The concentrated effort by the United States government to eliminate the use of drugs by citizens is usually called the “War on Drugs.” It has been going on for decades now, with its roots in the 1970s. The main ways this is done is by cracking down harder on drug-related offenses, making more arrests and then giving those who make, distribute, sell or use drugs harsher sentences.
This is a controversial stance for many reasons. One is that it’s now been around 50 years since the War on Drugs began. It’s clear that it has not worked, despite the amount of money and energy being put into it.
A big reason for the controversy since 1994 has been comments made by a man who worked for President Nixon when the War on Drugs began. He was the domestic policy chief.
Essentially, he said that Nixon used drugs as an excuse to arrest African Americans and left-wing political parties who opposed war. This was by using marijuana as a way to arrest the “hippies” who were usually against the war and by using heroin to arrest African Americans. The man’s comments showed that he felt the War on Drugs had never been about drugs at all but about disrupting communities that opposed the president so that he could stay in office.
Nixon, of course, eventually left office after the Watergate scandal.
Controversial or not, the War on Drugs has definitely shaped the United States and the way the police function. If you get arrested and find yourself facing charges, you need to know what legal options you have.