Protest Racism, Reduce Drug Abuse, Amend the War on Drugs

Target: President Barack Obama

Goal: Stop racial profiling and reduce the number of drug related deaths by making changes to the War on Drugs

Over three decades ago, the War on Drugs was first waged by the Nixon administration. It still continues today. The goal of this war was to reduce drug abuse rates; however, these have only increased. Though the recent decriminalization of marijuana in some states may reduce the funds dedicated to incarcerating users, this is only a small step towards addressing the war’s numerous problems. Among these problems are racial profiling, poor allocation of funds, and negligence of prescription drug addictions. Demand changes to the War on Drugs from President Obama so that we can significantly and efficiently reduce drug abuse in the United States.

Though the Obama administration has made steps towards decriminalizing marijuana use, incarceration rates for drug possession are still at a national high, as recently reported by the Huffington Post, CNN, and several other major news sources.  More alarming than these increased rates is the target of these arrests. The number of adult black males without an arrest record is severely low. Greatly contributing to this are drug-related arrests. Though white people are more likely to both use and deal illegal drugs, drug-related arrests are highest in black communities, as reported by William Chambliss in the Huffington Post. The effects of this can be seen in other minority areas such as New York’s El Barrio neighborhood, as highlighted in Philippe Bourgois’ In Search of Respect: Selling Crack in El Barrio. This type of racial profiling sends the message that society has deemed these minority communities as sources of deviance, drugs, and violence. This makes it more difficult for minorities to move into legal job markets and discourages them from trying. We cannot send this message.

As reported by Evan Soltas in the Bloomberg View, prescription drug abuse is now responsible for more deaths than homicide or car accidents in the United States. It is clear that this type of drug abuse is a major problem; however, it is not addressed by the War on Drugs. Considering that these drugs are be prescribed by a limited number of professionals, it should be easy to address the issue. Analyzing and restricting how pain medications are prescribed could remedy this. Redirecting some of the attention given to incarcerating suspected drug dealers and users could go a long way to decreasing drug-related deaths in America.

The War on Drugs has recently been deemed a “trillion-dollar failure” by CNN. Education and other programs are in grave need of funding as illustrated by the 2012 teachers’ strike in Chicago. However, over $2 billion dollars are spent by the government on the DEA and by local governments on drug-control, as reported by the Huffington Post. Decriminalization of all drugs would be more effective at removing the appeal of drug use, the violence involved in smuggling operations, and taking away the power and authority given to drug lords. The fact that legalization of all drugs would be more conducive to achieving the War on Drugs’ goals than the war itself speaks to its ineffectiveness. Clearly, the policies and actions of the War on Drugs must be reworked and refocused. Demand change from President Obama and demand a successful War on Drugs.


Dear President Barack Obama,

The United States Government has diligently fought the War on Drugs for over three decades, only to be deemed a “trillion-dollar failure” by CNN. The public along with other major new distributors also recognize its failures. Though the objectives of the war have been noble, they have been carried out in an ineffective manner. The War on Drugs’ current policies have unfortunately contributed to racial profiling and poor allocation of funds. Furthermore, these policies ignore a major source of American drug abuse: prescription drugs. You and other officials have been elected by us because of your sensitivity to our needs, your understanding of policy, and  your commitment to change. Please, listen to us when we, the general public, say that amendments must be made to the War on Drugs.

It is no secret that drug-related arrests have targeted the black community. Though you specifically have not done this, law enforcement agents employed by the government have. Minorities are no more likely to use and sell drugs than white people; however, drug-related arrests have been up to 5.5 times higher in the black community, as reported by CNN’s Richard Branson. It goes without saying that this is detrimental to the socioeconomic status of blacks and reduces their education and job opportunities. Similar problems occur in areas such as New York’s El Barrio neighborhood, as highlighted in Philippe Bourgois’ In Search of Respect: Selling Crack in El Barrio. Such racial profiling sends the message that society views these minority communities as sources of deviance, drugs, and violence, thus displacing and discouraging them from the legal job market. Such stereotyping cannot be tolerated by your administration.

Furthermore, addictions to prescription drugs have been ignored by the War on Drugs. As reported by Evan Soltas in the Bloomberg View, prescription drug overdoses are now responsible for more American deaths than car accidents and homicide. Clearly, this is a major issue that needs to be addressed. If these drugs are prescribed by a limited group of health professionals, then why is prescription drug abuse a national concern? Attention needs to be taken away from incarceration and refocused upon such questions.

Recent decriminalization of marijuana use has been a step in the right direction, which we are glad to see. With this reduction of money and time spent on incarceration, we ask that you refocus the policies and actions of the War on Drugs to more effectively eliminate drug abuse problems in our society.


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