(RepublicanReport.org) – The so-called “War on Drugs” has been ongoing for decades. It began under the Nixon administration in 1971. President Ronald Reagan greatly expanded it in 1981, pumping vast amounts of resources into various programs, and founding the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
For all that, however, it’s not clear the effort has been successful in any regard. Drug use is still widespread and growing. Illegal narcotics are easy to source in every area of the country, and drug-related deaths are as common as ever. So is it time to try something different?
Should We Consider Legalizing Drugs?
Over the last five decades, United States taxpayers have spent an estimated $1 trillion combating the sale and purchase of illegal narcotics. Unfortunately, much of the drug fight ended up with incarcerations, and it’s not clear the results have been positive. We now have a greater proportion of our adult population behind bars than any other developed nation on the planet, with people of color suffering the most from the trend.
Of course, this would be reasonable if we were locking up key figures in the drug market and saving innocent lives in the process. But, unfortunately, we’re not. Additionally, drug overdose deaths are on the rise; according to the CDC, a whopping 100,000 people died from overdoses in the 12 months between April 2020 and April 2021, a marked increase on the previous year’s figure.
The Fentanyl Problem
A major part of this problem is the rapidly expanding threat fentanyl poses. Drug distribution outfits use the synthetic opioid as a cutting agent for different drugs, such as heroin and counterfeit opioid pills. Customs and Border Patrol statistics have noted a massive uptick in fentanyl seizures in recent months, which many are attributing to President Joe Biden’s haphazard approach to border security.
Is There a Better Way?
Though it may seem a radical proposition, considering the hugely damaging effects drug use can have on individuals and societies, an increasing number of experts are starting to suggest that some form of legalization or decriminalization of narcotics might be the solution to the problem.
Some countries, such as Portugal and Switzerland, have experimented with decriminalization and reported positive results. Because the system allows users to access uncontaminated drugs and administer them in safe, supervised settings, the risk of overdose decreases substantially. Not only that, but full legalization also offers major benefits in terms of public finances. Instead of spending money chasing drug users and dealers, we could be collecting it in the form of taxes from sales and other sources.
Do you think this strategy is something our policymakers should consider?
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