When it comes to the War on Drugs, there are really no winners from what's left of the stains left on communities. Aside from the fact that America declared war on its own people, many of them sick, it waged against something that could only get more powerful by the punch.
Just as the most recent extensive study of the drug trade published in the BMJ Open pointed out, the war on drugs could not have been more of a failure, except for drugs, of course.
Here's a quick summary of the findings in that study provided by Esquire:
The average purity of heroin and cocaine have increased, respectively, 60 percent and 11 percent between 1990 and 2007. Cannabis purity is up a whopping 161 percent over that same time. Not only are drugs way purer than ever, they're also way, way cheaper. Coke is on an 80 percent discount from 1990, heroin 81 percent, cannabis 86 percent. After a trillion dollars spent on the drug war, now is the greatest time in history to get high.
Essentially, the drug problem has worsened, and that's not just with drug use but also the punitive impact made on communities of color. You can find more black people in correctional facilities, or on probation or parole, than black slaves in the decade before the Civil War began. That's because enemy lines were established in the poor, mostly black and brown neighborhoods.
The implications of these war games just perpetuate themselves. Esquire cites Daniel Lieberman's The Story of the Human Body: Evolution, Health, and Disease and attributes the empowerment of drug activity to our psychological reality being equally unadjusted to the world we live in. Perhaps there's something to that.
But the reality with these war games is that it's been more punitive than helpful and not a single community is safer, or more likely to be drug free.