The United States only makes up 5% of the world’s population. But, it accounts for 25% of the world’s prison population. Much of this prison population is made up of drug-related charges. There are more arrests for drug abuse violations than for any other offense. There have been over 1 million arrests in the United States this year alone for drug related offenses. About 25% of the United States’ prison population are sentenced for drug law violations.
So it’’s easy to see that drugs are definitely a problem in our country. Law enforcement is working hard to fight this epidemic in our country, but is enough being done?
IS THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT SPENDING ENOUGH MONEY ON THE WAR ON DRUGS?
According to the Office of National Drug Control Policy, to this point in 2012, the United States government has spent over $12,029,200,079. In case you don’t want to count those zeros, that shows that the U.S. government has spent over twelve billion dollars this year on the War on Drugs!
So, is that enough?
Twelve billion dollars is a lot of money. But things don’t seem to be getting much better in our country. Drug use is still very high. Drug related arrests and incarcerations are still on the rise.
To me, the question is not are they spending enough. That is a lot of money! Maybe the better question is, how is that money being used?
SHOULD THE MONEY BE USED DIFFERENTLY?
That brings us to the real question about this whole dilemma. The question isn’t whether the government is spending enough on the war on drugs. The question is, are they using the money in the best ways possible?
It’s hard to say exactly where that funding should be going. Many people have offered many different solutions.
Many people feel that the funds should be used differently. Some people think that, instead of focusing as much on finding and punishing offences, or even on stopping the drug traffic coming into our country, instead they should put some of those funds towards education and treatment.
They feel that if we can educate our citizens (especially the youth) on the true harms of drugs, and if they can allocate some funds towards treatment and rehabilitation, that will eliminate a lot of the problem. They feel that, when focusing more on prevention, we can work to eliminate the demand for these harmful drugs. They feel that this will eliminate the demand, as well as lower many of the drug related arrests and charges we are seeing in our country.
Some people say that the government should completely eliminate funding for the Office of National Drug Control Policy, also referred to as the Drug Czar. One group has said, “The Drug Czar’s office is simply not necessary. Levels of drug use do not change because we have a person of power in Washington going around the country saying, ‘Drugs are bad.’” They feel that the government should eliminate this office and use those funds towards more active actions of fighting the war on drugs.
To me, it seems like the government is spending more than enough money on the War on Drugs. It doesn’t seem like the problem is a need for more funding, rather a need for different allocation and use of that funding. Whether it is eliminating unnecessary departments to have more funds for other more effective uses, or allocating more funds towards education, treatment, and prevention, I think that is the answer. To use the money we already have more wisely.
Nicole writes guest posts for Delray Recovery Center. They are one of the leading small treatment centers in their region.