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October 29, 2008

"America's Forgotten War"

The title of this post is the title of this piece in today's Washington Post.  The reference, of course, is to the war on drugs, and here are a few interesting excerpts from the piece:

On June 17, America's longest-running war reached another milestone -- 37 years and counting, with no end in sight.  Hardly anyone noticed.  Neither of the leading presidential candidates mentioned the struggle that has cost hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars and countless American lives.  A Senate hearing was held to mark the anniversary, but hardly anyone came....

Declared by then-president Richard M. Nixon in 1971, the drug war no longer has the glitter it once had. Two decades ago, illicit imports of cocaine, heroin and marijuana and their use by Americans topped the list of public concerns in nationwide surveys at 22 percent.  In January, a Pew Research Center poll found that only 1 percent of the population considered drugs and alcohol the most important problem facing the country.

[But] the fight against illicit drugs goes on, and it is not without peril.  Nor is it without domestic consequences, as experts testified at last summer's poorly-attended hearing, chaired by Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.).  About "500,000 persons are locked up for drug offenses in any one day" in this country, said Peter Reuter of the University of Maryland's criminology department.  John Walsh of the Washington Office on Latin America noted that the annual economic costs of illicit drugs have grown significantly over the past 15 years; in a 2004 study, the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) put the figure at $181 billion.

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October 29, 2008 at 07:49 AM | Permalink


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» WaPo on America's "Forgotten" Drug War from Drug Law Blog
Alfonso Cuellar of the Colombian magazine Semana (Week) has a piece in the Washington Post today taking stock of the war on drugs 37 years after it was officially "declared" by Richard Nixon. Cuellar notes that "the drug war no... [Read More]

Tracked on Oct 29, 2008 11:47:21 AM


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