Drug War Failures and Drug Company Successes Essay examples

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In the May 1999 issue of Harper's Magazine, Joshua Wolf Shenk's article "America's Altered States: When does legal relief of pain become illegal pursuit of pleasure?" states:

From 1970 to 1998, the inflation-adjusted revenue of major pharmaceutical companies more than quadrupled to $81 billion, 24 percent of that from drugs affecting the central nervous system and sense organs. Sales of herbal medicines now exceed $4 billion a year. Meanwhile the war on Other drugs escalated dramatically. Since 1970 the federal antidrug budget has risen 3,700 percent and now exceeds $17 billion. More than one and half million people are arrested on drug charges each year, and 400,000 are now in prison. These numbers are just a window into an obvious
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In many cases, the results are astonishing. Although cocaine was known to alter behavior, there were other, less savory motives for encouraging its prohibition. Theodore Roosevelt's drug adviser claimed, "Cocaine is often a direct incentive to the crime of rape by the Negroes." In his primer on the "Basic Facts About the War on Drugs" Clifford Schaffer of the Schaffer Library of Drug Policy states: "Cocaine was outlawed because of fears that superhuman 'Negro Cocaine Fiends' or 'Cocainized Niggers' (actual terms used by newspapers in the early 1900's) take large amounts of cocaine which would make them go on a violent sexual rampage and rape white women. There is little evidence that any black men actually did this, if only because it would have been certain death."

The motives for the creation of the 1937 Marijuana Tax Act (though not all of them) were similarly reprehensible. Schaffer writes: "Marijuana was outlawed in 1937 as a repressive measure against Mexican workers who crossed the border seeking jobs during the Depression. The specific reason given for the outlawing of the hemp plant was its supposed violent 'effect on the degenerate races' (Testimony of Bureau of Narcotics Commissioner Harry J. Anslinger, in testimony before Congress in hearings on the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937). The American Medical Association specifically testified that they were opposed to the law." Opium was no

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