Criminal prohibition, at the heart of U.S. drug policy, has failed miserably. Since 1981, $150 billion of taxpayers` money has been spent to keep Colombian cocaine, Burmese heroin and Jamaican marijuana out of our borders. But the proof is that for every ton confiscated, hundreds more pass. Hundreds of thousands of otherwise law-abiding people have been arrested and imprisoned for drug possession. Between 1968 and 1992, the annual number of drug-related arrests rose from 200,000 to more than 1.2 million. A third of them were marijuana arrests, most for simple possession. The recent sharp increase in our incarceration rate has made the United States the world`s leading prison guard, with a prison population now exceeding one million, up from about 200,000 in 1970. Nonviolent offenders make up 58% of the federal prison population, an extremely expensive population to maintain.
In 1990, States alone paid $12 billion, or $16,000 per prisoner. While drug incarceration is one of the main causes of the increase in the local tax burden, it has neither stopped the sale and use of drugs nor improved public safety. The DEA also lists the following examples of each drug plan: Caught in the crossfire. Just as alcohol prohibition fueled violent gangsterism in the 1920s, today`s drug prohibition has spawned a culture of drive-by shootings and other gun crimes. And just as most of the violence of the 1920s was not committed by drunk people, most drug-related violence today is not committed by people who use drugs. Murders, then as now, are based on rivalries: Al Capone ordered the execution of rival smugglers, and drug traffickers are now killing their rivals. A 1989 government study of 193 “cocaine-related” murders in New York found that 87 percent resulted from rivalries and disagreements related to doing business in an illegal market. In only one case was the perpetrator actually under the influence of cocaine. As in the past, some observers will no doubt see the solution in much harsher penalties to deter both suppliers and users of illicit psychoactive substances. Others will argue that the answer lies not in more enforcement and tougher penalties, but in fewer penalties. In particular, they will argue that the edifice of national laws and international conventions that collectively prohibit the production, sale and use of large numbers of drugs for non-medical or scientific purposes has proven to be physically harmful, socially divisive, prohibitive and ultimately counterproductive by creating the very incentives that perpetuate a violent black market for illicit drugs. They will also conclude that the only logical step for the United States is to “legalize” drugs – essentially by repealing and dismantling current drug laws and enforcement mechanisms, just as America abandoned its brief experiment with alcohol prohibition in the 1920s.
Many arguments seem to make legalization a convincing alternative to today`s prohibitionist policies. In addition to undermining black market incentives to produce and sell drugs, legalization could eliminate or at least significantly reduce the very problems that most concern the public: the crime, corruption and violence that accompany the functioning of illicit drug markets. It would also likely reduce the damage caused by the lack of quality controls for illicit drugs and slow the spread of infectious diseases due to needle parts and other unsanitary practices. In addition, governments could abandon costly and largely futile efforts to suppress the supply of illicit drugs and imprison offenders by spending the money saved to educate people not to use drugs and to treat those who become addicted. For more information on drug laws in your state or territory, visit the Australian Injecting and Illicit Drug Users League. In 1933, concerned about the expansion of organized crime, police corruption and violence, the public demanded the lifting of alcohol prohibition and the return of regulatory power to the states. Most states immediately replaced criminal prohibitions with laws regulating the quality, potency and commercial sale of alcohol; As a result, the harms associated with alcohol prohibition have disappeared. Meanwhile, federal prohibition of heroin and cocaine remained, and with the passage of the Marijuana Stamp Act in 1937, marijuana was also banned. The federal government`s drug policy has remained strictly prohibitionist to this day. Knowing how to navigate and fight through the legal system and criminal justice process is the most important skill your team of lawyers can possess. Whether as legal counsel, negotiator or litigator, we have years of experience in managing and resolving files in the best interest of our clients. It is important to choose the right lawyer for your case.
Consultations are free, but it`s not a bad choice when it comes to counselling. Call us at 206-708-7852 to make an appointment to discuss your situation. However, what is generally presented as a fairly simple process of lifting prohibitionist controls to reap these supposed benefits would actually mean addressing an extremely complex set of regulatory issues. As with most, if not all, goods supplied by individuals and public funds, the main regulatory issues concern the type of medicines legally available, the conditions under which they are supplied and the conditions under which they are consumed (see page 21). Legal drugs can be those that are over-the-counter or those that a doctor prescribes for you to be eligible/allowed to possess. Keep in mind, however, that just because you have the option to own these medications, often via a prescription or purchase, it`s not a reservation to do whatever you want with the medications. Over-the-counter drugs as well as prescription drugs are abused every day and people end up being charged with various crimes for being abused, abused, trafficked and addicted. Typically, these problems lead clients to commit crimes for money and addiction, or under the influence of drugs they thought were legal. Generally, you`re relatively sure you`re possessing legal drugs as laws allow, BUT you can still go to jail if you don`t follow the rules. A big part of our role and service as lawyers and advisors is to make sure clients understand their situation so they can help us attempt, defend or mitigate the problem. These differences between drugs can be confusing, but the U.S.
government has made efforts to classify drugs to clarify differences between their specific risks and benefits. Legal medications can be purchased over-the-counter or with a doctor`s prescription. Illicit drugs cannot be legally manufactured, bought, or sold in the United States. And other drugs are legal in some situations, but illegal when abused. If you`ve ever been sick and had to take medication, you already know a type of medication. Drugs are legal drugs, which means doctors can prescribe them to patients, stores can sell them, and people can buy them. But it is neither legal nor safe for people to use these drugs as they wish, or to buy them from people who sell them illegally. Narcotic (say: nar-KAH-tik) – An anesthetic dulls the body`s senses (making a person less aware, alert, and carefree) and relieves pain.
Narcotics can cause someone to sleep, become drowsy, have cramps, and even fall into a coma. Some narcotics – such as codeine – are legal when administered by doctors to treat pain. Heroin is an illegal narcotic because it has dangerous side effects and is highly addictive. Limited treatment resources. The allocation of huge sums of money to law enforcement reduces the resources available for drug education, preventive social programs and treatment. As crack cocaine use increased in the late 1980s, millions of dollars were spent on tackling drugs on the streets and incarcerating tens of thousands of low-level offenders, while only a handful of public addiction treatment spaces were created. One particularly needy group — low-income pregnant women who abused crack cocaine — often had nowhere to go because Medicaid didn`t reimburse providers. Instead, the government persecuted and imprisoned these women regardless of the negative consequences for their children. When people talk about a “drug problem,” they usually mean abusing legal drugs or using illegal drugs like ecstasy, cocaine, LSD, crystal meth and heroin to get high. As the DEA explains, Schedule V drugs have the lowest potential for abuse, while Schedule I drugs have the highest potential for abuse and dependence.
Dirty needles. Unsterilized needles are known to transmit HIV to people who inject drugs. But drug users share needles because laws prohibiting the possession of drug paraphernalia have made needles a scarce commodity. So these laws actually promote epidemic diseases and death. In New York, more than 60 per cent of injecting drug users are HIV-positive. In contrast, in Liverpool, England, where clean needles are readily available, the figure is less than one percent. Medications do not solve problems. And drug use often causes other problems, in addition to the problems the person had in the first place.
Someone who uses drugs can become addicted or addicted. This means that the person`s body gets so used to having this drug that he or she cannot function well without it. Illegal drugs are the ones that get you in trouble with the law and, in most cases, result in you being arrested and then probably taken to the police station, jailed, fingerprinted and entered into a state database and a federal database, and of course often resulting in you often being charged with a drug offense.