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We Can Do It Again

Repealing Today’s Failed Prohibition

Presented by
Law Enforcement Against Prohibition
Criminal Justice Policy Foundation
December 2008
We Can Do It Again
Repealing Today’s Failed Prohibition


Law Enforcement Against Prohibition

Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) is a 10,000-member organization

started by police, prosecutors, judges, FBI/DEA agents, corrections officials, military
and others who fought on the front lines of the “war on drugs” and who know
firsthand that prohibition only worsens drug addiction and drug market violence
problems. Since its founding in 2002, LEAP’s members in more than 80 countries
have helped to put a credible face on the modern anti-prohibition movement by
giving more than 4,000 presentations to civic groups, public officials, members of the
media and others. More information about LEAP is online at:

Criminal Justice Policy Foundation

Criminal Justice Policy Foundation (CJPF) is a private educational charity that

informs the public about the impact of drug policy and the problems of policing
on the criminal justice system. CJPF provides information and advice to policy
makers, criminal justice professionals and the public through consultation, education
programs, publications, the news media and the Internet. The foundation assists
effective drug policy advocacy organizations with advice on legal organization,
management, outreach, research, media relations and coalition building. More
information about CJPF is online at:


Many thanks are due to the following individuals who provided invaluable assistance
in the creation of this report: Tom Angell, Michael Baier, Jack Cole, Kristin Daley,
Kathleen DeGurski, Bill Fried, Jodi James, Keith Krosinsky, Julia Peterson, Matt Potter,
Ethel Rowland, Mike Smithson and Eric Sterling.

Graphic design by Mary Jane Borden. 1
We Can Do It Again
Repealing Today’s Failed Prohibition
Presented by
Law Enforcement Against Prohibition
Criminal Justice Policy Foundation

December 2008
Seventy-five years ago this week,
America’s leaders had the good sense
to end the failed thirteen-year policy of
alcohol prohibition.

Once prohibition was enshrined into the

Constitution, its supporters thought it
would be permanent.

But the failure of the “Noble Experiment”

was so great, the prohibitionists could not
stop the repeal movement.

Today, America is fighting another

prohibition, the “war on drugs.”

Once again, a large majority of the public

knows prohibition is a failure, but this time
there are much graver consequences.

While our drug prohibition policy

has already lasted much longer than
alcohol prohibition, it is, fortunately,
just as temporary.

America is in an economic and fiscal crisis, our worst since the Great Depression.
Unemployment is rising dramatically. Corporate earnings are collapsing. Great
financial institutions are disappearing. Analysts speculate about the very real
possibility that our greatest industrial corporations such as General Motors and
Ford will face bankruptcy.

Many federal, state and local government agencies are cutting their budgets and
shrinking basic public services like schools, police, child protection, recreation and
transportation. Public employees are facing an end to cost of living adjustments and
merit raises and are anticipating furloughs, layoffs and reductions in force. Assuredly,
this fiscal crisis will endanger public health and safety.

But by learning a lesson from American history and ending today’s

expensive and counterproductive prohibition of drugs like we ended
the earlier prohibition of alcohol, we can cut wasteful spending and
generate new revenues, all while making America’s streets safer. A legal
and regulated drug trade will lead to far fewer people being arrested
and incarcerated at taxpayer expense and will generate essential new
revenues, some of which can be earmarked to finance improved drug
treatment and recovery.

Under the current prohibition approach, police are forced to endlessly chase and
imprison dealers and users. When we take cops off this beat, we need not fear
increased violence, crime or drug abuse, because we can apply the protective tools
that regulate markets to improve public safety and health.

As we saw in the earlier prohibition of the 1920s and 1930s, much of our street
violence stems not from drug use but from the illegal nature of the drug market.
In any trade, competitors vie to control markets. Under drug prohibition, rival
organizations resort to violence to decide who will triumph in the marketplace.
Disputes surrounding quality, delivery, price and credit are not resolved in courts
or by arbitration, but at the point of a gun. In legal businesses, valuable inventory
can be protected from thieves with legitimate security firms, but in prohibition,
only gangsters are hired to provide protection against robbery, embezzlement or
fraud. In the illegal market, price and quality information is unreliable. There is no
trademark protection, no dependable quality control.

