The following is a submitted letter to the editor:
Has the time come to surrender in the war on drugs?
If you take a minute and look at the facts, I think a strong case can be made to throw in the towel, and say, enough is enough!
Since president Nixon, 42 years ago, declared “the war on drugs” thousands of people have been killed, hundreds of thousands incarcerated, and with nothing to show for it.
You can’t help but think back on the days of Prohibition, which created a crime wave of its own.
In hindsight, Prohibition was probably one of the most stupid things invented by mankind.
Is the war on drugs any different? Not really!
There is a certain percentage among us who will drink themselves to death, no matter what. Others are addicted to drugs that might eventually kill them. Others again, despite all warnings, will smoke four packs a day and shorten their lives by decades. And let’s not forget about the 300 pounders, who will in all likelihood, die prematurely from a heart attack.
Society can only do so much! At some point, the cost to society of fighting these addictions will outweigh the benefits. Plus some!
Just listen to this:
1. We are keeping 1.6 million people incarcerated for drug crimes both large and small. Mostly small!
2. The war on drugs costs us an estimated $40 billion a year. Think of all the good “stuff” you can do with that kind of money!
3. Since 2006, 50,000 people, mostly Mexicans, have died in the war on drugs. Many of those killed were innocent civilians. That is 10 times as many; yes 10 times as many, than lost their lives in our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan combined.
Blows your mind, doesn’t it? With absolutely nothing to show for it!
According to the specialists, if we were to decriminalize drugs on both sides, trafficking and usage, we might, in the worst case, expect a small increase in the use of drugs, maybe not even that!
In countries around the world, where drugs (marijuana, that is) have been decriminalized, the Netherlands, Portugal etc., the percentage of users is actually lower than here.
The question we have to ask ourselves is, do we really want to enter another five years where thousands of more lives will be lost and more people are imprisoned? Or, do we want to get realistic about the fact that this is a war that cannot be won?
As I see it, considering the cost and what can be gained from it, keeping the war on drugs going is just plain stupid.