The War on Drugs has often been called one of the most unpopular criminal justice reform policies in recent U.S. history. Begun in the early-1970s and accelerated in the 1980s and 1990s, the War on Drugs was a Nixon-era policy that declared drug abuse as “public enemy number one.”
There are lots of ideas about how to tackle addiction, many of them excellent ideas. But one concept is agreed upon amongst a considerable majority of Americans: We need to move away from the constant criminalization and incarceration of addicts and drug users.
Drug addiction is no small habit, no simple affliction which can be easily remedied. Getting off of drugs and alcohol takes work, effort, time, commitment, and a powerful determination to get better.
We can all agree that our nation is struggling with a difficult substance abuse crisis. But what we can’t seem to agree on is how we are going to address this problem. Time and time again, we have the proof displayed for all to see that rampant incarceration, stereotyping, and criminalization of drug users does not work.