Welcome back to the war on drugs? Wasn't the first one bad enough?
The Washington Post reported Sunday that Attorney General Jeff Sessions plans to carry out the same, notoriously-failing tactics to reduce drugs in the nation that have been used since 1971.
Since then, the U.S. has spent more than ONE TRILLION dollars in drug-mitigation, has made itself the biggest drug-jailer on the planet, and has FAILED to see lessening use, availability, and quality of street drugs.
In February, President Donald Trump announced that there would be a new, "ruthless" drug war.
"We're going to stop the drugs from pouring in," said the president. "We're going to stop those drugs from poisoning our youth, from poisoning our people. We're going to be ruthless in that fight. We have no choice."
But let's think about it this way: there's a reason the 18th Amendment, the one outlawing liquor, was the only one ever repealed. PROHIBITION DOESN'T WORK.
You cannot arrest people out of wanting what is bad for them. But, as we’ve seen with liquor and tobacco, you might be able to educate, legislate and persuade them into wanting it less.
Diane Goldstein, a retired lieutenant commander, calls the new drug war “a horrible idea.” Goldstein is an executive board member of Law Enforcement Action Partnership, a group of law enforcement veterans who think that in asking police to solve a medical problem, we’ve made a costly mistake (I recall again the $1 trillion we've spent the past few decades).
She cites a 1994 Rand Corporation study which said that using healthcare strategies to combat drugs “returns seven times the value for every dollar spent on it to the taxpayer. Shouldn’t we be looking at what is not just cost effective, but also returns better results for people who are impacted by chronic substance abuse?”
The bottom line here is that, regardless of where you're opinion registers, we’ve already had a War on Drugs. And, in our opinion, one was more than enough.
Fernand is a principal at Bendixen & Amandi International, the nation’s leading multilingual and multiethnic public opinion research and strategic communications consulting firm based in Miami, Florida. Frequently a guest host and commentator on WIOD, Fernand’s communications projects and analysis have been featured in The New York Times, CNN, National Public Radio, The Washington Post, USA Today, Newsweek, Time, The Economist, and the Miami Herald among others.
Over the last 25 years, Bendixen & Amandi (B&A) has conducted large-scale projects for numerous corporations, multinational institutions, political candidates and elected officials in over 30 countries and in as many as 20 different languages. Fernand manages the firm and brings over a decade’s worth of experience in research and strategic management with an emphasis in corporate, political and public affairs consulting for clients including the United Nations, the World Bank, The White House, Univision Communications, New America Media, the John & James L. Knight Foundation and the California Endowment.
He has conceived, produced and edited a number of successful television and radio commercials for B&A’s media practice including the highly regarded “Nuestra Amiga” spot for the 2008 Hillary Clinton Presidential Campaign, which Rolling Stone magazine lauded as “one of the more charming moments in the history of the political ad wars.” Fernand is a graduate of Florida State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Social Science Education and has taught at both at Miami-Dade College and at the University of Miami.
Fernand Amandi lives in Coconut Grove with his wife and two kids.