But while today’s prohibition is a failure for much the same reasons as the last
one, its consequences are even graver. Whereas alcohol prohibition allowed
domestic gangsters like Al Capone to rake in rich profits, today’s illegal market
helps fund the efforts of international cartels and terrorist networks like Al
Qaeda and the Taliban. After prohibition is repealed, America will be rid of a
major source of violence, crime and disorder that plagues every major city and 3
most Indian reservations, counties and municipalities in the United States as well as
communities worldwide.

The professionals of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) and the Criminal
Justice Policy Foundation (CJPF) know from long experience that when we arrest
a rapist or robber the number of rapes and robberies in the community diminishes
because “we got the guy.” But when we arrest a drug dealer at any level, we simply
create a job opening that is quickly filled from the endless ranks of people willing to
risk prison or death for the chance of obtaining huge profits.

After spending a trillion tax dollars and making 39 million arrests1 for nonviolent
drug offenses, drugs are now generally cheaper, more potent and easier for our
children to access than they were 40 years ago at the beginning of the “drug war.”

Whenever we attempt to confront our very real drug problems with the
brute force of prohibition, we make little progress.The few who have been
helped are greatly exceeded by the millions who have been hurt, all while
precious resources and opportunities are squandered in the process.

In addition to necessitating billions of dollars in direct police and corrections

expenditures, our policies have numerous indirect costs that act as a significant drag
on our economy. For example, how many cars do prisoners and convicted felons
buy each year? How much shopping do they do? Has one of our fastest growing
industries – prison construction – made us competitive with other industrialized
countries? How could denying college aid to some 200,000 students as a punishment
for drug use help develop our workforce? How does denying credit to people with
past drug offenses help to grow our economy? These are some of the reasons a
large and growing movement of citizens, lawmakers – and cops – are calling for an
end to today’s dysfunctional drug prohibition.

The 75th anniversary of the end of alcohol prohibition is an appropriate

occasion to examine the historical parallels between that failed
experiment’s unintended consequences and the even farther-reaching
harms of today’s drug prohibition.

“The prestige of government
has undoubtedly been lowered America has a long history with temperance movements, which achieved full
considerably by the prohibition expression through the 1919 ratification and 1920 enactment of the 18th Amendment
law. For nothing is more
to the U.S. Constitution, banning the manufacture, transportation and sale of
destructive of respect for the
government and the law of the
alcoholic beverages nationwide. To overcome traditional states’ rights concerns,
land than passing laws which prohibitionists in some parts of the country played on fears of immigrants and
cannot be enforced.” growing urbanization. During World War I, for example, beer (strongly associated
with German culture) was equated with a lack of American patriotism. Interestingly,
Albert Einstein, “My First Im-
prohibition took root at a time when alcohol consumption was continuing a steep,
pression of the U.S.A.,” 1921
multi-year decline.

It failed as prohibitions fail:

1. While estimates on alcohol use before, during and immediately after prohibition rely upon
incomplete data, sociologists identify two trends: first, alcohol became associated with a
rebellious, adventurous lifestyle, which increased its desirability, especially among the young.
Second, alcohol remained fully present in daily urban life. In New York City, for example,
in the year before prohibition went into effect, there were 15,000 saloons. Five years into
prohibition, those saloons were replaced by as many as 32,000 underground speakeasies.2 It
is without question that problematic alcohol use of all kinds increased due to this policy.

2. The prohibited drug became more available in its most concentrated and potent form,
a natural result of the costs involved in smuggling and concealing it. Beer and wine were
largely replaced by liquor in illegal speakeasies.

3. Providing liquor to meet the public demand required industrial scale production and distribution,
and it was enormously profitable. The inevitable result was the creation of modern organized
crime syndicates.The Great Depression made things even worse, as laid-off workers and even
active duty cops found employment with the alcohol smugglers. The homicide rate reached
unprecedented levels during this period, as gangsters struggled for control of the lucrative
market by killing each other, police officers and any innocent citizen who stood in the way of
their immense, untaxed profits.

4. Public health suffered. In New York, for example, there was a 525% increase in deaths
related to alcoholism and alcohol poisonings during the first six years of prohibition.3 Since
there was no regulation or oversight of the manufacture or sale of the drug, thousands of
people were blinded or killed by adulterated bathtub gin, the “poor man’s alcohol.”

