FinalDraft - America's War on Drugs John Szmyd 4/5/06 APUSH...

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America’s War on Drugs John Szmyd 4/5/06 APUSH Glos
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The drug problem in America has been worsening on all fronts in the past thirty years. Billions of government dollars are being thrown at the problem, but with little avail. Most teenagers would agree that marijuana is easier to obtain than alcohol. The government, from the Federal Drug Enforcement Administration to the school police officer, knows who is using, dealing, transporting, importing, and producing drugs; however, as hard as they try to make arrests and seizures, the government is largely unsuccessful. The strategy of the American War on Drugs must be changed to going to greater lengths to prevent the importation and production of drugs, providing better drug education, and lessening the punishment of petty dealers and users of drugs. The War on Drugs is an ongoing and not winnable process in America. In July 1973, President Nixon, at a press conference, announced that “drug abuse is public enemy number one,” (Russell 301). Nixon took steps in the right direction by taking all the anti-drug agencies of the government and combining them, forming the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Being an all encompassing anti-drug force, the DEA investigates and identifies traffickers, tracks the movement of drugs, analyzes information from thousands of sources, and comprehends how drugs are cultivated, produced, transported, smuggled, and distributed (302). Annually, the DEA estimates that they prevent about 10% of imported drugs from reaching the users (303). Once the drugs reach the American cities, that particular battle of the War on Drugs has been lost. In the process of getting drugs to the user, from growing it to consumption, the point where the American government can make the biggest difference is when the contraband crosses the border. By amount, one bust of a major shipment of narcotics, coming by boat, plane, or car, is equivalent to a hundred busts at the street level. The American Szmyd 2
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government should devote more funding to border enforcement, particularly the southern border. By hindering the importation of drugs, say if the DEA annually stopped 20% of drugs being run through the Mexican border, drug costs in the United States would rise dramatically, causing fewer people to desire to pay for their drugs. Since the average drug user is 16-27 years old, if drugs, primarily marijuana, became more expensive, the expense of using drugs could influence people to not do drugs or do drugs less regularly. By focusing on problems such as the Mexican border, the DEA has contributed to reducing smuggling. The production of drugs is much harder to prevent than the importation or use of drugs. Optimally, the United States could fully cooperate militarily with countries that are the principle sites of drug production like cocaine producers: Bolivia, Colombia, and Peru; opium producers: Mexico, Myanmar (Burma), Thailand, Laos, Afghanistan; and Marijuana producers: South Africa, Lesotho, Morocco, Malawi, Swaziland, Jamaica, and
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FinalDraft - America's War on Drugs John Szmyd 4/5/06 APUSH...

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