Lindsay Trigoboff: A lost war

January 21, 2013 

A lost war

The war on drugs is costing us more than we’re getting back. On average, it costs $30,000 a year to incarcerate an inmate. However, the nation spends an average of $11,665 per public school student. Is incarceration an appropriate punishment for all drug offenses?

Over 50 percent of people in jail were put there for drug law violation, most of which are for possession (85 percent to 90 percent).The war on drugs is often compared with Prohibition, and it’s easy to see why. Prohibition brought an increase in consumption of hard liquor and saw more organized crime taking over legal production and distribution. Banning alcohol didn’t stop people from drinking; it just stopped people from obeying the law.

Likewise, the war on drugs doesn’t seem to be affecting drug use; the U.S. leads the world in illegal drug use.

It makes more sense to help addicts break their habits rather than put users in prison, possibly for the second or third time. This is a serious problem in our country. We need alternatives to incarceration that focus on education and health.

Lindsay Trigoboff

Elon

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