War on Drugs Still Unresolved | Baesline News

War on Drugs Still Unresolved

This article is part of our DEFINITIONS series. Mentioned below are data, links and other information that our Editorial team found most interesting when researching a movement. If you have other data or information that you think is compelling about this movement, please send a note to: definitions@cadmedia.wpengine.com.


A recent analysis of 6 million Instagram posts at various festivals revealed a surprisingly high level of transparency when discussing illegal drugs. Specifically, at Coachella 7.1 percent of all posts mentioned alcohol or drugs in some form.

Younger Americans appear to have fundamentally different perspectives on drugs that are more accepting of their existence and display a greater appreciation of their impact on peoples’ addictive tendencies.

Source:  Pew Research

Part of this acceptance is likely due to increased awareness on the overall ineffectiveness of the current War on Drugs. Here is a brief, albeit one-sided, recap of America’s war on drugs and its implications.

The most prominent kinds of drugs in American society today are the ones that are already legal.

DrugUS Addictions (millions)Legality in US
Tobacco40Federally legal
Alcohol18Federally legal
Marijuana4.2State by state
Prescription Painkillers1.8Federally legal
Benzodiazepines0.4Federally legal
Stimulants0.3Both federally legal and illegal
Inhalants0.1Federally legal
Sedatives0.08Federally legal

Source: The Addiction Center Governments around the globe have experimented along the prosecution versus treatment continuum. Countries like Portugal serve as natural laboratories for novel drug policies. There they are shifting away from imprisoning people, instead focusing on treating the person’s underlying addiction. But are there certain drugs we still should prohibit in society? Here are some additional resources on the topic.

  • Drug Laws Around the World – Does Anyone Get It Right?The Telegraph
  • UN Backs Prohibitionist Drug Policies Despite Call for More ‘Humane Solution, The Guardian
  • Why We Need to End the War on Drugs, TED.com
  • Global Drug Policy Isn’t working. These 100+ Organizations Want That to ChangeThe Washington Post