War on Drugs: Reducing and Defining the Trade of Illegal Drugs

‘The War on Drugs’ is an expression mostly used for the prohibition campaign and military intervention carried out by the American government, with support from the foreign military and involved countries, and the main objective is to reduce and define the trade of illegal drugs. This proposal engages a range of U.S. drug policies that are aimed to put off the production, distribution, and use of these unlawful psychoactive substances. The term, War on Drugs, was initially introduced by American President Richard Nixon, which later received significant support from the media (Dunn, 2008, p.13).

The era of President Reagan indicated the commencement of a long period of high rates of imprisonment, mainly due to the exceptional growth of the drug war. There was an increased number of offenders in prisons for passive drug law crimes, which increased from around 45,000 in 1980 to about 550,000 in 2002 (Marez, 2004, p.43). In 1985, only 2-6% of Americans considered drug abuse as the national “number one problem.” The numbers increased between 1985 and 1990 as a result of the American’s passion for crack cocaine. Moreover, in December 1989, it attained a notable 65% that showed the deepest passion by Americans to fight drug abuse (Marez, 2004, p.43).

Drug abuse in America and other countries became widespread and addiction began to be evident. As societies underwent an increased addict population, the respective governments became more concerned, although there were policies and laws prohibiting drug abuse that had already been set up in the 1860s. For example, the early federal law was the Harrison Act of 1914 that aimed at giving firm guidelines for importing and provision of drugs to control substance trade. In the 1930s, the Federal Bureau of Narcotics was introduced by the Department of Treasury that called for strict punishments on drug users. However, by 1970, just four million had been tried, but the figure had increased to more than 75 million by 2010 (Dunn, 2008, p.13).

The drug war goes on to fume across the world, and there is an increased number of drug-related deaths. The drug war has no end, with the killings that are reported every day. The drug cartels are getting momentum since they are in control over Mexico, overriding its law enforcement and taking advantage to enter America. In Mexico, the murder attained the greatest level in 2010, increasing by about 60% to 15,372 deaths from 9,562 in 2009 (Marez, 2004, p.44). The Americans have faced increased killings linked to the War on Drugs as a result of the economic recession. The United States recorded around 1,150 as average drug war-related homicides in 2010 (Marez, 2004, p.45). The progress of the drug war is certainly slow, but at present, there is exceptional momentum in the wake of drug policy reform.


Dunn, W. (2008). Public policy analysis: An introduction. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson/Prentice Hall.

Marez, C. (2004). Drug Wars: The Political Economy of Narcotics. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.