5. Courts were clogged with alcohol prohibition-related offenses. Increasingly, public officials
at all levels allowed themselves to become corrupted by the gangsters’ payrolls rather
than enforce an increasingly unpopular, untenable policy. Public respect for the rule of law
suffered greatly as a consequence. Corruption was so widespread that one upstanding
Treasury Department unit became famously known as “The Untouchables” because, in not
responding to bribes or intimidation, they were the exception and not the rule. 5
6. Vital services and programs had to be cut because, in addition to the expensive costs of
prohibition enforcement, government budgets were deprived of tax revenue from alcohol
sales, alcohol industry workers’ salaries and the properties where alcohol was produced,
stored and consumed.
Things hadn’t worked out as well as the prohibitionists had planned.

It didn’t take very long for Americans to conclude that prohibition – even for a drug
“ When Prohibition was
as dangerous as alcohol – was an unaffordable, dysfunctional “luxury” that could no
introduced, I hoped that it
longer be tolerated during an economic crisis. would be widely supported
A large and active anti-prohibition movement emerged and grew very rapidly in by public opinion and the day
would soon come when the
the late 1920s and early 1930s. While Democrat Alfred E. Smith, an anti-prohibition
evil effects of alcohol would
presidential candidate, was defeated in 1928 by prohibitionist Herbert Hoover, by be recognized. I have slowly
1932 the Democrats had included an official anti-prohibition plank in the party and reluctantly come to
platform and 40 percent of the Republican convention delegates that re-nominated believe that this has not been
President Hoover also voted for a prohibition repeal plank of their own.4 In the the result. Instead, drinking
November 1932 elections, voters elected to repeal state prohibition policies in nine has generally increased; the
states and gave the presidency to anti-prohibition Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt speakeasy has replaced
the saloon; a vast army of
in an Electoral College landslide.
lawbreakers has appeared;
Thereafter,the repeal movement gained momentum so quickly that the prohibitionists many of our best citizens have
openly ignored Prohibition;
couldn’t even muster enough support in 13 states to block repeal. On December
respect for the law has been
5, 1932, a resolution to repeal the 18th Amendment was introduced in the lame
greatly lessened; and crime
duck session of the 72nd Congress. It was immediately considered and came within has increased to a level never
six votes of the two-thirds necessary for passage. On February 20, 1933, the 73rd seen before. ”
Congress sent the proposed repeal amendment to the consideration of the state
John D. Rockefeller, Jr., 1932
ratifying conventions. The 21st Amendment was added to the Constitution when
Utah became the 36th state to ratify it on December 5, 1933. What many had once
called “the noble experiment” was officially certified as a failure.5
Bureau of Justice Statistics
With the end of prohibition, the homicide rate plunged, and
those rates stayed low until the 1970s, when active enforcement
of the “war on drugs” began in earnest.6

“ We advocate the repeal of the Eighteenth Amendment…we urge

the enactment of such measures by the several states as will actually
promote temperance, effectively prevent the return of the saloon, and
bring the liquor traffic into the open under complete supervision and
control by the states. ”

Democratic Party Platform, 1932

“ [T]he war on drugs has
failed: every community in the Today’s prohibition of the many so-called “controlled substances” is similar to, but
US contends with the harmful is in many respects significantly more complex than, alcohol prohibition. The wide
effects of drug misuse and variety of prohibited substances; their global cultivation, production and trade; the
related problems, and while
global ease of capital movement and the connection between the illegal drug trade
states have continually
and political insurgencies are all modern features of prohibition that our great
increased their expenditures
to wage the war on drugs, grandparents did not have to face. Nonetheless, in so many of its essential features
policies which rely heavily drug prohibition has echoed alcohol prohibition’s impact on the economy, crime,
on arrest and incarceration public safety and public health. Alcohol prohibition involved ethnic, religious and
have proved costly and regional prejudices, and those ugly features are dramatically worse under the racial
ineffective at addressing stereotyping and disparities of today’s drug enforcement.
these issues… ”
Fueled by fears of children becoming addicted, of “date rape drugs” and of drug-
National Black Caucus of
inducing insanity and promiscuity, the “war on drugs” has had enormous impact.
State Legislators, “A Resolu-
tion to Investigate the Real Cost Since its rhetorical and legal launch in 1970, annual federal spending on the war
of the War on Drugs,” passed has increased to $19.2 billion7, annual arrests for nonviolent drug offenses have
December 3, 2004 quadrupled8 and imprisonment for federal drug offenses has increased by 28
times.9, 10

It fails as alcohol prohibition failed. Only worse.

