It is a hundred years now since the first ban on drugs took place. On the eve which followed the anniversary to celebrate the hundred years is when Johann Hari a British journalist kicked off his journey to uncover more on the war towards the drug. The 30000-mile trip which was scheduled to take three years aimed at discovering all the secrets which the majorities are not aware of this war on the drugs issue. Through his journey was to cover nine countries revealing and examining the subject laid into dipper details. Johann Hari in his introduction to the book indicates that it is strange that drugs are not really what we are always told they are, more so, addiction is really what we reason and think it is.
To address his primary objectives, he states that “the drug war has very different motives to the ones we have seen on our TV screens (Hari 18-25).” The War on Drug has been evident in almost every part of the globe. Different approaches have been applied by different agencies in different areas to fight against the existence and spread of drug abuse as well as drug addiction. America is one of the nation experiencing challenges as far as the issue on drugs is concerned, and it has implemented various policies to enhance the stop of drug abuse, drug trafficking as well as drug peddling in the country. Considering America’s current drug policy, does the approach and tactic used to enhance War on Drugs succeed or end up failing? Referring to “Chasing the Scream” by the writer Johann Hari we will determine whether the America’s drug policy does realize success or not.
Since the establishment of the “War on Drugs,” campaigns, America has continuously displayed it struggles and efforts towards creating and realizing one unified drug regulation. A policy that will keep the America’s streets safe and free from drugs as well as create awareness to the society on the dangers associated with substance abuse. These efforts led to the formation of Drug Enforcement Agency, (DEA) in the year 1971. The agency was to fight against the increasing amount of substance use (Gilmore 62-75). Nixon the then America’s president referred to it as the “war on drugs.” The current drug policy has criminalized all drug users, and associates and imprisonment act as a punishment to any victim caught handling any legalized drugs. However, it is important to determine whether the policy has in any way achieved its set objectives of adequately handling the drug issue in America. Hari having looked at various aspects regarding the “War on Drug” in his book will assist us in classifying the America’s drug policy either as a success or a failure.
Following the argument provided by Hari in his work, it is convincing that the American drug policy has not yet realized any success as far as fighting against substance use is in concern. The discoveries revealed in his text displays how the current criminalization drug policy in America has failed in this fight against drugs (Hari 179-193). Through the reading of the book “Chasing the Scream,” the American drug policy fails to realize success out of various aspects it holds during its operation. For instance, prohibiting and criminalizing alcohol in the United States act as an accelerating agent towards drug abuse instead of reducing the effects. Contrarily the same case occurs when marijuana is also prohibited. As explained by the author, forbidding the drugs creates a larger demand as well as a rise in crime rate in the affected areas. Such would not be the case if the drug policy enhanced the accessibility of these drugs to the addicted under government supervision and monitoring. Providing the drugs to the addicts under supervised measures will lead to the reduction of crime rates which occur when the victims are in the struggles to acquire the drug. More so, such a program will also deny the gangs of drug dealers a chance to earn profit from their business hence reducing the amount of drug in the country.
The imprisonment policy also is not the best solution to the drug issue in America; instead, rehabilitation and administering education to the victims and the unaffected will realize better results. Hari also demonstrates the current drug policy as a mother to other arising problems such as racial fights as well as social conflicts (“Drugs and Democracy in Latin America: the Impact of U.S. Policy” 56-71). It is clear that continuous application of the present drug policy will not whatsoever realize victory over the “War on Drugs” in America as well as in any other place where it will be in use. Such remarks call for a change and implementations in our policies used to handle drug issues. Failure to do so will lead to more effects, and a drug-corrupted society will be formed affecting not only the individuals but America as a whole. As addressed in Hari’s book, the head office of the lawmakers should also take advantage of their offices to participate in drug-related illegal businesses. As per now, the society remains to be the largest contributor in “War on Drugs” compared to the government policy, therefore having a strategy that supports and embrace the society rather than scaring them off will lead to a rapid depreciation in the drug abuse rate within America.
“Drugs and Democracy in Latin America: the Impact of U.S. Policy.” The SHAFR Guide Online, doi:10.1163/2468-1733_shafr_sim190110035.
Gilmore, Claire E. “Drug Enforcement Agency.” Encyclopedia of Clinical Pharmacy, 2002, pp. 282-283.
Hari, Johann. Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs. 2016.