The War on Drugs began at the end of the 1960s Nixon's Administration.

The cause of this war was serious heroin addiction in a small portion of the inner cities and marijuana usage among the young. Nixon began the drug war to fight the increase in crime he mistakenly believed to be cause by addicts in search of money to finance their habits. To the Nixon Administration's credit, the methadone treatment program it instituted did have the effect of aiding some heroin addicts to maitain while trying to escape addiction and it did have some positive results. In 1986, during Ronald Reagan's presidency,mandatory minimum sentencing laws were passed for drug offenses. Mandatory minimum sentences require a certain amount of jail time for drug offenders depending on the type of drug, the weight of the drug involved, and the number of prior convictions. Judges are not allowed to decrease the amount of jail time for any reason except to act as an informant to help the prosecution. The intent of these sentencing laws was to get to the so called drug "king pins" who rank high in the drug trafficking schemes, but they are often the ones who are able to "name names" and avoid lengthier prison sentences. Plus they could also afford better lawyers than the average addict on the street that sell to support a habit. The effect of these extensive sentences that have been required for lowlevel, non-violent drug offenders who cannot provide helpful information to the government or afford high dollar defense attorneys is that they do the time while the so called "kingpins" walk or rarely get arrested. Then of course there are cases involving corrupt police departments where the Police are involved in some form or fashion."According to the Department of Justice, over half of all sentenced federal prisoners are drug offenders. Over 80% of the increase in the federal prison population was due to drug convictions between 1985 and 1995. In addition, a 2006 report claimed that 17% of State prisoners and 18% of Federal prisoners committed their crimes in order to obtain drug money. According to a 2001 report, the average sentence for all offenses was 56.8 months. The average sentence for drug offenses was 75.6 months, while the average sentence for violent offenses was 63.0 months. Someone is arrested for violating a drug law every 17 seconds. Someone is arrested for violating a cannabis law every 38 seconds," Christina Gleason from the article Financial Cost of the War on Drugs. The situation is not getting any better either in fact it is predicted to get worse. The war on drugs, which has by most accounts failed. It could also be said by some to be a racially charged issue as well. Many reports and studies have shown that mandatory minimums affect minority offenders far more than white offenders. This is glaringly obvious to anyone who has ever been to court for some minor offense. Look around at who you see. It is also safe to say that poverty plays a role as well. The people going to court are poor many times as well as being a minority group. One study by Harvard professor William Brownsberger showed that mandatory minimums disproportionately were applied to users of crack cocaine, which is used in greater numbers by African American males than any other racial group. For years this injustice has been quietly overlooked by both our government and society as a whole. We as a nation should be outraged but as with many things we apathetically turn a blind eye. Then the employment of civil forfeiture laws where the property of those accused in drug crimes could be seized before guilt was proven, corrupted law enforcement agencies who now had a vested interest in enforcing drug laws, it became big business. However despite energetic law enforcement efforts, however, drug availability has not been radically reduced in fact it has increased. The quality of any given drug has improved over the years. "Since December 31, 1995, the U.S. prison population has grown an average of 43,266 inmates per year. About 25 per cent are sentenced for drug law violations," U.S. Dept. of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics Many of the problems the drug war claims to solve are in fact caused by the drug war itself.“Drug-related” crime is a direct result of drug prohibition. In reality it is the law of supply and demand. Public health problems like HIV and Hepatitis C are all made worse by zero tolerance laws that restrict access to clean needles.

The drug war is no way a promoter of family values that some would have us believe. Children of inmates are at risk of educational failure, joblessness, addiction and delinquency. So a vicious cycle ensues. Drug abuse is bad and addiction is a disease but a treatable one. The drug war in no way addresses the problem it only perpetuates it and makes it worse. Walter S. Smith