War on Drugs

June 2011 marked the 40th anniversary of President Richard Nixon's declaration of a "war on drugs" — a war which has cost $1 trillion but produced little to no effect on the supply of or demand for drugs. The war on drugs has been a war on communities of color. The racial disparities are staggering: despite the fact that whites engage in drug offenses at a higher rate than African-Americans, African-Americans are incarcerated for drug offenses at a rate that is 10 times greater than that of whites. The ACLU is advocating for a more responsible drug policy in America. It’s time to end the unjust and unsuccessful war on drugs.

Being Poor Is Not a Crime

Being Poor Is Not a Crime

By Rachel Bloom, ACLU at 1:25pm
June 2011 marks the 40th anniversary of President Richard Nixon's declaration of a "war on drugs" — a war that has cost roughly a trillion dollars, has produced little to no effect on the supply of or demand for drugs in the United States, and has contributed to making America the world's largest incarcerator. Throughout the month, check back daily for posts about the drug war, its victims and what needs to be done to restore fairness and create effective policy.
Criminalizing Drug Users Is Killing People

Criminalizing Drug Users Is Killing People

By Chloe Cockburn, Advocacy and Policy Counsel, ACLU at 5:09pm

21-year-old Alysa Ivy was surrounded by people when she died of a heroin overdose. Not one of them called 911 for help. Instead, they left her alone in a motel room, afraid they’d be arrested if they called the authorities.

Alysa’s death…

Drug-Testing Welfare Recipients: A Trend with No Traction

By Rachel Bloom, ACLU at 4:26pm

Two months into the state legislative session, not a single welfare drug testing bill has passed into law.

The War on Drugs = A War on Women and Families

The War on Drugs = A War on Women and Families

By Lenora M. Lapidus, Women's Rights Project at 5:44pm

June 2011 marks the 40th anniversary of President Richard Nixon's declaration of a "war on drugs" — a war that has cost roughly a trillion dollars, has produced little to no effect on the supply of or demand for drugs in the United…

Treating Addiction as a Disease, not a Crime

Treating Addiction as a Disease, not a Crime

By Rebecca McCray, ACLU Criminal Law Reform Project at 4:05pm
Like many who suffer from addiction, Cameron Douglas’ path to recovery has not been without setbacks. Currently incarcerated in federal prison on a five-year sentence for drug distribution and heroin possession, the 33-year-old son of actor Michael…
"Tough on Crime" No Longer the American Mantra?

"Tough on Crime" No Longer the American Mantra?

By Inimai Chettiar, ACLU & Alex Stamm, ACLU Center for Justice at 4:35pm

Politicians over the last quarter-century have held strong to the conventional wisdom that being "tough on crime" will win elections and appease the public's appetite for safety. And for the most part, it seems Americans did feel this…

Just What Is So Wrong With the War on Drugs?

Just What Is So Wrong With the War on Drugs?

By Inimai Chettiar, ACLU at 1:41pm

June 2011 marks the 40th anniversary of President Richard Nixon's declaration of a "war on drugs" — a war that has cost roughly a trillion dollars, has produced little to no effect on the supply of or demand for drugs in the United…

My 5-Year-Old's Seizures Were Finally Controlled by Medical Marijuana

My 5-Year-Old's Seizures Were Finally Controlled by Medical Marijuana

By Jennifer Welton, Zander's Mom at 8:16am

My five-year-old son Zander has had two brain surgeries. During each, doctors removed portions of his brain. The second surgery had a long recovery time because of the muscle loss that he suffered after being bedridden for weeks. It caused an infection…

How to Process Eric Holder’s Major Criminal Law Reform Speech

How to Process Eric Holder’s Major Criminal Law Reform Speech

By Laura W. Murphy, Director, ACLU Washington Legislative Office & Vanita Gupta, Center for Justice at 2:10pm

Attorney General Eric Holder just called mass incarceration a moral and economic failure. He just outlined several major proposals that he says will help to ease major overcrowding in federal prisons. And he just suggested that federal prosecutors…

The House I Live In: Documentary Goes Inside the Failed War on Drugs

The House I Live In: Documentary Goes Inside the Failed War on Drugs

By Ezekiel Edwards, Director, ACLU Criminal Law Reform Project & Rebecca McCray, ACLU Criminal Law Reform Project at 4:33pm

In 1971, Richard Nixon declared a war, couched in terms that suggested that the onslaught of attacks would target and eliminate the presence of drugs in our country. But the so-called War on Drugs, it turned out, was given a deceiving title. Nixon…

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