War on drugs

counter-narcoticsdrug interdictiondrug wardrugscounter narcoticsdrug warsdrug policydrug policy of the United Statesillicit drug marketAmerican drug policy
The war on drugs is a campaign, led by the U.S. federal government, of drug prohibition, military aid, and military intervention, with the stated aim being to reduce the illegal drug trade in the United States.wikipedia
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Global Commission on Drug Policy

UNGASS 2016
In June 2011, the Global Commission on Drug Policy released a critical report on the War on Drugs, declaring: "The global war on drugs has failed, with devastating consequences for individuals and societies around the world. Fifty years after the initiation of the UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, and years after President Nixon launched the US government's war on drugs, fundamental reforms in national and global drug control policies are urgently needed."
In June 2011, the commission said: "The global war on drugs has failed, with devastating consequences for individuals and societies around the world."

Prohibition of drugs

illegal drugdrug prohibitionprohibition
The war on drugs is a campaign, led by the U.S. federal government, of drug prohibition, military aid, and military intervention, with the stated aim being to reduce the illegal drug trade in the United States.
In the 20th century, the United States led a major renewed surge in drug prohibition called the "War on Drugs".

Drug Policy Alliance

DPA
Today, the Drug Policy Alliance, which advocates for an end to the War on Drugs, estimates that the United States spends $51 billion annually on these initiatives.
The Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) is a New York City-based non-profit organization, led by executive director Maria McFarland Sánchez-Moreno, with the principal goal of ending the American "War on Drugs".

Race and the War on Drugs

disproportionately targeted African Americansracial disparitiesracial disparities in the prison population
According to Human Rights Watch, the War on Drugs caused soaring arrest rates that disproportionately targeted African Americans due to various factors.
The War on Drugs is a term for the actions taken and legislation enacted by the United States government, intended to reduce or eliminate the production, distribution, and use of illicit drugs.

Incarceration in the United States

mass incarcerationmaximum security prisonmaximum security
The result of increased demand was the development of privatization and the for-profit prison industry.
In recent decades the U.S. has experienced a surge in its prison population, quadrupling since 1980, partially as a result of mandatory sentencing that came about during the "War on Drugs."

Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986

Anti-Drug Abuse Act1986 Anti-Drug Abuse Act
Then, driven by the 1986 cocaine overdose of black basketball star Len Bias, Reagan was able to pass the Anti-Drug Abuse Act through Congress.
The Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986 was a law of the War on Drugs passed by the U.S. Congress.

Ronald Reagan

ReaganPresident ReaganPresident Ronald Reagan
Shortly after Ronald Reagan became president in 1981, he delivered a speech on the topic.
In his first term he survived an assassination attempt, spurred the War on Drugs, and fought public sector labor.

Illegal drug trade

drug traffickingdrug dealerdrug dealing
The war on drugs is a campaign, led by the U.S. federal government, of drug prohibition, military aid, and military intervention, with the stated aim being to reduce the illegal drug trade in the United States.
Despite the constant effort by politicians to win the war on drugs, the US is still the world's largest importer of illegal drugs.

Presidency of Barack Obama

Obama administrationadministrationObama
On May 13, 2009, Gil Kerlikowske—the Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP)—signaled that the Obama administration did not plan to significantly alter drug enforcement policy, but also that the administration would not use the term "War on Drugs", because Kerlikowske considers the term to be "counter-productive".
Though any use of marijuana remained illegal under federal law, the Obama administration generally chose not to prosecute those who used marijuana in states that chose to legalize it. However, some liberals and libertarians criticized Obama for continuing or even expanding the war on drugs, particularly in regards to medical marijuana.

Richard Nixon

NixonPresident NixonRichard M. Nixon
The term was popularized by the media shortly after a press conference given on June 18, 1971, by President Richard Nixon—the day after publication of a special message from President Nixon to the Congress on Drug Abuse Prevention and Control—during which he declared drug abuse "public enemy number one". One of the first anti-drug efforts in the realm of foreign policy was President Nixon's Operation Intercept, announced in September 1969, targeted at reducing the amount of cannabis entering the United States from Mexico.
Concerned about the prevalence of drug use both domestically and among American soldiers in Vietnam, Nixon called for a War on Drugs, pledging to cut off sources of supply abroad, and to increase funds for education and for rehabilitation facilities.

Manuel Noriega

NoriegaGeneral NoriegaManuel Antonio Noriega
Gen. Manuel Noriega, head of the government of Panama, had been giving military assistance to Contra groups in Nicaragua at the request of the U.S. which, in exchange, tolerated his drug trafficking activities, which they had known about since the 1960s.
The U.S. also regarded Noriega as an ally in its War on Drugs, despite Noriega himself having amassed a personal fortune through drug trafficking operations.

Drug Enforcement Administration

DEAD.E.A.DEA agent
In 1973, the Drug Enforcement Administration was created to replace the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs.
Critics assert that some such decisions are motivated primarily by political factors stemming from the U.S. government's War on Drugs, and that many benefits of such substances remain unrecognized due to the difficulty of conducting scientific research.

Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation

School of the AmericasUS Army School of the AmericasU.S. Army School of the Americas
Colombian military personnel have received extensive counterinsurgency training from U.S. military and law enforcement agencies, including the School of Americas (SOA).
As the Cold War drew to a close around 1990, United States foreign policy shifted focus from "anti-communism" to the War on Drugs, with narcoguerillas replacing "communists".

War as metaphor

drug warmetaphor of warnon-military "wars
Others have argued that large amounts of "drug war" foreign aid money, training, and equipment actually goes to fighting leftist insurgencies and is often provided to groups who themselves are involved in large-scale narco-trafficking, such as corrupt members of the Colombian military.
"War on Drugs", US term referring to efforts to curtail illegal drug trade

Gil Kerlikowske

Kerlikowske, R. Gil
On May 13, 2009, Gil Kerlikowske—the Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP)—signaled that the Obama administration did not plan to significantly alter drug enforcement policy, but also that the administration would not use the term "War on Drugs", because Kerlikowske considers the term to be "counter-productive".
In a December 9, 2010 interview with The Nation magazine, Kerlikowske called Nancy Reagan's "Just Say No" campaign one of the "major successes" of the War on Drugs.

Plan Colombia

Aerial spraying of herbicides in ColombiaColombia during the war on drugsdrug war in Colombia
As part of its Plan Colombia program, the United States government currently provides hundreds of millions of dollars per year of military aid, training, and equipment to Colombia, to fight left-wing guerrillas such as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC-EP), which has been accused of being involved in drug trafficking.
In the United States, Plan Colombia is seen as part of the "War on Drugs", which was started under President Nixon in 1971.

Evo Morales

MoralesEvo Morales AymaPresident Morales
The status of coca and coca growers has become an intense political issue in several countries, including Colombia and particularly Bolivia, where the president, Evo Morales, a former coca growers' union leader, has promised to legalise the traditional cultivation and use of coca.
In that capacity he campaigned against U.S. and Bolivian attempts to eradicate coca as part of the War on Drugs, denouncing these as an imperialist violation of indigenous Andean culture.

Prohibition in the United States

ProhibitionProhibition eraProhibition-era
585). In 1933, the federal prohibition for alcohol was repealed by passage of the 21st Amendment.
War on Drugs

Len Bias

Without Bias
Then, driven by the 1986 cocaine overdose of black basketball star Len Bias, Reagan was able to pass the Anti-Drug Abuse Act through Congress.
The bill, which received bipartisan support, reinforced the war on drugs with stiffer penalties (including mandatory minimum penalties) for drug offenses (Title I, subtitles A, B, C and D), created the Controlled Substance Analogue Enforcement Act of 1986 (also known as "designer drugs") (Subtitle E), the Money Laundering Control Act of 1986 (Subtitle H), Prohibition on Interstate Sale of Drug Paraphernalia (Subtitle O); required the President to certify that foreign nations were cooperating with the U.S. in anti-drug activities (Title II), increased the role of the U.S. military and the Department of Defense in anti-drug activities (Title III), created the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act (Title IV, Subtitle B) which also expanded the DARE program, as well as many other provisions.

Milton Friedman

FriedmanFriedman, MiltonMilton
At least 500 economists, including Nobel Laureates Milton Friedman, George Akerlof and Vernon L. Smith, have noted that reducing the supply of marijuana without reducing the demand causes the price, and hence the profits of marijuana sellers, to go up, according to the laws of supply and demand.
In his 1962 book Capitalism and Freedom, Friedman advocated policies such as a volunteer military, freely floating exchange rates, abolition of medical licenses, a negative income tax and school vouchers and opposed the war on drugs.

Office of National Drug Control Policy

Drug CzarDirector of the Office of National Drug Control PolicyWhite House Office of National Drug Control Policy
On May 13, 2009, Gil Kerlikowske—the Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP)—signaled that the Obama administration did not plan to significantly alter drug enforcement policy, but also that the administration would not use the term "War on Drugs", because Kerlikowske considers the term to be "counter-productive".
Drug policy of the United States

Thomas Szasz

SzaszSzasz, ThomasThomas S. Szasz
Psychiatrist Thomas Szasz, for example, wrote in 1997 "Over the past thirty years, we have replaced the medical-political persecution of illegal sex users ('perverts' and 'psychopaths') with the even more ferocious medical-political persecution of illegal drug users."
He criticized the war on drugs, arguing that using drugs is in fact a victimless crime.

Otto Pérez Molina

Otto Fernando Pérez MolinaOtto Perez MolinaMolina
Guatemalan President Otto Pérez Molina said that the war on drugs was exacting too high a price on the lives of Central Americans and that it was time to "end the taboo on discussing decriminalization".
He proposed the legalisation of drugs when he first became president while attending the United Nations General Assembly, as he said that the War on Drugs has proven to be a failure.

Civil forfeiture in the United States

civil asset forfeiturecivil forfeitureasset forfeiture
Civil forfeiture in the United States
It stepped up forfeiture during the War on Drugs during the early 1980s and onwards.

Operation Intercept

One of the first anti-drug efforts in the realm of foreign policy was President Nixon's Operation Intercept, announced in September 1969, targeted at reducing the amount of cannabis entering the United States from Mexico.
War on Drugs