Argument that law enforcement must crack down on illegal drugs to reduce crime in the U.S.

For the last thirty years, the U.S has witnesses a global increase in the criminalization of illegal and improper drug use. Criminalization in turn has led to the increase in use of cruel punitive sanctions forced on drug offenders and striking increases in rates of incarceration. The drugs policy established have narrowed the impact on eradicating and reducing illegal drug use which also in turn have led in unpleasant consequences for social and community health. The criminal justice system on the other hand has failed to manage and control many prospects of the drug trade and the problem of illegal drug use alike. The fact that police crackdown on illegal drugs is the only formula applied resulting to massive incarceration of drug offenders; experts argue that drug-related diseases like HIV infections and Hepatitis C are health worries and they cannot be addressed through punitive policies of jail and imprisonment (Stevenson, 2. 2011).
Just as there is an increase in the criminalization of illegal drug use, there has also been an increase in drug consumption. In 2010 the U.S carried out a National Survey on drug use and health and it was found out that nearly 22.6 million Americans as from twelve years of age and older were the users of illegal drugs and they represented 8.9 % of the population (U.S Senate Caucus on international Narcotics Control, 2012). There has never been such a large proportion of drug users involving person of twelve years in the entire American history. This report alarmed the U.S. government and so in June 2012 the U.S senate Caucus on international Narcotics Control drafted a report proposing that some drugs should be legalized, since it is a chief public health concern and the main source of violence. The senate proposed two theories on how drug legalization will both reduce crime in the U.S and the cost of drugs to the user. The first theory suggests that users will not have to spend so much money to support their drug habits and fewer will commit crimes such as robbery and burglary to get money for drugs. The second theory suggests since the cost of drug will decrease, so will the drug seller gain profit. In a nutshell, drugs will no longer be profitable business, and since addicts will be capable of obtaining drugs from legal source, the present black market suppliers of drugs like cartels, gangs, organized criminal and the likes will disappear.
Its apparent, the U.S. has fought the drug war for quite a long time, this report of the U.S. Senate shows that crackdown on illegal drugs in order to reduce crime has failed, and legalization of drugs is the only way out. The drug war began all the way back in 1969 when President Richard Nixon established a ‘new urgency and concerted national policy’ to curb the scourge of drugs. Carr (2002) succinctly argue that this initiative had staggered since that time and the U.S. government spent 18.8 billion in year 2000 just to solve American drug problem. However Hecate (1997) confirms that the very President officially declared war on drugs in 1973. Illegal drug usage has been an issue and during this regimen of Obama, experts are thinking to legalize marijuana also known as cannabis. The editor of Virginia Quarterly Review (2009) asserts that President Obama during a campaign trail admitted that he experimented marijuana and inhaled it often, but when he was asked about why drug legalization in his country, he just laughed it off. Americans believe that marijuana is a soft drug, the experts and U.S. Senate Caucus on international Narcotics Control suggests this specific drug to be legalized.
As the Americans still contemplate about the issue of legalizing drugs or not, the crackdown on illegal drugs is still carried out in America. According to Scott (2004), crackdown is used to policing and law enforcement. It is rather an abrupt and striking increase in police officer presence, sanctions and threats of apprehension either for particular offences or for all offences in given places. They involve high police visibility and many arrests, police use undercover or ordinary clothes dressed police working with uniformed police. Crackdown is categorized into: Enforcement action where police presence is emphasized; Type of Action Expected where police suspend the usual discretion they use to favor a particular prescribed enforcement action. For instance, they can make custodial arrests and issue a citation and release an offender; Geographical Target where high police visibility is concentrated in a small area like in a house and; Types of Offenses Targeted where crackdown is centered on a specific illegal conduct like drug dealing. Crackdown reduces crime and disorder in two ways: it increases the certainty and offenders’ are caught and punished more harshly than usual; and it also increases the offenders’ perception that they are more probable to get caught and punished.
In the drug dealing scenario, crackdown target certain types of drug markets and it reduces the number of offenders in circulation. The remaining offenders who narrowly escape from the hands of the police are at a greater risk as well as the police center on their resources on them, in the end the drug market will collapse for the absence of buyers and sellers. However, the crackdown applied on drugs has a snowball effect and it is short term. The police intention on crackdown is to reduce: visibility of drugs, amount of drugs used, number of drug users, number of drug-related crime and improve life quality in a given area as well as improve citizen attitudes regarding the police. Drug crackdown in general raises the cost of dealing and buying in the sense that it increases the time for dealers and buyers to meet and negotiate and make a deal, increases the risk of getting arrested and also increases the risks of having drugs removed. Dealers are affected greatly as they are less willing to sell their drugs to strangers and opt to change market from the open one to a closed one to hide from the police. Most drug crack downs need a period of police maintenance to ensure the drug market does not reemerge again.
