Bestselling author Don Winslow, whose new novel The Cartel is now available, on how the only way to win the trillion-dollar War on Drugs is to stop fighting. This piece is also running as a paid ad by Winslow in today’s print edition of The Washington Post.
Let me come right our and say what you won’t tell the American people. The War on Drugs is unwinnable. It was unwinnable for Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush, and now Obama. At forty-four years, it’s America’s longest war and there’s no end in sight…
Cops standing in front of big drug seizures look great on the evening news. But it sells a lie that we’re winning, just like George Bush on an aircraft carrier declaring that a war was over that still rages on today.
It’s not only that we can’t win this war, it’s that we’re destroying ourselves fighting it. We are literally addicted to the War on Drugs. A half-century of failed policy, $1 trillion, and 45 million arrests has not reduced daily drug use—at all. The U.S. still leads the world in illegal drug consumption, drugs are cheaper, more available, and more potent than ever before.
Our justice system is a junkie, demanding its daily fix of arrests, seizures and convictions. It needs drugs. It’s as hooked as that guy sticking a needle into his arm even though he knows it’s killing him.
Towns that used to compete for factories now campaign for penitentiaries because caging our citizens has become big business. Prison privatization—corrections as capitalism—has increased 1600 percent between 1990 and 2010.
More African-American men are in prison or in the “system” today than there were slaves in 1850. And you don’t just throw an individual behind bars, you throw his or her whole family. Almost 3 million kids have a parent in jail on a drug charge, and they’re more likely to be on welfare, drop out of school, go out on the corner and sell drugs to start the whole tragic cycle all over again. Drugs begin the destruction of families and the justice system finishes them off…
Police departments have become occupying armies. We can draw a direct line between the War on Drugs and the recent events in Ferguson, Cleveland, Baltimore, and elsewhere.
The militarization of our police departments began with the reaction to the crack epidemic of the 1980s. Heavily armed SWAT teams battering down doors in the middle of the night, arresting thousands of young men, have turned American neighborhoods into war zones and spawned a hostile and deadly relationship with our inner-city communities…
The War on Drugs isn’t just a failure, it’s a disaster…
3 thoughts on “It’s Time to Legalize Drugs: An Open Letter to Congress and the President”
It is a disaster on a grand magnitude. They will never win any war on drugs, never. It’s a political tactic to assure us they are on top of the problem, but they are actually creating the problem. High costs, high crime, poor quality, bigger health issues, funding all types of illegal operations, including terrorism… the list is endless
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The U.S. has much to answer for regarding the failure of the drug war, not only in our own country but all over the world. We have spread this disease from one end of the globe to the other. At such a scope, one has to wonder if it will ever end.
We will never see the end, but maybe one day in the very distant future, they’ll look back at the moron era
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