The war on drugs began during the administration of Richard Nixon.
At the time, Nixon and his contemporaries used the fears of American suburbanites to rally votes and enthusiasm for what they claimed was a monster coming to claim the lives of their children and loved ones.
But the problem is – Nixon’s efforts made things worse.
The flow of cocaine in the US, for instance, has surged since Nixon’s time. Overdoses of opiates have skyrocketed.
And it’s not just ease of access, increased purity of drugs, or any other variables that modern life could adjust for.
The war itself is a problem. By ostracizing and criminalizing drug users, the country has set up a system where they’re punished for trying to break the cycle – so few do.
By driving drug dealers underground, they’re richer than ever – and getting smarter at dodging legal accountability. Instead, their clients (the addicts) are caught and suffer, and the cycle continues.
Recently, President Biden pardoned approximately 6,000 Americans convicted of possessing a small amount of marijuana. And it was a step in the right direction. But as long as prohibition remains for hard drugs across the country, the war will rage on – and good people will continue to lose their lives.
Biden has to get braver – and it doesn’t seem like he’s inclined to try. In part because the for-profit prison lobby is massive, and they’re lining the pockets of politicians to keep the addict pipeline flowing. To fill cells, they need people to break the law – and addicts always will in pursuit of remedies for their disease.