Hey, you! Yes, you! All you Libertarians, Republicans, and Democrats, since President Richard Nixon started the war on drugs, the US has spent $1 trillion and here are the results:
According to the US Bureau of Justice Statistics, we have 2,220,300 adults in state and federal prisons in 2013. According to the Brookings Institute, Hamilton Project, in 2010, the United States spent more than $80 billion on corrections expenditures at the federal, state, and local levels or approximately, $36,000 per person per year. In 2012, non-violent, drug possession accounted for 1.3 million arrests (*source Prison Policy Initiative derived from the Bureau of Justice Statistics-Data Analysis Tool).
In the late 1960s, the US had an estimated 750,000 people addicted to opiates; in 2016, we’ve seen that number jump to 2.5 million. We are averaging 125 deaths a day from drug overdoses, 78 of them from heroin or painkillers.
How about a tripartisan approach for combating addiction in the United States of America?
For our Libertarians who favor the repeal of all laws creating ‘crimes’ without victims, such as the use of drugs for medicinal or recreational purposes. We’ll legalize all drugs in the US (slightly tweaking Portugals experiment in the legalization of drugs)
For our Republicans who wish to restore fiscal sanity and common sense to Washington, we can cut the $16 billion a year spent on the “war on drugs,” in half. We’ll stop the excessive spending of $36,000 per person to incarcerate non-violent drug users saving an estimated $25 billion a year in the Federal budget. According to the Cato Institute, the Federal government could generate almost $16 billion in revenue from taxing all drugs. The total increase to the federal government from these three changes alone would be close to $50 billion annually.
Last but not least, for our Democrats, we’ll take half of the $50 billion in savings and more than triple the treatment and prevention budgets from approximately $9 billion a year on treatment to $30 billion and $1.5 billion a year on prevention to $5 billion.
We’ve fought the war on drugs for 50 years. It’s time to surrender. I believe Libertarians, Republicans, and Democrats can all agree “it is common sense to take a method and try it. If it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something.” (thank you for the quote, Franklin Delano Roosevelt) Talk soon, Alex Shohet