Nevertheless, motivated drug dealers and buyers can acclimatize to police crackdown by simply finding alternative ways to communicate with one another and negotiate a deal, the experienced and the extra addicted users especially are never deterred by crackdowns. When aware of crackdowns, they decide not to carry drugs and hide them elsewhere which can be stolen or exposed to police. Heroin users for example, are always nervous by crackdowns and they rush intravenous drug use by using unclean needles to inject themselves in remote place where they cannot be caught by the police in case the overdose themselves, they also hide drug in body cavities which increase the risk of accidental overdose and infection, and they carelessly discard their used syringes. Furthermore, when drug users and dealers sense a drug crackdown, they become more suspicious of one another and they get violent. Incase their bodies yearn for more drugs and the crackdown somehow causes the prices of drug to raise, buyers commit more crime to get money in order to finance their habit, and this is a big threat to the society at large, to the police as well as it poses a challenge. In sum, law enforcement to crackdown on illegal drugs does not reduce crime but instead it increases it.
Regardless of the police hard efforts on crackdown, drugs still are sneaked in by dealers; Fooksman (2007) found out from a traffic police officer that more than 2,500 pounds of drugs have been confiscated for the past twelve years. Americans users have always find a way to use narcotics and more surprisingly at a price that continues to drop. The price of cocaine and heroin has dropped significantly as their purity rise. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency approximated that in year 2000, 331 tons of cocaine was consumed and the number of people dying from the overdose of these two drugs double each year. Also U.S. Customs and the DEA get hold of 126 pounds of heroin hidden in twelve bales of cotton towels on a container ship at the port, and two men were nabbed at the port on that month importing 3.25 million steroid pills from Moldavia. The previous year still Customs and the DEA got hold of another ICO Kilograms of cocaine concealed in two refrigerated containers that had bananas. As a result of the police inefficiency to eliminate drugs, more people are accessed to them. Heroin when used in small quantities produces a victim that is violent who desires to steal or robs to get more money to finance his habit. Additionally, other hard drugs like amphetamine are expensive, and its users are left with the option of committing crimes to purchase it. The police force in the U.S approximates that 80-90% of crimes are drug related, that is, about 80% of American prisoners have a previous involvement with hard drugs like cocaine, heroin and amphetamine.
Burke (2002) argues that is a high time that the world admits that the drug policies are failing, they have failed to control drug trade simply because of confused mythologies. The users of the drugs might be the poor, but the dealers and the sellers in the drug business are middle-class professionals like city traders, broadcasters, investment forecasters, advertising executives and the likes. No drug policy has prevented this people from smuggling drugs into the market. So the availability of drugs converts many people to be drug addict, who engage in acts of violence so as to get money to purchase the expensive drugs. In order to reduce drug related crime, New Statesman (2002) argues that despite of the harmful effects drugs cause the society, and the fact that drugs are more widely available, legalizing them is all about the best ways of controlling the dangers and that jailing and imprisonment will not solve these harmful effects. First drugs should be categorized, not by criminal penalties but by different forms of supply, for example by prescription or on wide availability on particular licensed premises. Drug wars on the other hand should create policies that argue about the degrees of regulation, not by the degrees of criminality. Penalties will be better if they are reserved for antisocial behavior like driving cars and fighting with people under the influence of drugs, and not for the use of the drugs themselves. The restrictions should be on selling drugs to children and not to adults, while the impediments that are emphasized should be health risks and not on the overcrowded prison. Perhaps, when drugs are legalized like tobacco and alcohol, many young people would take drugs or perhaps they will not. Drugs are more attractive specifically because they are forbidden.
But what about if they are not legalized, the world would be a safer place because legalization will increase the number of casual users which will increase the number of drug abusers; more and more drug users, addicts and abusers would get more health problems which in turn will lower economic productivity; albeit legalization will lead to saving in expensive criminal justice cost and offer tax revenue and increase public health costs, but due to low economic productivity and more drug-users workers will offset financial benefits of legalization; lastly, the legalization of both hard and soft drugs which are considered by experts to be harmless, they in the long run have negative consequences for health of users and additive liability unlike alcohol and tobacco.
In conclusion it is evident that police crackdown increases drug relate crime but the question to legalize drugs or not is worth taking, arguments on both the proposers and opposes are persuasive, so whom shall the U.S. government listened to. The best way to go about it is to suspend the judgment since the drug war has proven to be ineffectual in reducing crimes. In the meantime it is time to explore new approaches (Donohue, 157. 2012).