Drug Abuse


  • Stephen R. KandallOur inhumane and costly 100-year war on drugs. News and Observer. March 24, 2013. The federal “war on drugs” started in 1914 with the passage of the Harrison Anti-Narcotic Act and two 1919 Supreme Court decisions: U.S. v. Doremus, which held the Harrison Act constitutional, and Webb et al v. U.S., which made it illegal for physicians and pharmacists to dispense narcotics solely for addiction maintenance. Despite two subsequent court decisions – U.S. v. Linder in 1925 and Robinson v. California in 1962 – which attempted to modulate this “zero tolerance” campaign, America remained committed to harsh, punitive measures against a vulnerable population of addicts.

    Since 1971, the “war on drugs” has cost America an estimated $1 trillion and led to 45 million drug arrests, most for nonviolent offenses. In 2007 alone, illegal drug use cost the United States an estimated $193 billion in productivity losses, anti-crime measures and health expenditures.

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