1. According to the federal government, in the decade preceding the start of the war, 4 million
people in the United States above the age of 12 had used an illegal drug in their lifetime
(2 percent of the population).11 By 2007, the government revealed that 114 million people
above the age of 12 had tried an illegal drug (46 percent of that population), an increase of
2,850 percent.12 Drug use became a badge of rebellion, although very widely worn.According
to the World Health Organization, the United States has the highest rates of marijuana and
cocaine use in the world, despite our having some of the harshest penalties.

2. Drugs have become more concentrated and potent, a natural result of the costs involved in
avoiding law enforcement. The average purity of cocaine at retail increased from 40 percent
pure in 1981 to 70 percent pure in 2003, while its wholesale cost dropped by 84 percent
over the same period. The purity of street-level heroin nearly tripled, while its wholesale
cost has dropped by more than 86 percent.13

3. The homicide rate skyrocketed through the 1970s and 1980s, corresponding with increasing
expenditures on enforcing prohibition.14

4. Organized crime has flourished once again, but this time goes well beyond mere domestic
street gangsters running amok in our cities, although we still confront that. In Colombia,
Mexico, Jamaica and the Bahamas, organizations specializing in delivering drugs to the
United States have arisen along with violence and corruption. In Afghanistan, the Taliban
that hosted international terrorist Osama Bin Laden in 2001 alternately profited from
taxing the opium crop and banning its cultivation after it had cornered the market. 7
Over the past two years in Mexico, President Felipe Calderón has stepped up his country’s
war on drug traffickers, asking U.S. taxpayers for $1.4 billion to fund increased police and
military operations. While these efforts have slowed neither the supply nor the demand
for cocaine, the crackdown has resulted in increased illegal drug market violence as well
as corruption reaching even the highest levels of the country’s law enforcement apparatus,
including the federal attorney general’s office.The cartels have used the insider intelligence
that they have gained to keep tabs on the government’s operations and respond accordingly,
most flagrantly to determine the location of Mexico’s top law enforcement official, whom
they murdered in May 2008.15

It is not hard to imagine how so many Mexican police have allowed themselves to become
corrupted by the cartels. They are tasked with confronting a well-armed, well-funded
enemy operating what American authorities estimate is a $23-billion-a-year business16 that
has been blamed for 58 deaths on one day alone in November 2008 and a total 2008 death
toll to date of about 4,000,17 surpassing the nearly 2,500 deaths for all of 2007.18

The collateral damage of Mexico’s increased prohibition enforcement has spilled over
into the U.S. as well. At least one U.S. Border Patrol agent has been charged with being
on the payroll of the traffickers, having allegedly allowed 3,000 pounds of cocaine into
the country under his watch.19 A seven-year-old boy was recently kidnapped at gunpoint
in what authorities think was a drug market dispute.20 Thanks to Americans’ demand for
illegal drugs, Mexican cartels are now active in every region of the United States and
dominate the drug trade in most areas.21

5. Often, people addicted to drugs cannot support their habits with

“ For decades the United States has been
their salaries.To afford to buy drugs, many are reduced to prostitution,
fighting a losing war against drugs. While
larceny and fraud or to selling drugs themselves. Estimates vary, but budgets have increased dramatically over
an undeniably significant portion of our street crime stems from our the last two decades and drug-related
drug policy, not the drugs themselves. incarcerations consistently reach new
records, drug problems worsen…At a time
6. Public health suffers. Since there are no regulations on drug production when the federal budget is limited programs
and distribution, our hospitals are besieged by people suffering not need to re-evaluated and funding needs to
only from drug abuse, but often from unknown, cheaper and more go to programs that work. We need new
dangerous substances that dealers sometimes cut into their products ideas to save lives, we can’t afford to
to maximize profits. And just as amateur distillers harmed themselves continue to be wrong. ”

and others in accidents related to manufacturing “bathtub gin” under “Eight Steps to Effectively Controlling Drug
alcohol prohibition, today’s makeshift methamphetamine labs present Abuse & The Drug Market,” endorsed by,
great dangers. According to the Centers for Disease Control and among others, National Council of
Prevention, “injection drug use has directly and indirectly accounted the Churches of Christ in the USA,
Evangelical Lutheran Church in
for more than one-third (36%) of AIDS cases in the United States,”22
America, Presbyterian Church (USA)
tragedies that could be avoided with safe needle exchange, an effort and United Church of Christ
made far more difficult under prohibition.

