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War on Drugs

Is the War on Drugs Being Waged From the Wrong Battlefront?

Just consider me Mary Poppins this morning: a little sweet Prince William to help the War on Drugs go down. The Prince is on the front lines of the battle — the warship the Prince is serving on just seized $80 million worth (almost two tons) of cocaine from a speedboat just north of Barbados.

William's ship is patrolling the waters of the West Indies looking for drug runners, and this score came early on in their mission. The ship's commanding officer said, "to have had a direct impact on the flow of cocaine into Europe just four days after we arrived in theatre shows the benefit the Royal Navy can have in the area of maritime security and counter drug operations."






Sounds like Prince William is saving the world from drugs, right? Well, the war is a little more complicated than that — and we may be focusing efforts at the wrong stage of drug production to make any difference. To see what I mean,


Though Prince William's seizure, and the White House both tout big coke scores as evidence the war is being won, other numbers paint a different picture.

A more expanded look at the data shows that cocaine use in the US isn't falling: the same percentage of Americans used coke in 2006 as they did in 2002, the number of high-school seniors using is growing, and drug shipments are up. Shipments have grown 39 percent from 2006 — that's enough to film a scene in Scarface for sure. Not to mention that drug related violence is sweeping through Mexico and Latin America; drug cartels are not scared of this "seize the powder" battle plan.

How could the war be fought more effectively? With less focus on the product (sorry William) and more focus on who's making it, and who's consuming it.

Spending more money on programs to wean coca farmers from the crop and while improving their lives is a start. By shelling out less money for security and policing, and more for economic development and a strengthening Mexico's judicial system, we could turn off the faucet at the tap, instead of bailing out the bathtub.

Where else? Focusing on the people in the tub. By expending more effort into curbing demand, emphasizing the treatment portion of the punishment for offenders, increasing education, and treating drug addiction more of public health problem than a law enforcement problem the customer base can be curbed.

Hey, I've seen The Wire and Nancy Reagan's guest appearance on Diff'rent Strokes — this War on Drugs thing is complicated. But focusing with a laser-intensity on the beginning of the supply, and the end user of the demand — we could make that giant pile of coke in the middle, just disappear.

What do you think? Is this war winnable?


Join The Conversation
salenakutrova salenakutrova 7 years
Wal-Mart has stepped to the front of the line when it comes to pharmacy's. With it's widely unknown four dollar prescription program, Wal-Mart is giving its consumers a wide range of generic medications for only four dollars. Pharmacy Mart
popgoestheworld popgoestheworld 9 years
We definitely need to purge the United States of all those that AC considers immoral. If we do not comply, we will go to hell. Got it.
Auntie-Coosa Auntie-Coosa 9 years
WAR on Drugs as if Drugs could fight back. It's a hostility towards the growers and refiners of illegal substances. And they're illegal for a reason. Should WE pay for farmers to grow some other product? There isn't enough money in all the Free World to pay off the farmers. We've tried and the Drug Cartels pay the farmers much more to grow the drugs. It's a losing proposition. How do we win? We win by curbing the appetite of people for the numbing effect of drugs (and alcohol). Now how do we do that? You won't like my answer, but I'll give it anyway. First, our Nation has to "take back" family life. We have to change indecent "welfare" programs that separate families and help men to be husbands and fathers in their families. Secondly, our Nation has to say "enough" when it comes to pornography and NAMBLA and sexual abuse of children and have a Federal Law that, given DNA evidence, a person found guilty of a heinous sex crime will be executed within six months of conviction. And "heinous" must be specifically spelled out . . . mutilation of victim, death of victim, victim under the age of 21. Thirdly, our Nation must guarantee protection of the married state . . . one man, one woman (no same gender, no polygamy). Fourthly, our Nation needs to seriously study the effects of all the "victim" and "minority" statuses that have been given to groups because they "yelled and threatened" and reduce the number to true cases of minorities. Fifthly, inclusiveness and politically correctness need to be dropped and true respect for others needs to be adopted. I could go on, but it's late and I'm going to sleep now. You get the drift? We are on the way to h3ll in a hand basket and it appears that everyone is self-absorbed and doesn't realize that the slide into chaos can be stopped, but it will take moral fortitude like this Country hasn't seen in over 200 years . . . on the part of ALL of the CITIZENS. And my bet is that people won't be willing to pay the emotional cost of reining in their self-centered desires. 'nite.
UnDave35 UnDave35 9 years
We could do a war on stupid, but too many democrats would end up on the wrong side then... (I kid, I kid)
True-Song True-Song 9 years
I'm opposed to war generally, of course, but especially to war on an abstract noun. War on Drugs! War on Terror! What's next? War on Stupid? War on Mean?
poizenisxkandee poizenisxkandee 9 years
the war on drugs is costing more money than causing benefits. one drug, at least, that should be legalized and then taxed the sh*t out of would be marijuana. just the other day i read in something i found on digg that it is less harmful than both tobacco and alcohol. so much money and effort spent on those above the influence commercials and on jailing people for possession would be able to put against more dangerous drugs. if marijuana were legalized and taxed and regulated, it would be safer and less expensive for the government. it shouldnt be "easy" to obtain either..maybe paperwork or a certain license. im not saying itd be perfect, im sure some kids might find a way around it or whatever, but itd be a step up from now. more dangerous drugs like cocaine and heroin, and the abuse of prescription drugs, should be fought against; not by using scare tactics but plain old education. ie mean girls sex ed lecture of "dont have sex because you will get pregnant and die" wont work; but teaching kids/people the harm that these substances cause to the body and mind and general health isnt worth the high.
KrisSugar KrisSugar 9 years
i don't see William ever using cocaine, but I think it's a funny pic considering all of the high-society he surely keeps company with, and what they would think of him taking all their shiz off the market. :)
stiletta stiletta 9 years
Drugs are such a scourge on our society that to do nothing isn't an option. I think this is a war and I do think we're making a difference. What else can we do except destroy the crops and arrest the dealers? Treatment is fine for users, but not if there's a constant supply to encourage recidivism.
popgoestheworld popgoestheworld 9 years
Somehow the idea of subsidizing other crops so that farmers don't grow coca is amusing to me. Unless the demand changes, the supply isn't going anywhere. And I don't think that seizing the drugs en route is bad, or that it takes away from fighting the war on drugs on other levels. I think that people will always do drugs. It doesn't bug me that much, unless it affects kids.
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