Research Paper Idea on War against Narcotics in the USA

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Research Paper Idea on War against Narcotics in the USA

The US government has taken many initiatives that are intended to reduce the production, distribution, and utilization of narcotics. The United States of America has been fighting a battle against the use of illegitimate drugs for four decades.

Richard Nixon who was an ex-American President declared drugs as “Public Enemy Number One”.   The official term used for this battle is “War on Drugs“.

This campaign works toward the goal of decreasing the illegal drug trade. This war first began in the 1980s after the cocaine importation tragedy.

Around 350 billion US dollars per annum are spent on this battle. But despite all the money spent, no significant reduction in the use of narcotics has been noticed in the past couple of years. Basic changes in the US drug control strategies are immediately required.


There was no acknowledged drug problem in the US in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Alcohol, cigarettes, and drugs including cocaine, heroin, and opium were all permitted.

Drug and alcohol misuse were solely seen to be personal problems in the 1900s and not something that the federal government should be concerned about. But opinions started to shift.

Early anti-drug thought was mostly motivated by pervasive racist assumptions about certain substances and their possible impact on minority communities; nevertheless, there were also some valid worries.

During the same time period, middle-class American women who were given prescriptions for laudanum to relieve their menstrual cramps had an upsurge in addiction rates.

Due to these difficulties, the US government decided that control was essential. The Harrison Narcotics Tax Act of 1914 was the government’s first effort at regulating.

A federal law known as the Harrison Narcotics Tax Act was passed to levy taxes on the manufacture, distribution, importation, and sale of coca leaves, opium, and any derivatives of either.

The 18th Amendment to the Constitution, often known as Prohibition, which forbade the production, sale, and distribution of alcohol, was the second effort at drug prohibition. It was ratified in 1919.

However, once prohibition was passed, individuals started creating their own alcoholic beverage known as moonshine, which led to a rise in the sale and use of alcohol.

In addition, the law helped usher in a period of crime that launched the careers of some of the nation’s most notorious criminals, including Al Capone.

Prostitution, illicit gaming establishments, and bootlegging all offered lucrative business opportunities, with alcohol serving as the preferred beverage. By enacting the 21st Amendment in 1933, prohibition was abolished.

Human Rights Watch Statistics

For several decades following the end of prohibition, the country’s focus on drug misuse and consumption would decrease. But by the 1960s, drug usage had grown increasingly accepted, and attempts by the authorities to rein it in had failed.

The Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs was established by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1968. Operation Intercept, which included a plan to examine every automobile entering the United States, was put into action at the Mexican border in 1969.

The Human Rights Watch statistics demonstrate that the war against drugs caused increasing arrest rates which purposely targeted African Americans. According to a story published in Washington Post, about 1.5 million US citizens are arrested each year due to drug crimes, and half a million are imprisoned.

Also, one in five black Americans is arrested due to drug offenses. The policies are reactive instead of proactive. The drug control policies are focused on fighting crime and do not find ways to prevent them. The government has to realize that this is not a battle that can be won with the help of nuclear weapons.

War Against The Usage of Narcotics

The War against the usage of narcotics has always been a highly debatable issue since the beginning. In the year 2008, a public survey established that three in every four US citizens believe that opinion the War on Drugs is not achieving the desired objectives.

Many critics argue that United States’ central and state authorities have selected faulty techniques to fight the production of illegal drugs. The focal point of government strategies has been a punishment in spite of treating the main reason behind drug addiction.  The War on Drugs has generated a money-making black market. This war is a never-ending struggle if the US government does not make the requisite changes in its policies.

Despite the negative consequences of this war, there is a critical requirement to explore alternative strategies that might produce improved results. There is an urgent need for drug policy reforms. The policies against the drug trade should focus on the traffickers.

Modern Drug War

Richard Nixon, the president, declared war on narcotics in 1971. Nixon attacked drug misuse on the demand and supply sides of the equation. Both the temperance view and the illness concept of addiction are reflected in Nixon’s drug policy.

The first considerable federal support of treatment programs was started by Nixon. The government began funding the then-experimental and highly contentious methadone maintenance program in 1971.

As long as there is a need, there will be those prepared to accept the risks of satisfying the want, Nixon said in a speech to Congress in June 1971. He said in public that all attempts at interdiction and eradication are doomed to fail.

Unfortunately, Nixon ignored his own counsel. Nixon started a significant interdiction campaign in Mexico. In 1973, the Drug Enforcement Agency was established. Operation Intercept was started, which put pressure on Mexico to control its marijuana farmers.

The United States government invested hundreds of millions of dollars in border security. Trade between the United States and Mexico essentially ceased. While in queue at the border, vast quantities of Mexican crops that were being sent to the United States perished.

Nixon ultimately succeeded in his mission to reduce the flow of Mexican marijuana into the United States. However, Columbia quickly took over as America’s marijuana supply from Mexico.

Decriminalization of marijuana didn’t fail; it just didn’t happen as planned. Cocaine consumption significantly increased throughout the Carter administration.

Drug Debate

Cocaine usage in America grew from 19 to 25 tons to 71 to 137 tons between 1978 and 1984. In just six years, the demand for cocaine rose up to 700 percent. Cannabis was frequently used as a feeder drug for cocaine.

As a result, the federal and state governments turned away from decriminalizing marijuana. Reagan’s remarks in 1981 echoed Nixon’s acknowledgment that pursuing the supply-side of the drug war was a lost strategy.

It is impossible to categorize those who support drug policy as Liberal, Conservative, Left, Right, Democratic, or Republican.

While some Conservatives, including Milton Friedman and William Buckley, promote drug legalization, many Liberals and Democrats, including the 103rd Congress, support drug prohibition and supply-side measures. However, there are three widely held perspectives on addiction in America that emerged from the country’s perspectives on alcoholism.

According to the Colonial or Moralist perspective, drug users are sinners with moral flaws. The issue is not with the medicine itself. The moralist’s approach to drug regulation includes harsh penalties for users. Drug usage is unlawful.

Second, the Temperance viewpoint sees drugs as the root of addiction and addictive substances. A public safety concern is the drug supply. The temperance viewpoint contends that drug policy should target drug traffickers and smugglers as the source of drug abuse.

The temperance perspective on addiction has had a significant impact on U.S. drug policy. The illness concept sees addiction as a condition that can be treated. Drug addiction is not the fault of the drug user or the drug seller.

According to the illness model, drug policy should prioritize drug treatment and rehabilitation. For instance, Clinton accepted the idea of a sickness and boosted financing for programs that treat it.


For almost 25 years, the US has been involved in a “war.” a conflict in which it is extremely unclear why we are fighting and if we are doing it for the proper reasons.

Divergent viewpoints and arbitrary statistical evidence hinder the end of the battle. The “war on drugs” is the conflict that has been ongoing. Everyone will probably concur that drugs are bad and have significant negative medical impacts. Drugs may damage a family, a work, and a life; they are addicted.

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