretically good without actually looking into the topic. It seems that if Nixon and his advisors had actually looked into some consequences of prohibiting drugs then these decisions may have not been made. After the very clear negative consequences emerged it was evident that the cons outweighed the pros and had outlasting effects to the criminal justice system and racial biases.

  2. Sara Moushegian Sara Moushegian

    Your point about how it is a privilege for people to remain uneducated about the negative impacts of the war on drugs is a very relevant and crucial idea in regards to how change is to be made in this country. There have been so many states that have decriminalized drugs, especially marijuana, and there have been reports and studies released about the positive impacts on society and the economy within those states. People do not take the time to look into that research because it challenges their assumed opinion that decriminalizing drugs is dangerous, and most people don’t like to be wrong. I hope our nation becomes better in this regard, and I am grateful I attend a university with classes that shed light on these issues.

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