When society traditionally thinks of the people who desire to end the #War on Drugs, what are the images that come to mind? Long-haired cannabis smoking, acid dropping hippies. Timothy Leary with his advocacy of psychedelic drugs and the phrase, "Tune In. Tune On. Drop Out." Yet these stereotypes have no application when concerning the modern War on Drugs, as both drug use and drug misuse (or addiction) are treated as the same issue, when they are two different issues entirely. People traditionally think of Republicans as the firmest supporters of the War on Drugs. Yet cannabis and the plants rapid increase in legalization for recreational use in the states, including Alaska, California, the District of Columbia, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada and Oregon; would not have been possible, nay it would have remained politically impossible, without a mixture of conservative and liberal voters supporting the measure to legalize, regulate, and tax cannabis like alcohol.

Advertisements
Advertisements

Conservatives may not believe so, some may bitterly fight against any such notion, but they have strong reasons to oppose, and even to campaign for the end of the War on Drugs in America. These documents reasons below, illustrate that drug use and drug addiction cross all socioeconomic and political barriers, as a worldwide issue. We must unite under a common banner, to repeal the failed prohibitionist and repressive criminal approach to mental illness, and fight a dramatically smarter fight, one where we remove all of the cash flow from criminals and drug dealers and the overpopulated private prison industry, and place that money instead, in updated rehabilitation centers for the 21st century, one where both abstinence and harm reduction are given equal billing and respect.

Advertisements

There is no "One Size Fits All" approach to recovery, therefore relying on such an approach will ensure more addiction, and more deaths from the War on Drugs that cannot be won with the same broken policies we have been relying on for the past 50 years and over a trillion dollars flushed down the drain.

Big Government = Anti-Conservative

1) The War on Drugs is anti-conservative at its very corrupt core. Conservative values tackle #Big Government, and demand a smaller presence of government bureaucracies lest people's liberties and freedoms get taken away. The War on Drugs is big brother and big government in its fundamental design, attempting to police and legislate morality with an issue filled with shades of gray. Addiction is not an issue of morality, but a public health concern, yet we refuse to change our attitudes on the subject, even as our prisons remain filled with non-violent offenders. Conservatives believe in cutting taxes and eliminating wasteful spending. What could exist as a bigger landfill waste of taxpayer dollars then throwing trillions of dollars at prohibition and the criminalization model, which has failed to reduce supply, and does next to nothing to reduce demand the way harm reduction and educationally objective, nonbiased drug education can help our children make healthier choices for themselves?

Removal Of Criminal Enterprises Worth Illicit Billions

2) Regulation and taxation of the illicit narcotics market will remove profits from dangerous predatory criminals.

Advertisements

The drug dealers who control the prohibited market deal in violence because their product is illegal, and they can protect their profits in no other fashion, surrounded by other dealers looking to murder them and steal their drugs and cash flow away. Why would anyone desire to buy marijuana from a black market drug dealer, when they can get a legal version of the product for less than half the price? Regulation also decreases the dangers of narcotics, decreasing overdoses and needless deaths. Our current regulation policy is a total free-for-all, in which an underage adolescent can easily purchase marijuana without an ID, simply paper trails, whereas they need ID in order to purchase liquor, an even more dangerous, but more socially acceptable drug. The chemicals are entirely unregulated, manufactured by criminals in clandestine laboratories and sold without ID to the public, no ability to regulate the chemicals or regulate the price, feeding crime when the addict can no longer pay for an illicit dose of a high value black-market product. Yet the fact remains, why would a government pushing the War on Drugs want safer drugs? They never will, because it would interfere with their moralizing policy over common sense and compassion.

Racial Profiling

3) #racial profiling has damaged the American publics trust in our law enforcement, with black people twice as likely to get incarcerated for non-violent drug offenses as whites despite equal levels of drug use. If Jeff Sessions white nationalist perspective influences our policy on the drug war, it will spell disaster for our citizens and African American communities everywhere, who will become caged at rising rates for crimes their white contemporaries are doing at just the same rates. The 1980's cocaine fiasco proved how deep this racism bleeds into the War on Drugs. Crack was thought to remain a poor person's drug, and powder cocaine a sign of wealth, luxury, and affluence due to its high price on the black market. Therefore, crack cocaine arrests have disproportionately jailed African Americans stuck in urban neighborhoods ridden with crime and violence, given records that ensure they will never find regular steady work again, and must now turn to hustling narcotics to escape the rat race, and the fact that the law traps people trying to escape addictive behaviors is inexcusable in 2017, with the scientific advances we are beginning to make in understanding addiction, and evolving the global perspective beyond the 12 Step model of powerlessness and learned helplessness.

Underfunded Mental Healthcare

4) As I have previously stated in my research, our rehabilitation centers remain underfunded and stuck a century in the past in regards to treatment. Most are 12 Step based with a low remission rate. If we legalized all drugs and funneled the profits into education and rehabilitation, we could advance rehab into modern medicine instead of ridiculous pseudo-science. Patients would be given all manner of options from abstinence models to harm reduction treatment to achieve the best outcome for the patient. Our current model lumps all substance misusers and mentally ill individuals into a "One Size Fits All" policy, a disaster that has never worked. People turn to self-harming or escapist behaviors for unique reasons, or unresolved traumas. Yet our government does not care, they want a solution to the epidemic that is simple and doesn't raise any controversial re-evaluations of our past approach, which will ensure total failure unless we completely change course, and forget everything we have ever known about drugs, addiction, and recovery itself, becoming willing to wipe the slate clean and open our minds and hearts to change in our drug laws that ensures less death, not millions more of it.