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The War on Drugs, like the war on Terrorism, is a war that America may not be able to afford to win. For over forty years the United States has been fighting the War on Drugs and there is no end in sight. It has turned into a war that is about politics and economics rather than about drugs and criminals. The victims of this war are numerous; but perhaps they are not as numerous as those who benefit from the war itself.
History of U.S Drug Policy:
While laws prohibiting the use of drugs, in one form or another, can be traced back to the 1870s, it was not until 1968, when Richard M. Nixon was elected President, that our current drug war was conceived. In 1970 Congress passed the Comprehensive Drug Abuse and Control Act.(2) With an emphasis on law enforcement, the act replaced and updated all previous laws concerning narcotics and other drugs. When Nixon officially declared the “War on Drugs” in 1971, his administration claimed that heroin use was responsible for 18 billion dollars in property crime a year and that there were upwards of 315,000 addicts in the United States. (2)