America’s war on drugs has been raging ever since the term was popularized by the mass media in 1971. Then United States President Richard Nixon had just finished a press conference where he outlined America’s determination in defeating the production, distribution and consumption of psychoactive drugs used on a global scale. Unfortunately, states Kevin Wright, it might be time for a change or at least a better plan moving forward.
The plan was simple and had a three-pronged approach:
1. An immediate prohibition of drugs defined as illegal by the United States and its allies.
2. Reduction of military aid to countries not participating in the program.
3. Military intervention into organizations and even countries that actively participated in the smuggling of illegal drugs into the United States.
Fast forward to 2015 and available data shows that an estimated $51,000,000,000 is now spent annually in the U.S. directly towards the war on drugs.
In 2013 alone, 1.5 million people were arrested on nonviolent drug charges. Of those, almost 700,000 were for marijuana violations with an astounding 88 percent of those arrests as simple possession charges.
The costs have been astronomical and the problem still persists.
There may be a far better approach, however, as recently suggested by Chief Leonard Campanello of the Gloucester, MA Police Department.
A new program initiated by his department guarantees that if addicts turn their paraphernalia and drugs into his police department they not only will not get arrested, but they will also receive help in the form of rehabilitation.
It’s a novel concept, but one that is catching on quickly. What is the idea you ask? It’s simple – helping people rather than locking them away and throwing away the key.