The War on Drugs’ Failure
By Darnyell Wint
Shawn Carter is widely known by his entertainment name “Jay Z.” He is also known by many as a former drug dealer. Recently, Carter narrated a short film that was featured in The New York Times called “The War on Drugs Is an Epic Fail.”
Carter states that “even though white people sold and did crack more than black people, somehow more black people went to prison.” People might see his opinion as problematic, being a former drug dealer, but the entertainer did do his research.
The short film mentions Rockefeller Drug Laws introduced in New York, where Carter is from. These laws forced mandatory sentences, at times life, for small possession and low level drug sales. These were the so called ?tough on crime laws.”
The issue raised often on this subject is that the incarceration rate of blacks is disproportionate to whites when it comes to drug offenses. The rate of incarceration of blacks due to drugs led to crack being labeled a “black problem.” The short film also draws attention to the prison population boom, since the war on drugs began in 1971. The possession of drugs was an easy bust, so more enforcement was aimed at low-income neighborhoods. Drugs became the scapegoat on the issue of crime in these communities.
Recently, many state and local officials have softened their tone on drug consumption by declaring it a health crisis. Some states have even incorporated the production and sale of marijuana into their economy. Whether this is good or not is still being debated among the country. Some foreign countries have even implemented full legalization of drugs. It would probably take a lifetime to see this happen in the United States, if ever considered.
Society may hope for the regular consumption of drugs to vanish, so it’s easy to toss this former drug dealer’s opinion aside. However, with the recent shift in rhetoric on drugs and incarceration, all perspectives must be brought into consideration, especially from those involved in the drug cycle.