No Matter How Bad You Think the Drug War Is, It's Worse

Submitted by smorgan on
As I was writing the post below about asset forfeiture, I felt once again the familiar frustration of knowing in my heart that the drug war survives only because so many people don't even know what it really is. They may form an opinion about whether or not drugs should be legal, but do they know how often police confiscate cars from people who never committed a crime? How many innocent teenage girls got their underpants searched for nothing? How many mothers lost their children over a false positive drug test? How many people have gone to jail not because they broke the law, but because a cop lied?

Just imagine what would happen if the average American actually came to grasp the full breadth of abject unfairness that characterizes the application of our drug laws in every conceivable circumstance. The totality of injustice in the war on drugs is its own galaxy. Even as someone who actively tries to keep track of it, I'm routinely stunned by the magnitude of systemic corruption, callousness and incompetence that festers in every corner of the massive drug war juggernaut.

As advocates for change, we must accept that we can never teach everyone among us to truly understand and appreciate the full spectrum of cruelty and perversion that defines the war on drugs. Fortunately we don’t have to. To vividly depict just one small fraction of the drug war's infinite injustices would do the job and it's just a question of keeping the dialogue going long enough for reality to begin sinking in.

The flipside of no one fully appreciating the harms of the drug war is that when it finally ends, the benefits will exceed every expectation.

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