The So-Called War on Drugs

Page Three
The War on Drugs, Page One

This page consists of links to numerous web sites which have information concerning the use and effects of psychoactive drugs and concerning the consequences to society of the criminalization of drug usage. Numerous documents that were linked to in earlier versions of this page have moved or have disappeared. None of the links below are guaranteed to remain valid, so if you find a page that you wish to see again it's best to save it to disk.

Links on this page were added during 1996-2003. For similar links added after 2003 see:

Prohibition: The So-Called War on Drugs, Page Two

At this time the Gulag Archipelago, the scattered islands of prisons in which hundreds of thousands of non-violent people are locked away for half their lives for their opposition to the disgraceful and immoral policies of a tyrannical and dictatorial state, is not in Russia, rather it is in the United States of America. This is a crime against humanity for which the government of the United States is and will long be despised.

America, with less than 5 percent of the world population, has a quarter of the world's prisoners. There are six times as many Americans behind bars as are imprisoned in the 12 countries that make up the entire European Union, even though those countries have 100 million more citizens than the United States. Our jails and prisons have become the 51st state, with a greater combined population than Alaska, North Dakota and South Dakota. — Editorial, San Jose Mercury News, 1999-12-31.

The Effective National Drug Control Strategy

"Contrary to General McCaffrey's claims, the drug war still relies overwhelmingly on incarcerating drug users and trying to interdict drugs - the two least effective methods of reducing drug abuse," said Kevin Zeese, President of Common Sense for Drug Policy and one of the report's lead authors.  "We know what works, but General McCaffrey keeps investing in strategies that are destroying families, hurting kids and undermining the Constitution."

The Network of Reform Groups (NRG) - a coalition of two dozen organizations working for more sensible drug policies, who collectively represent over 100,000 people - examined government data and independent research, concluded that the drug war has not deterred children from using illegal drugs, nor has it resulted in fewer deaths and injuries from drug use.

The report found that:

  • The U.S.  government spent $3.6 billion on the drug war in 1988, and will spend $17.9 billion in 1999 - $2 out of $3 are spent on law enforcement.

  • From 1985 to 1995, 85 percent of the increase in the federal prison population was due to drug convictions.   Due to mandatory sentencing drug offenders spend more time in jail (82.2 months) than rapists (73.3 months).

  • Drug overdose deaths are up 540 percent since 1980, 33 people per day are infected with HIV from injection drug use and it is becoming the engine for a new epidemic -- Hepatitis C.

  • The price of heroin and cocaine has dropped since 1981, while purity of both drugs has increased.

The report recommends that the Drug Czar

  • Create a non-partisan panel of experts to evaluate current drug control efforts.  All options from legalization to prohibition should be considered.

  • Provide funding for drug treatment on request and require coverage of drug treatment by health insurance.

  • Increase funding for drug abuse prevention and redirect DARE funding into more effective programs.

  • Increase drug treatment services for women.

  • End the sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine as well as racially disproportionate law enforcement.

  • Allow judges to sentence drug offenders by eliminating "mandatory minimum" drug sentences.

  • Provide federal funding for needle exchange programs.

  • Reverse the trend toward cutting school budgets to invest in prisons.

  • Enact "family friendly" laws that keep families together, kids in school and social networks intact.

— quoted from DrugSense Weekly, March 5, 1999, #88

A copy of the entire Serendipity website is available on CD-ROM.  Details here.

Prohibition: The So-Called War on Drugs
Page One     Page Two
Top of page A Drug War Reading List
Serendipity Home Page