When you hear about the War on Drugs, you probably think the objective is to win, defeating both drug pushers and drug addiction. Nothing could be farther from the truth. In fact, the War on Drugs began as a way to disrupt the counterculture, and it has resulted in a decades-long war against American citizens.
Today the United States has a quarter of the world’s prison population and not even a dent has been made in drug use. There are constant reports about the heroin epidemic- very public stories about people overdosing as well as HIV outbreaks caused by shared needles. Between 2002 and 2013 there was a 286% increase in heroin overdose deaths in the U.S., despite the fact $8.4 billion had been spent in an attempt to eradicate opium production in Afghanistan.
One of the problems with the War on Drugs is that government officials seem to be saying one thing while doing another. While we were spending $8.4 million to eradicate opium production in Afghanistan, which the Taliban had already done in 2000, after the U.S. led invasion in 2001 U.S. government officials admitted to tolerating and even supporting opium production.
Even the crack cocaine epidemic in the 1980s in Los Angeles was found to be sponsored by the U.S. government. Journalist Gary Webb found evidence the CIA supported cocaine trafficking to get the money to buy arms for the Iranians as part of the Iran-Contra scandal. Though his work was discredited initially, the director of the CIA admitted he was correct years later under the Clinton administration.
The War on Drugs has resulted in exponential growth in the prison population without much benefit to society. Learn more about the detrimental effects of the War on Drugs from this infographic. It’s not what you think it is
War on drugs – infographic below