Public and political opinion regarding the so-called “War on Drugs” is shifting on a global scale.

8 Nov 2015

In the United States, the originator of the term and the country responsible for investing in foreign military intervention to combat the illegal narcotics, there is a growing opinion that the War on Drugs is not only a failure, but also a negative societal influence both at home and abroad.

Are U.S. politicians finally acknowledging the failure of the War on Drugs?

While conservative U.S. politicians like Republican presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson largely either support or wish to ramp up the War on Drugs, there has even been some rethinking even on the Right in terms of lessening penalties for drug offenders.

Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders, who is wildly popular among the young and educated, recently declared “we have to end the War on Drugs” on popular late night talk show Jimmy Kimmel Live!

Waving -American -Flag

In a recent speech, President Obama emphasized the need for drug addiction and abuse to be treated as a public health issue, rather than a criminal one. The U.S. president participated in a community discussion dealing with the risks of prescription drug abuse, saying he wished to “restore a sense of balance when it came to drugs, illegal and legal.”

Back in July Obama decided to commute the sentences of 46 drug offenders and the U.S. Justice department is starting to release inmates convicted of non-violent drug offenses this month.

A tragic and expensive failure at home and abroad

Much of this turning against the War on Drugs in the U.S. can be attributed to liberalizing attitudes towards marijuana and its partial legalization in some U.S. states.

Yet what about the countries that source the U.S. illegal drug trade? Since President Richard Nixon initiated the War on Drugs in the late 1960s and early 70s, the United States has spent countless billions in Latin American countries, including programs like Plan Colombia, the Mérida Initiative in Mexico and similar actions in Honduras and Peru.

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