The war on drugs is probably the longest and the most brutal war America has ever been involved in. However, like in the war on terrorism, the government is losing its positions constantly due to the counterproductive strategies of the drug dealers. Needless to say, the California state government is doing everything possible to confront the drug crimes, though the war on drugs takes millions of dollars from the treasury, destroys families, lives, ruins health, and overcrowds prisons. In this essay about drugs, I will focus on the war on drugs and prison overcrowding in California, giving possible solutions to the problems stated above.
Surprisingly, a great percentage of American citizens believe the drug war to be a complete failure, as far as many people still consume drugs for, supposedly, medical reasons, or do not interpret drug usage being a crime. For instance, Proposition 36, passed by the Californians in the year of 2000, actually legally recognized small possessions of drugs for individuals entering treatment procedures. Back in 1996, Californians also legalized the consumption of marijuana for medical purposes, opening new horizons for drug dealers. Moreover, California was one of the states that freed up needle exchange programs and customized procedures that directly benefited police agencies, which confiscate the drug-related products. Nonetheless, the Congress seems to be unwilling to pass additional acts to penalize the eagerness of the drug police officers. The most popular punishment exercised to punish the drug abuse in California is imprisonment. “California now imprisons its citizens for drug offenses at twice the national average” (Getting Smart in the War on Drugs, 2000). Furthermore, today more people are incarcerated for simple drug possession rather than for drug usage or dealership. However, California still has the highest rates of drug exploitation in the country. There is a sound evidence that something has to be done to reduce the number of imprisonments exercised to punish drug possession, as far as it leads to prison overcrowding and does not affect the problem of drug dealership and drug misuse among the masses.
The clear purpose of all Californians is to realize the importance of criminal justice to be ensuring the diminishing number of victims of drug abuse, instead of multiplying the inmates. In this war on drugs essay, one of the solutions to the problem might be a strict adherence to the Substance Abuse and Crime Prevention Act (Proposition 36), which directly protects the minor possessors of drugs from being imprisoned, obliging them to undergo special treatment. “The non-partisan Legislative Analyst’s Office estimates that the measure would save the state between $100 million to $150 million a year in unneeded prison costs. In addition, counties would save $50 million a year in jail costs, and there would be one-time savings of $500 million in prison construction costs” (Getting Smart in the War on Drugs, 2000). The saved funds might be used to create a treatment fund to ensure qualified dealing with individuals charged with drug possession. Another possible solution might be instituting a governmental organization that would distribute drugs according to the current legislature, acquire profits from the transactions and educates people on the harms of using the drugs. In this case, much attention should be paid to education and treatment. Funds needed for these necessary acts can be drawn from the legal distribution of drugs. The ultimate solution is to pass a series of laws, which would make marijuana and other light drugs legal on the territory of the United States. Holland is one of the countries that have already applied the toleration of cannabis, which has greatly affected the prevention of hard drugs consumed by children.
In conclusion, I would like to reiterate this essay on drugs that imprisonment does not deter drug abuse. Prisons are overcrowded, while drugs are still being sold by the drug dealers, resulting in additional expenses for treatment purposes. Incarcerating should be only applied in cases of severe drug abuse, rather than exercising this method for penalizing drug possessors. There is hope that California could, if not win the war on drugs, then at least improve its fighting capabilities, by means of reformation and legalization.
- War on Drugs and Marijuana in California. (2007, March). California Progress Report. Retrieved March 16, 2009, from http://www.californiaprogressreport.com/2007/03/the_war_on_drug.html
- Getting Smart in the War on Drugs. (2000, October). Jinn Magazine. Retrieved March 16, 2009, from http://www.pacificnews.org/jinn/stories/6.20/001009-getting.html
- Stop Filling Prisons, California. (2008, February). Drug War Chronicle. Retrieved March 16, 2009, from http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/524/california_nora_initiative_headed_for_ballot