7. Courts are clogged with drug cases; public officials at all levels are deeply corrupted by the
enforcement of an increasingly unpopular, unenforceable policy and by the roughly $500
billion the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy and the United Nations
estimate are generated by illegal commerce in drugs every year.23

8. One obvious result of arresting 1.8 million people a year on drug charges under prohibition
is an ongoing squeeze on federal, state and local government budgets.24 Again.
As was the case during the Great Depression, people are saying, “Enough!”

Recent polls show that 67% of police chiefs25 and 76% of the public26 agree that
“[T]he United States
the “war on drugs” is a failure. Thirteen states have legalized medical marijuana
Conference of Mayors believes
despite dire warnings of a floodgate effect from this “loophole” in the prohibition.
the war on drugs has failed
and calls for a New Bottom And in not one of those states did youthful marijuana subsequently increase.
Line in U.S. drug policy, a Just last month, despite predictably dramatic opposition, voters in Massachusetts
public health approach that overwhelmingly approved a ballot question decriminalizing possession of up to
concentrates more fully an ounce of marijuana. The warnings of the prohibitionists are increasingly shrill,
on reducing the negative increasingly desperate, increasingly ignored.
consequences associated with
drug abuse, while ensuring The movement to repeal this prohibition is growing and has the support of a
that our policies do not remarkably diverse constituency. What other movement can claim the support of
exacerbate these problems or a wide spectrum of progressives and conservatives like Milton Friedman, Howard
create new social problems of
Zinn, William F. Buckley, Noam Chomsky, George Shultz and Barbara Ehrenreich?
their own…”
Drug prohibition is undeniably entrenched and horrific, but thanks in part to
U.S Conference of Mayors,
“A New bottom Line in Reducing
an emerging group of law enforcement professionals who fought on the front
the Harms of Substance Abuse,” lines of the “war on drugs” and who know it’s time for a new direction, it is
passed June 2007 newly vulnerable.

The case of Joel Giambra, a county executive in Erie County, NY is illustrative.When,

in response to the brutal murder/robbery of a nun by a man addicted to crack cocaine,
Giambra said that we should consider drug legalization to avoid such horrors, he was
demonized in the press.The next week Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP)
lent its full support for Mr. Giambra at press conferences, on local talk-radio and
television and by flooding the newspapers with letters to the editor each time the
executive was portrayed negatively in the press. Two weeks later The Buffalo News
allowed Mr. Giambra to publish an op-ed in favor of legalization and later published
their own article, which suggested, “years from now, they may look at him in the
same way we see Susan B. Anthony and other pioneers for women’s rights.” 9
While LEAP’s credibility played a part, the larger story behind this amazing media
turnabout is prohibition’s weakening grip. Other examples abound: The National “ The drug war is causing
crime. It is just chewing up
Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators and the U.S. Conference of Mayors unanimously young black men. And it’s
passed resolutions calling for an end to the “war on drugs” and for drug abuse killing Newark. ”
to be treated as a health problem. The National Black Caucus of State Legislators, Newark, NJ, Mayor Cory
the National Organization for Women and others have also passed supportive Booker, June 24, 2007
resolutions. Newark Mayor Cory Booker and San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom
have held press conferences to say the “war on drugs” must be stopped because it
is destroying their cities.

We are in the early but unmistakable phase of an historic moment in

which prohibition will be put on the defensive and revealed as unworkable,
inexcusable and expendable.

