The war on drugs has taken many forms and evolved in order to combat an increasingly organized distribution network throughout the world without much success in modern times. There are a plethora of excuses as to why after hundreds of billions of investments there are more drugs, addictions and drug-related violence on our streets all of which seem to make sense until they are examined for what they are; complex lies designed to fool the public while at the same time encouraging the use of the substances that are supposedly being banned. Why are drugs illegal and why with all the money invested in prevention does the problem seem to get worse year by year? In the real world, there is no reason to stop the flow of drugs, prevent addiction or stop drug related violence. You see, drugs are big business that serves, not only to enrich corporations, destroy the family and community structure but also to ensnare any victim of their use into the multi-billion dollar prison system.
It’s no secret how much money people spend on illegal drugs but one aspect that remains hidden in mainstream news is how much of it is laundered through international banks and the stock market. While there aren’t any concrete numbers of exactly how much drug money is laundered through world banks; the IMF estimated in 1996 between two to five percent of the world’s gross national product is subject to money laundering (drugs make up a large portion of that money) with the low estimates ranging at 500 billion dollars and the high upwards of 2 trillion dollars. The amount of money being laundered is so great that Reuters reported on January 9th 2009, that drug money had actually propped up failing banks, keeping them afloat during the financial crisis.
Aside from the direct money that drugs create, they also create thousands of jobs throughout the United States through the governments War on Drugs. According to the Bureau of Justice statistics 20 percent state inmates were sentenced due to drug related crimes it does not mention however the percentage of violent crime is resulting from drug violence and trafficking. Either way, all of the inmates need somewhere to go and that’s where prisons get funding from. Non-violent money is so important to the prison system that in 2008 the California Prison Guards Union fought against Proposition 5, which would offer rehabilitation programs to nonviolent offenders because it would reduce the size of the prison population and therefore result in lost jobs. The drug trade has been a very profitable part of the prison business with no signs of a decline any time soon.
One of the greatest effects of the current drug laws can be seen in poor communities throughout the country, namely the destruction of the family structure in inner cities. As the drugs flow into the community and the jobs flow out, the residents are given a choice to either sell drugs or work a low paying job that can barely sustain the worker. While the drug money is good for a time, there is always the ever present danger of being arrested and placed in jail which leaves many families without strong and capable male role models. The end result of the low end drug dealing in many urban areas is children are left without parents to raise them in the proper way but who in turn are raised on the streets by drug dealers and criminals. The degradation of the family structure only serves to create future uneducated drug dealers and addicts to perpetuate the cycle of hopelessness that the residents of the poorer neighbor hoods have come to live in. What better way is there to keep people in the prison system while at the same time keeping them from questioning the abysmal living situation that they’re in?
With all of these contributing factors, it’s obvious that there is no real reason for government to stop the flow of drugs onto the streets, there’s simply too much money and control that’s comes from prohibition. It’s no wonder that the CIA has be caught numerous times shipping drugs into the country, one of the most famous examples was during the Iran Contra Affair where drugs were shipped into inner cities, and supported the production of drugs throughout the world. Even the war on terror has helped the global drug trade by removing the anti-heroin Taliban and ignoring the explosion of poppy farmers which has all lead to an increase in heroin flowing through the global markets.
Hollywood likes to portray drugs like they’re cool and a form of rebellion but as I’ve shown; drug use only furthers the agenda of the people and corporations in power. Due to all of the pro-drug propaganda even the mainstream news and children’s shows advertises legal drugs to combat depression or any other conditions that can be created in the mind of marketers. We are totally surrounded by drugs and encouraged to use them by the mainstream media who portray them as a quick fix to all of a person’s problems. Even though most of the advertising is for legal drugs, it wouldn’t be a big step; those drugs are used illegally and create an acceptance of usage in general life.
People need to step back and take a look at the world that they live in and ask themselves if they want to live in a world of addiction and dependence or if they would like a real change. It would be easier, in the short term at least, to keep the war on drugs functioning in the way that it has. Real change would come at a high price, the economy would suffer, jobs would be lost and we’d have to come to terms with the idea that drugs have been and always will be a part of society. With the acceptance that drugs will never go away, real policies, treatment and education would be just a step away but in the end, no pill could dull the withdraw that society would feel real drug reform would bring.