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Effectiveness of the War on Drugs - Essay Example

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The effectiveness of the War on Drugs has been the subject of intense debate for much of the 20th century. …
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Effectiveness of the War on Drugs
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Effectiveness of the War on Drugs

Download file to see previous pages... The purpose was to create a central office for waging the war on drugs. Upon its establishment, the DEA was comprised of 1,470 Special Agents with a US$75 million budget. The DEA currently has 5,200 Special Agents with an operating budget of US$2.6 billion.3 Both sides of the argument have merits. In other words it is equally arguable that the War on Drugs is ineffective and that the War on Drugs is effective. Therefore the best that can be deduced is that it is virtually impossible to measure the effectiveness of the War on Drugs. To start with, it is difficult to devise a benchmark for measuring the War on Drugs. For instance, is the War on Drugs measured by reference to the expenditure and the prevalence of drug use and exploitation? Or is it fair to measure the effectiveness of the War on Drugs by identifying the percentage of non-users? Each of these methods of measurements raise significant questions relative to their validity. For instance, if the expenditure were less would the problems of drug use be greater? If there was no War on Drugs would the percentage of users be greater?
Regardless, the US government and a majority of governments are determined to control drug use and production. Meanwhile, drug users and drug producers are just as determined to continue producing and using drugs. In measuring the effectiveness of the War on Drugs both of these factors are significant. The main question is whether or not drug users and producers’ determination to use controlled substances is matched by governments’ determination to control the use and production of illicit drugs....
n question is whether or not drug users and producers’ determination to use controlled substances is matched by governments’ determination to control the use and production of illicit drugs. In this regard, the US drug policy and its War on Drugs’ agenda is approached from a supply side initiative. In other words, the US government expresses its determination to control drug use and production by primarily focusing on interdicting drugs and thereby preventing its entry into the US. Given the extent of the drug problem in the US this interdiction oriented scheme is for the most part ineffective. Boyum and Reuter report that: Drugs are as accessible as ever as inflation-adjusted prices for cocaine and heroin have fallen by more than half.4 In other words, despite its best and most expensive efforts to prevent illicit drugs entering the US, these drugs continue to be available on the streets of the US. In fact Stokes reports that despite the War on Drugs, increasingly, the street price of heroin and cocaine in the US has fallen and yet at the same time has improved in its quality and content.5 It would therefore appear that the supply side approach to the War on Drugs expresses a determination to cut off the supply of drugs to the US and by doing so curtail production and use. However, this determination is not matched by the determination to produce and use illicit drugs since all indications are that drugs are not only continuing to enter the US, but they are continuing to be used excessively. What these outcomes reveal is that the primary technique of taking a supply side approach to the War on Drugs is ineffective. The US government must therefore look at alternative methods for fighting the War on Drugs and expressing its determination to control illicit drug ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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