“ We believe that the global war on drugs is now causing more harm than drug abuse itself…U.N.
agencies estimate the annual revenue generated by the illegal drug industry at $400 billion…This
industry has empowered organized criminals, corrupted governments at all levels, eroded internal
security, stimulated violence, and distorted both economic markets and moral values. These are
the consequences not of drug use per se, but of decades of failed and futile drug war policies. ”

Open letter to U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan, June 1, 1998, singed by, among others:
Walter Cronkite, Joycelyn Elders, Milton Friedman, Kweisi Mfume, Kurt Schmoke
and George Shultz


Until federal prohibition in Congress and state prohibition in the 50 state legislatures
“ Have we failed to
are repealed, many of the harms detailed in this report will remain unaddressed.
consider the lessons of
the Prohibition era? Now We recognize that the belief that prohibition is the only appropriate means to
is the time to fight on
control the problems of drug abuse has been entrenched in our political and popular
the only terms the drug
culture for almost 100 years. However, as our national experience with alcohol
underground empire
respects - money. Let’s prohibition in 1932 and 1933 teaches, when a prohibition is widely understood to
take the profit out of drug be a failure, a dramatic change in the economy and political environment can make
trafficking.” change in policy much more rapid than anyone anticipated.
Former Baltimore, MD, Yet, we acknowledge that it may still take some time for the modern repeal
Mayor Kurt Schmoke movement to reach critical mass. Accordingly, we have identified several steps that
can be taken right now:

1. The United States Congress should empanel a blue ribbon commission to do a true
accounting of all costs to our nation stemming from this prohibition. A strict cost-benefit
analysis would help Congress and the public evaluate the policy’s consequences. This
analysis should include such indirect costs as lost wages, thwarted community economic
development, lost educational opportunities and specific impacts on targeted economic

Congress created the National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse in 1970 (known
as the Shafer Commission), which issued reports in 1972 and 1973 that evaluated our drug
policies. President Nixon famously ignored its findings and recommendations, but in light of
the current economic crisis, we believe the new administration and Congress will welcome
an evidence-based approach to drug control issues.

2. State legislatures and local governments should carefully review their police,
courts and corrections policies and budgets to determine whether the expenditures
for prohibition enforcement are the best use of extremely scarce resources. We urge
policymakers to consider the real-life impacts of these policies and budget decisions:
Should a teacher be laid off in order to pay several months of police officer overtime
necessitated by the prosecution of a handful of drug cases? Should a school nurse be laid
off in order to incarcerate someone who has lapsed in his or her effort to recover from
opioid addiction? Should a recreation center for hundreds of children be closed in order
to finance helicopter flights to detect illicit marijuana cultivation? 11
3. Ongoing efforts to reduce incidence of death, disease, crime and addiction should
continue through incremental reforms and harm reduction strategies such as the
repeal of mandatory minimum sentences, decriminalization of small amounts of drugs,
syringe exchange and all efforts to replace punitive incarceration with proven treatment.

However, until prohibition is repealed and drugs are legalized so they can be effectively
regulated, we will have illegal drug money fueling gangs, cartels and terrorists; a deep
hole in our public budgets; millions of Americans with criminal records removed
from the productive arenas of education and the workplace; lack of respect for the
rule of law and vulnerable people afraid to seek help for their addictions.

At a moment that is as economically threatening to millions of Americans

as the Great Depression, we would do well to learn the lessons that history
so clearly and compellingly provides and repeal prohibition, eliminating
its numerous unintended consequences.


“ The role of government should be to prevent the most chaotic drug users from harming others
– by robbing or by driving while drugged, for instance – and to regulate drug markets to ensure
minimum quality and safe distribution. The first task is hard if law enforcers are preoccupied with
stopping all drug use; the second, impossible as long as drugs are illegal. ”

