Hot Potato: Food for Thought
Where Did All the Money Go?
The War On Drugs
1997 July 30

The US holds the dubious honor of competing with Russia for imprisoning the highest percentage of its population. In the US, about half of all prisoners are serving time for drug-related offenses.

Why is it that in the home of the free, so many people want to control what other people do with their own bodies? With the crystal-clear example of Prohibition still within living memory, America criminalized drug use and imposed draconian sentences on those unlucky enough to get caught. Just as with Prohibition, this serves only to hand a profitable business to the mob.

In 1996, the US spent $15 billion on the war on drugs. This war has now been waged for 30 years. During this period, more kinds of drugs have become more widely available at lower prices. Prisons are overflowing and costs are soaring. Even such stalwarts as George Schultz have called for new thinking. Prohibition does not work. Legalizing drugs would provide a new source of taxes and remove an important profit center from the mob's control. Once drugs are legalized, the profit motive for getting kids to take drugs disappears.

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