The war on drugs, simple put, has failed.
The United States has for far too long spent untold billions on a “war” that has filled our prisons, decimated our communities, encouraged violence, and violated our civil rights while doing very little reduce drug abuse.
The drug war wastes roughly $20 billon in taxes -- five times what we spend on job training and ten times what we spend on renewable energy research -- and leads to the arrest of more than 1.7 million people each year.
Further, this misguided war disproportionately impacts communities of color. For example although African Americans comprise only 12.2 percent of the population and 13 percent of drug users, they make up 38 percent of those arrested for drug offenses and 59 percent of those convicted of drug offenses.
We need a sensible and compassionate approach to reducing the negative impacts of drug abuse. Arresting, prosecuting and incarcerating millions of people is not the answer.
Tell your representatives that you want real answers, not a “war” targeting our own communities. Ask them to move beyond a punitive model of dealing with drugs that is not only wasteful and abusive, but ineffective and offensive.
It is time to admit that the War on Drugs has failed. We have not reduced the problems associated with drug abuse. Instead, we have spent huge amounts of taxpayer money to arrest, prosecute, and incarcerate people who pose no real threat to our communities and who most often need help -- not punishment.
The drug war has a disproportionate impact on low-income communities and communities of color and so instead of helping to rebuild and strengthen our most vulnerable, we’ve carried out a war that continually attacks and weakens these communities.
I am writing because we cannot afford, financially and morally, to continue this war targeting our own people. We need sensible and compassionate responses to the issue of drug abuse. We need to treat it as the public health issue it is, not as a criminal matter.
The tide is turning and right now is a critical moment for us to change directions and start anew. I know it won’t be easy, but I am asking you to summon the courage of your convictions and take a stand for justice and reason.
Please, you can help end one of the most devastating wars this country has ever faced.
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