The Economist, editorial, June 28, 2001

Crime in the United States. 2007. United States. U.S. Department of Justice. Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Lerner, Michael A. Dry Manhattan: Prohibition in New York City. Harvard UP, 2007.
Oulahan, Richard V. “Dry Conflict Acute After 10-Year Test.” New York Times 1 Jan. 1930.
Kyvig, David. Repealing National Prohibition. Kent State UP, 2000.
Vital Statistics. United States. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention. 2008.
National Drug Control Strategy: FY 2003 Budget Summary. United States. White House Office of National Drug
Control Policy. 2002.
Federal Bureau of Investigation, op. cit.
Pastore, Ann L., and Kathleen Maguire, eds. “Federal prison population, and number and per-cent sentenced for
drug offenses.” Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics.
Prisoners in 2006. United States. U.S. Department of Justice. Bureau of Justice Statistics. 2007.
DEA History Book. United States. U.S. Department of Justice. Drug Enforcement Administration. 2003.
Results from the 2007 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: National Findings. United States. U.S. Department
of Health and Human Services. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. 2008.
National Drug Control Strategy: Data Supplement. United States. White House Office of National Drug Control
Policy. 2005.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, op. cit.
Roig-Franzia, Manuel. “Mexico’s Police Chief Is Killed In Brazen Attack by Gunmen.” Washington Post 9 May
Drug Control: U.S. Assistance Has Helped Mexican Counternarcotics Efforts, but the Flow of Illicit Drugs into the
United States Remains High. United States. Government Accountability Office. 2007.
Lacey, Marc. “In Mexico Drug War, Sorting Good Guys From Bad.” New York Times 1 Nov. 2008.
Miller Llana, Sara. “Mexico, U.S. step up drug-war cooperation.” Christian Science Monitor 23 Jan. 2008.
Becker, Andrew. “Border Inspector Accused of Allowing 3,000 Pounds of Cocaine Into U.S. Over 5 Years.”
New York Times 9 Nov. 2008.
“Abducted Boy Found Alive in Las Vegas.” Associated Press 19 Oct. 2008.
Situation Report: Cities in Which Mexican DTOs Operate Within the United States. United States. U.S. Department
of Justice. National Drug Intelligence Center. 2008.
Drug-Associated HIV Transmission Continues in the United States. United States. U.S. Department of Health and
Human Services. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2002.
McCaffrey, Barry. “McCaffrey Urges Global Cooperation Against Drug Trafficking.” El Universal 8 Feb. 2000.
Federal Bureau of Investigation, op. cit.
Drugs and Crime Across America: Police Chiefs Speak Out. Drug Strategies & Police Foundation. 2004.
Zogby International. “Zogby/Inter-American Dialogue Survey: Public Views Clash with U.S. Policy on Cuba,
Immigration, and Drugs.” Press release. 2 Oct. 2008. 13
Every citizen has an important role to play in repealing today’s failed
prohibition. Here’s what you can do to help:

• Take action at If you agree that prohibition is hurting

our economy, making our streets more dangerous and harming public health, why not make
sure the people who represent you learn about these horrors as well? All you have to do
is visit our site, enter your contact info and click to send a pre-written, editable letter to
your federal and state elected officials.

• Join Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. Any citizen or criminal justice professional
can become a member of LEAP for free. No matter who you are, please join the thousands
who make up our ranks today by visiting

• Talk to your friends and family about the failure of drug prohibition and what they can
do to stop it. Make sure that everyone you know is aware how the “war on drugs” affects
their pocketbooks and the safety of their streets.

• Write letters to the editors of your local newspapers. Getting letters published is easy,
effective and rewarding. Just remember that short and to-the-point letters increase your
chances of getting published. Valuable tips and resources for writing LTEs can be found
online at

• Call your local talk radio stations to weigh in about the costs of prohibition during
segments on the economic crisis, for example. Talk radio hosts love to discuss hot-button
issues like drug legalization and regulation.

• Build the movement for change by reaching out to prominent local organizations and
inviting them to learn about and take action against the harms of prohibition. For example,
you might try connecting with local NAACP, ACLU, NOW and League of Women Voters
chapters, as well as chambers of commerce.

• Meet with your elected officials to personally inform them about the need to repeal
prohibition. Chances are, your representatives are not going to take a leadership role in
this important effort unless they see support for doing so from constituents like you.

• Run for office if you aren’t happy with the leadership your elected officials are providing
you with. If, after approaching your representatives in good faith, you find that your concerns
aren’t being addressed, replace them. Be the change you wish to see!

• Give this report to someone else so they can learn lessons from America’s history with
failed prohibitions.


Law Enforcement Against Prohibition Criminal Justice Policy Foundation

121 Mystic Ave. 8730 Georgia Ave., Suite 400
Medford, MA 02155 Silver Spring, MD 20910
(781) 393-6985 (301) 589 -6020