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War on Drugs - Research Paper Example

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The United States embraces policies that commit to building democracy and economic growth; however, the ‘war on drugs’ policy dwarfs spending of other policies. …
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War on Drugs
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Download file to see previous pages Nevertheless, there have been tentative signals that the administration is receptive to new approaches as indicated by recent call for change in domestic policy. The US war on drugs is wide-ranging and includes interdiction, eradication and criminal enforcement activities; however, despite the efforts, narcotic trafficking continues at an alarming level. History and scope of the issue In 1914, the US regulated narcotics with the Harrison Narcotics Act in order to ensure effectiveness in provisions of the Hague Convention of 1912. The act became the foundation for unlawful drugs in the early twentieth century since the act cut off legal supplies of narcotics for many users effectively; thus, it was responsible for the beginning of illicit drug industry. There are arguments that legislative change aimed at regulating the marketing of opiates; however, the actual implementation of the Act turned out to be essentially prohibitionist. Subsequent legislation, starting with Jones-Miller Act of 1920 criminalized importation of narcotics; moreover, the Marijuana Tax Act in 1937 placed marijuana in the category of opium and cocaine. These early pieces of legislation have been the beginning of the ever-increasing criminalization of these substances use and a focal point on supply curtailment through prohibitions and criminal penalties (Miron, 2008).
The 1970s saw major transformations in the legislature concomitant with the increase of illicit drug use, which was tracked by some individuals to the 1960s society of protests and social rebellion. At that time, the use of drugs transitioned from the domain of the marginalized Americans to the domain of middle class Americans. Thus, by 1975, most of the young individuals (55%) used banned drugs by the time they cleared high school (Saadatmand, Toma & Choquette, 2012). Illegal drug use reached fresh altitude during this era with the hippies, and the counterculture movement. The major impetus, which heightened response, to drug use was traceable to the migration of opiate drug use from the marginalized to the middle class. Nevertheless in the late 1960s, members of lower socioeconomic groups continued to be over-represented as heroin users, as well there was a greater representation within the affluent society (UNODC, 2010). Use of illegal narcotics has continuously been considered by the successive US administrations as a major social ill; nevertheless, Nixon administration viewed the problem as a national emergency and illicit drug use that was considered public enemy number one in the US. The Nixon government in 1970 approved a Comprehensive Drug Abuse and Prevention and Control act that consolidated several drug-related laws; though, the act decoupled marijuana from the category of cocaine and other opiates it notably expanded the power of police for search and seizure (Miron, 2008). Thus, placing drug control at the top of the national agenda began a legislative fury that produced several acts that aimed at increasing the scope, breadth and reach of illicit drug control legislation. Perspectives and Analysis of policy The war on drugs is not a tightly defined initiative but a loose set of policies and programs, which gained momentum during the Nixon administration with signing of Comprehensive drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act and the increase in resources allocated to the effort. Nixon formed and initiated the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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