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The term "war on drugs," first coined by former President Richard Nixon over 30 years ago, is the name of a movement to hinder drug abuse in America.

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Column: Economics Explains Why War On Drugs Is Hopeless

May 1, 2007 - Tribune Star (IN) Column: Economics Explains Why War On Drugs Is Hopeless By Arthur E
Or could it be that the new policy is only a tactical
shift by drug warriors still wedded to the quixotic belief that they
can take out suppliers?

The answer is that it is a bit of both.

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The War on Drugs: A War Where Everybody is a Loser - …
shipments have been confiscated, traditional supply lines for
imported chemicals used to manufacture methamphetamines have been
disrupted, and corrupt officials have been outed.

Yet the war rages on.


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By all accounts his "war"
is being waged on the belief that a free society cannot be held
hostage by organized crime, not on the belief that supply can be

In addition to astronomical costs of keeping this many people in prison, this also means less room in prisons for violent criminals. Finally, the drug war is necessarily an assault on personal liberty. Because drug transactions are conducted between consenting parties, there is no "victim" in the sense that a robbery or other violent crimes have victims.

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It has also led to damaged families and lost productivity when nonviolent drug users are thrown in prison. About one in every four of the approximately 2 million Americans in prison today is there because of a drug offense - up from one of every 10 prisoners in 1980, when the drug war was about to begin.

Why the Drug War Won't End - Gicomeng

As a result, profit margins in the illicit drug business are astronomical. Indeed, every "victory" in the drug war is really setting the stage for more failure.

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According to the Mexican Embassy in Washington, another
goal is to end the corruption that comes from the "free
interpretation of what constitutes 'retail drug-dealing.'" The aim is
to reduce police graft while going after big fish, not little ones.

The war on supply is a failure, something any first-year economics
student could have predicted.

We Need To End The War On Drugs - The Odyssey Online

Lawmakers and other government officials want to be seen to be doing "something" in the wake of a disaster, scandal or widely perceived problem. Unfortunately, the laws they pass often create new problems that will eventually result in new laws, and on, and on. One example of this may be in the current legislative steps being taken to combat the "methamphetamine epidemic" -- the latest front in the government's decades-old war on drugs.

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The late Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises summed things up nicely. Long before the "meth epidemic" emerged, he wrote, "It is a fact, that some people harm themselves and their innocent families by consuming narcotic drugs. ... But once the principle is admitted that it is the duty of government to protect the individual against his own foolishness, no serious objections can be advanced against further encroachments." These "encroachments" could easily be extended to include nicotine, alcohol, and even the "mischief done" by bad books, plays or ideologies, he wrote. The drug war is and always has been a lost cause.