It has been over thirty-one years since the United States first waged the "War on Drugs." This war has cost hundreds of billions of dollars to fight and has given our country many mixed results. We have seen fluctuations in the numbers over the years, which are, can be linked to different social fads and political agendas. Despite the enormous amount of money we have spent to rid our country of illegal drugs, we still have four million Americans addicted today. Stricter drug laws have caused there to be an overflow of prisoners convicted of drug charges and have transformed these people into tax burdens instead of taxpayers. Through the investigation of the drug war with President Nixon, through the peak of drug use in the late 70's to the rise of crack in the 80's and into the legalization of Marijuana, This paper will explain why drugs continue to flow into America at an alarming rate and try and uncover the effectiveness of the war. .
Beginning in 1970, Congress passes the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control act. In addition to consolidating previous anti-drug laws, the act provides federal funding for drug abuse prevention and treatment efforts. The Act establishes tough penalties for drug trafficking, but actually lessens federal penalties for the possession of marijuana. In 1971, President Nixon declares "War on Drugs." To coordinate anti-drug efforts, he creates the special Action Office for Drug Abuse Preventior. In 1972, the Drug Enforcement Agency was created. The DEA replaces several older anti-drug agencies and becomes the nation's prime drug law enforcement agency. By 1979 illicit drug use in the United States peaks. The number of users reaches 25.4 million. By the mid 1980's Crack cocaine epidemic spreads across the nation particulary within inner cities. Violent crime rates soar, fueled in large measure by the drug trade. In 1984 Congress enacts mandatory minimum prison sentence for some drug offenses.