Drug War Critics Focus On Arrests For Possession


Every 18 seconds, an American is busted for drug possession, the new FBI crime report says. The Christian Science Monitor says the statistics point to a continued emphasis on drug interdiction – otherwise known as the “war on drugs” – that more law enforcement officers are now questioning. While many experts hold the anti-drug campaign to be the key reason for the decline in the crime rate in the U.S. especially violent crime, since the 1990s, these police officers, as well as current and retired judges and prosecutors see, instead, thousands of American lives ruined for small drug infractions in a costly and possibly unwinnable “war.”

“Not only do these officers see the terrible results that their work has had on individuals’ lives, but a lot of what I hear from beat officers and undercover narcotics agents is they’ve seen colleagues die in the line of fire trying to enforce laws that have no positive impacts,” says Tom Angell of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) in Washington, D.C. The latest FBI figures say that 82.3 percent of all drug arrests in 2008 were for possession, and 44.3 percent of these for possession of marijuana. Arrests totalled more than 1.7 million. A Zogby poll in May showed for that the first time a majority of Americans favor decriminalizing marijuana. States such as Massachusetts and California have already taken steps in that direction.

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