Casualties from the War on Drugs
As in any war, there will be casualties, there will be collateral damage, and there will be war-profiteering by enterprising parties who, in the guise of protecting freedom and the innocent youth of this nation under God, conceived in liberty, and wherein lies justice for all, have their own interests to protect. The war on drugs was, and still is, no exception. To date, the U.S. has the highest incarceration rate in the world, and not surprisingly, there is an ongoing debate as to whether privately owned prisons should replace publically owned prisons.
In 1986, Congress passed laws that created a 100 to 1 sentencing disparity between the penalties for possession of crack cocaine (predominant in inner cities affecting minorities the most) compared to penalties for possession of powder cocaine (predominant in suburban upper-middle class America). In other words, possession of 5 grams of crack carried the same sentence as possession of 500 grams of powder. In the first 5 years under Ronald Reagan, his administration gradually enforced mandatory minimum sentencing and the forfeiture of cash and real estate of drug offenders.
Using the tragic death by overdose of basketball star, Len Bias in 86, Reagan was able to pass the Anti-Drug Abuse Act, which allocated an additional 1.7 million dollars to the war on drugs. The foundation on which this war was created was never solid. It didn’t begin with good intentions. As a result, this war has created a permanent class of Americans who will always have trouble finding gainful employment. Drug use and abuse has increased in the youth of the country, and our prisons are dangerously over populated with non-violent drug offenders. And that’s just a few of the many domestic problems this war has created.