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War on Drugs

June 2, 2006 • Volume 16, Issue 21
Should nonviolent drug users be subject to arrest?
By Peter Katel

Introduction

A Coast Guardsman watches over 11.5 tons of cocaine seized in the war on drugs. Since 2001, the United States has increased by 64 percent the amount spent to halt illegal drug shipments, destroy foreign coca fields and arrest dealers and users, as treatment and prevention funds increased by 2 percent.  (USCG photo/Petty Officer Brian N. Leshak)
A Coast Guardsman watches over 11.5 tons of cocaine seized in the war on drugs. Since 2001, the United States has increased by 64 percent the amount spent to halt illegal drug shipments, destroy foreign coca fields and arrest dealers and users, as treatment and prevention funds increased by 2 percent. (USCG photo/Petty Officer Brian N. Leshak)

President Bush's anti-drug campaign has increasingly focused on a law-enforcement model that attacks the “supply side” of the illegal drug industry — traffickers, smugglers and users — rather than on helping users through prevention and treatment, the so-called demand side. He also would like more middle and high schools to conduct random drug tests, although few have signed on. And although the Food and Drug Administration in April declared that smoked marijuana lacks any known medicinal properties, 12 states now bar state prosecution of those who use marijuana for medical purposes. The number of people arrested annually on marijuana-related charges has skyrocketed — from 400,000 in the 1980s to about 700,000 — partly because low-level drug offenders now can be diverted to one of more than 1,750 new “drug courts,” where their cases are dismissed if they stay straight. The Bush administration says it has struck the right balance between treatment and law enforcement.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Drug Abuse and Trafficking
Jun. 03, 2011  Teen Drug Use
Jun. 12, 2009  Legalizing MarijuanaUpdated
Dec. 12, 2008  Mexico's Drug War
Feb. 09, 2007  Combating Addiction
Jun. 02, 2006  War on Drugs
Jul. 15, 2005  Methamphetamine
Jul. 28, 2000  Drug-Policy Debate
Nov. 20, 1998  Drug Testing
Jan. 06, 1995  Treating Addiction
Mar. 19, 1993  War on Drugs
Feb. 23, 1990  Does the War on Drugs Need a New Strategy?
May 20, 1988  The Business of Illicit Drugs
Jan. 23, 1987  Experimental Drugs
Feb. 08, 1985  The Fight Against Drug Smuggling
Aug. 27, 1982  Cocaine: Drug of the Eighties
Jun. 11, 1982  Prescription-Drug Abuse
Jan. 23, 1976  Changing U.S. Drug Policy
Dec. 13, 1972  World Drug Traffic
May 27, 1970  Heroin Addiction
Jan. 27, 1965  Psychotoxic Drugs
Jul. 18, 1962  Narcotics Addiction: Punishment or Treatment
Sep. 05, 1956  Control of Drug Addiction
Mar. 28, 1951  Drug Addiction
BROWSE RELATED TOPICS:
Crime and Law Enforcement
Drug Abuse
Marijuana Legalization
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