Analysis Of Joel Miller's Bad Trip: How The War On Drugs Is Destroying America

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The War on Drugs has had negative consequences on people and has not been very effective. Joel Miller in his book Bad Trip: How The War Against Drugs Is Destroying America outlines several of the negative consequences of the War on Drugs and I will discuss some of them. One of Millers biggest arguments that lay’s a foundation for his book is that he believe making drugs illegal and criminalizing them creates the circumstances for crime and violence (Miller 1). While the government approaches drugs as though they themselves are the cause of crime and violence, Miller says this is wrong because just by making something illegal does not mean you eradicate the demand for it. An illegal market will arise for the illegal substance and without the …show more content…
Miller discuss mainly two ways law enforcement is corrupted–they break the law trying to catch drug offenders and they break the law by protecting and stealing from drug offenders (Miller 25). The first form happens when law enforcement lie to get search warrants, lie about probable cause, plant evidence, lie in court and conduct illegal searches and seizures (Miller 38). Often this happens because drug arrests are more plentiful and easy to obtain than solving other crimes which helps contribute to good records for precincts leading to more funding and more pay for individual officers. There is an economic incentive for law enforcement (particularly police) to try and get drug arrests. The latter form of law enforcement corruption happens in the form of the following practices: “(1) conducting unconstitutional searches and seizures; (2) stealing money and/or drugs from drug dealers; (3) selling stolen drugs; (4) protecting drug operations; (5) providing false testimony; and (6) submitting false crime reports” (Miller 27). This kind of corruption of law enforcement tends to happen because of the economic opportunity is so appealing and living on a government salary can make it even more appealing. If there was not such a great emphasis on arresting drug users and dealers but instead on make the communities they are apart of …show more content…
We see these alternatives and the results in other countries around the globe. There is the alternative of decriminalizing drugs like Portugal has done. Contrary to popular belief, when that happened there was not a major spike in drug abuse but rather it has turned out to be beneficial for people in the country (Miller 206). The other alternative is the regulatory prohibition that many Western European countries practice. Like the Netherlands there is the option to create better social policies that improve peoples lives instead of getting ‘tough on drugs’. There is the alternative of sending people to treatment centers and trying to minimize the harm done by drugs (Harms Reduction Model) instead of putting them in prison for possession. There is also the alternative of giving warnings to first time offenders instead of prosecuting them. The important thing to recognize, however, is that drugs themselves do not cause problems. This is where there needs to be a change to policy making that tries to stop the causes for people doing drugs and selling them rather than trying to eradicate drugs

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