Spencer T. Utah

When Will it End?

Beginning to understand how the War on Drugs is affecting everyday lives of those around us, is step one

On average, the U.S. annually spends one-hundred billion dollars on illegal drugs:methamphetamine, marijuana, cocaine, and heroin. Drugs are no new thing. Medical applications of drugs have been around for nearly 10,600 years, and have continued to evolve. History has shown that when dealing with something that was created in ancient times, it tends to either die out over time or have an everlasting effect. There has always been that defining line between medical and recreational use, but during the past century recreational use has become abused and frowned upon. People have begun to take advantage of the ‘high’ created by the chemical properties of the drug, whether engineered or not. With greed present in the world, and the lust to climb the economic ladder to the top, people have begun mass producing and selling drugs on a global scale. Thus leading to Cartels, Gangs, and Criminal Organizations to become more powerful, and the government's counter-attack to the drug exploiters is to attack the lower ranks of their drug operation. My Father once was caught up in the life of drugs. When he arrived in the state of Hawaii, of the age of 15, he was seduced by the money, glamour, and power that selling drugs offered him that his family and lack of success that he would find in being an immigrant not knowing English. He slowly climbed that ladder of power and respect until, at the age of 25, he reached the point where he found himself at the inner ring of a very powerful drug cartel that sold cocaine out of Colombia into Southern California and Hawaii. What else could a young adult want? He had the money, the girls, the respect from those around him. He hated the life he built for himself. He hated the fact that he couldn’t turn his back for he was afraid he was in danger. Circumstances caused him to run, and he was barely able to escape the dangerous situation that he was in. After many dramatic experiences from a young age my dad will forever be changed, and has begged his children not to follow suite for the social “norm” but to build a life away from something so destructive as drugs. It just goes to show that drugs have a strong and unwavering grasp on reality as we know it. It is not a problem to simply go away, because it just simply won’t. Yet it affects the lives of so many that we cannot just turn a blind eye. America as a whole should come together and help those who are statistically bound to fall into the life of drugs.

During the President Nixon’s time in office he “declared war on drugs,” stating, “America’s public enemy number one in the United States is drug abuse.” Understanding the long term effects of this decision were unforeseen much like any decision, but some time before Nixon declared war on drugs, congress was outlawing drugs, but for a different reason. The congress outlawed opium and cocaine to be able to restrict the blacks and the Chinese immigrants from having access to drugs, because the white community believed that the Chinese were luring women with the opium and taking advantage of them. One flaw in the war on drugs is the fact that it is mainly people of color that is convicted of these crimes of trafficking, in possession, and/or illegal use of drugs. Michael Williams shared a very strong statistic in his article, “The War on Drugs is a War on People,” that states, “Almost 60% of the people in prison today are people of color, and 1 in 3 black men born today face the likelihood of imprisonment.” I strongly believe that if we were to give aid and try to get those that are statistically to fall into this category that it will help decrease the amount of those incarcerated because of drugs decrease. We would still keep laws in place to keep order, but without the lower ranks of drug distribution business the empires that are built off of dirty money will begin to crumble.

There are millions of different strains of each drug that are known to man, and each is engineered to make the common man experience something new, and people are more than willing to try the product they offer. Whether it is to make them vomit uncontrollably, hallucinate to imagine their worst fear, or to be so far out of reality they are unable to remember their name sometimes even their current location. There is obviously a counterpart to the subject of illegal drugs, using a select few of these named drugs to help with medical issues such as cancer, but drugs like heroin and cocaine are solely used for the illegal consumption aspect. The criminal organizations that have stayed on top of trends and keep bringing new products to the table are the ones that succeed. Also it also weighs heavily on how they disguise the drug, whether it looks like pop-rocks, valentines candy, or even suckers they will continue to come up with smarter more imaginative ways to distribute drugs.

On an international scale 208 million people consumed illegal drugs in the previous month alone. Understanding the magnitude of that number is quite difficult, but if you were to take the whole population of Brazil that makes it roughly equivalent. Within these 208 million there is no easy way of life. It is hard to help those outside our borders, so let us start here. Then if we succeed,move onto the world. Each and every one of these individuals has a story to tell and has a background they come from, each is different. Some may have come from a great background and along the lines something happened it caused them to revert to drugs, others may have fallen subject to the statistics that ravage the planet. Some are trying to get out, but they cannot find the refuge where they need it. Some have the means to be able to end their ways of illegal drugs others are not, because for some it might be the only way to allow their children to eat, go to school, and live in a home. There are also those who are incapable of paying for a ridiculously expensive program to help them end the addiction they have found themselves in. If the government were to set up a program to help them back onto their feet instead of incarcerating them into a cell to rot and have self-loathe I strongly believe it will help clean up America.

War is a strong word that has gained its reputation through bloodshed and violence, so when it is declared upon another nation, being, or concept, it is of our best interest to win the war. Strategics, planning, and action all needs to come to the table when fighting a war, and it takes the combined effort of the people to win. If we are to win this long-waged war against illegal drugs, we must come together as a people lift those in need up and no longer sit aside and watch as it tears gashes in our country. I must hope and believe that the world that my children grow up in is a much cleaner and safer place. Future president, would you be the person to credit that too?

Spanish Fork High School

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