The war on drugs should be an actionable agenda, not just rhetorical exercise

The following post originally appeared on the Huffington Post. It was written by Glenn Martin and appears under the title of, “The War on Drugs Didn’t Fail Yesterday.” Glenn E. Martin is a national leader and criminal justice reform advocate who who spent six years in New York State prisons. He’s also the Founder and Chief Risk Taker of JustLeadershipUSA.

By: Glenn Martin

Recently, I’ve imagined myself back in the company of the hundreds of men I met while serving six years in a NYS prison as every journalist, aspiring politician and talking head confirms the failure of our War on Drugs. Meanwhile, those declarations are met with reflexive thumb twiddling at the statement of the obvious.

Obama Administration Announce New Drug Policy Emphasizing Treatment Over Incarceration

The Obama Administration has announced a new policy for fighting drug abuse; one that emphasizes treatment over incarceration.

The plan will use public health tools to address the root causes of drug use and abuse, and divert offenders to rehabilitation programs.

Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske will be releasing the full plan at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

From Yahoo News:

“We know that if drug treatment is done early it is usually more effective, and it’s usually less costly than longer term, because drug addiction is a progressive disease,” Kerlikowske told The Associated Press in an interview ahead of Wednesday’s announcement.

REPORT: President Obama Will Scale Back War on Drugs in 2nd Term

According to a report by GQ’s Marc Ambinder, President Obama plans to scale back America’s decades-long and highly controversial War on Drugs in his second term.

Sources say the President wants to seriously consider measures that will reform our drug laws, as well as make it easier for drug offenders to reenter society.

However, many advocates for drug policy reform say the Obama Administration has been very disappointing on these issues, and remain skeptical of such reports.

Black, Asian Youth Have Lowest Rates of Drug/Alcohol Use

A recent survey of adolescent teens between the ages of 12-17 years-old finds that drug and alcohol use is lowest amongst Black and Asian teenagers.

According to the survey, Native American youth have the highest rate of youth drug and alcohol abuse at 48%, followed by 39% of whites, 37% of Hispanics, 36% of mixed-race youth, and 34% of Black youth. Asian youth had the lowest rate of abuse, at 24%.

From the Huffington Post:

War on Drugs: Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop

So the Global Commission on Drug Policy has released a report stating that the War on Drugs is a fail. Welcome to the party, sirs, you’re 40 years late but please, sit. What clued you in on this failure? The wasted dollars, the overflowing prisons, lives lost, lack of actual resources dedicated to rehabilitating addicts?

This never happened.

America thrives on the drug trade. Its capitalism, and therefore imperialism are so tightly intertwined with the drug trade that it’s hard to tell one from another. The failing “war on drugs” has kept capitalism afloat by creating a permanent lower class. A lower class that is essential to the continued growth and flourishing of capitalism. To actually win this war would require some self-sacrifice on the part of the system and that’s really not happening any time soon.