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The Problems of Drug Prohibition

            For more than 50 years, drug prohibition, with an emphasis on enforcement through criminal justice measures, has been the policy of the United States as well as rest of the world's countries (Levine 2002). However, despite this sustained global effort, many of the goals espoused by supporters of drug prohibition have not been reached. The most obvious of these failures is the fact that drugs continue to be demanded and supplied despite prohibition (Miron 2001). Global drug production and consumption have grown steadily for decades, in spite of large government efforts to control supply (Wodak 2014). Drug prices have also continued to fall, and drugs remain easily available for much of the population (Wodak 2014). It seems clear that drug prohibition has not been successful. Additionally, many of the harms traditionally associated with drug use can be attributed to the effects of drug prohibition. .
             Violence in drug markets is one of the negative effects of drug prohibition (Miron 2001). Disputes arise between various parties within all markets. Disputes in the legal economy are usually resolved through the courts and related nonviolent methods of arbitration. By removing drugs from the legal marketplace, drug prohibition eliminates access to these methods of conflict resolution, leaving those involved to resort to violence as a means of resolving conflict (Miron 2001). The amount of violence created by this policy is astounding. Traffickers, police, and the Army murdered over 60,000 Mexicans as a result of the War on Drugs undertaken by President Felipe Calderon between 2006 and 2012 (Wodak 2014). There is good evidence to suggest that ending prohibition would end this violence. Violence was commonly used to resolve commercial disputes within the alcohol trade during Alcohol Prohibition in the United States (1920-1933) but was rare before and after the period (Friedman 1991). Violence was also widespread in gambling markets but has decreased sharply as a result of expanded legal gambling (Miron 2001).

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