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Prohibition & War on Drugs and Negative Effects Essay

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Updated: Sep 9th, 2022

The intention behind the Prohibition was to ban the consumption of alcohol to reduce the occurrence of crimes, spousal abuse, and increase the overall purity of US society. The intention behind the modern war on drugs is to ban the use of drugs to reduce the trade of illegal substances, including recreational drugs. For example, in colonial times, hemp was a widely appreciated crop and commercial product, while in the 1930s, it became villainized due to the habit of associating marijuana use with the Mexican working class (The Brownsen Project, 2012). Despite the positive intentions, both attempts to ban consumer products led to the opposite result. As a consequence of Prohibition, America witnessed a spike in organized crime by creating a demand for illegal alcohol that criminals would sell at high prices since the legal sector’s supply was obsolete (Blocker, 2006). Similarly, the implications of the war on drugs also mirrored the initial goals of the campaign. Specifically, the war had increased the cases of human rights violations and the erosion of demographic institutions.

The proponents of prohibitionist practices may claim that such policies have the potential of decreasing the occurrence of substance-related crime, associated mortality, and morbidity, as well as overall social turmoil. The real effects of prohibiting drugs and alcohol at different points in history showed that the absence of supply creates an immense demand, which is used by criminal organizations to acquire a profit (Barnett, 2009). There is no evidence to suggest that prohibitive tactics helped improve public health or raise the status of poor people (Csete et al., 2016). During a deficit, poor people are usually exploited for cheap work, while the potency of substances increases to satisfy the demand for it.

References

Barnett, R. (2009). The harmful side effects of drug prohibition. Georgetown Public Law and Legal Theory Research Paper, 12-037. Web.

Blocker J. S., Jr (2006). Did prohibition really work? Alcohol prohibition as a public health innovation. American Journal of Public Health, 96(2), 233-243.

Csete, J., Kamarulzaman, A., Kazatchkine, M., Altice, F., Balicki, M., Buxton, J., Cepeda, J., Comfort, M., Goosby, E., Goulão, J., Hart, C., Kerr, T., Lajous, A. M., Lewis, S., Martin, N., Mejía, D., Camacho, A., Mathieson, D., Obot, I., Ogunrombi, A., … Beyrer, C. (2016). Public health and international drug policy. Lancet, 387(10026), 1427-1480.

The Brownsen Project. (2016). [Video]. YouTube. Web.

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