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Saturday, December 17, 2016

War On Drugs In South America

war on drugs
The “war on drugs” in the United States has had a terrible impact on millions of Americans since President Nixon first made the declaration. The reactionary punitive approach to containing substance use and abuse in the U.S. disproportionately affects minorities and the millions of Americans living in poverty. The result, America has the largest prison population in the world, as many as half the people behind bars are serving time for nonviolent drug offenses.

Over the last eight years there have been several efforts to rein in the war on drugs. Such as ending or amending mandatory minimum sentencing laws and commuting hundreds of nonviolent drug offenders who are serving unjust, lengthy sentences. The significantly greater number of lawmakers are in favor of treatment over jail, seeing that what’s needed is compassion rather than punishment.

It can be easy to view the war on drugs as a campaign that only affected Americans. However, unlike typical armed conflicts, the war on drugs has had an impact on citizens of several countries—specifically in South America. Realizing that the bulk of illegal drugs coming into our country came from south of the border, our government pushed its agenda on countries like Colombia and funded campaigns to take out coca farmers and cocaine traffickers. The result, as you are probably aware—bloodshed.

In many ways, the last several decades in Colombia have been shaped by our country's goal of eradicating illegal drugs. It is a trend that may be coming to an end, with Colombia’s peace treaty with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC—a 52-year old Marxist insurgency. The peace treaty earned Colombian President, Juan Manuel Santos, a Nobel Peace Prize, Civilized. reports. Acknowledging his role in ending a conflict that killed 220,000 people and displaced 8 million.

During Santos acceptance speech, he used the opportunity to criticize America's war on drugs, according to the article. He pointed out that the campaign in Colombia and other South American nations produced both violence and environmental damage. Santos believes that laws prohibiting consumption of drugs should be eased.

"It makes no sense to imprison a peasant who grows marijuana, when nowadays, for example, its cultivation and use are legal in eight states of the United States," said Santos.

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