Posts Tagged ‘Al Jazeera Inside Story’

Baltimore: casualty of a failed drug war

August 28, 2012

Watch this documentary if you want to see an example of the failure and futility of the war on drugs.

The rise of poverty, crime and drug-dealing in Baltimore is related to the decline of high-wage manufacturing industry, such as the big U.S. Steel plant at Sparrows Point.   Black people had a narrow window of opportunity between the time that good-paying union jobs in industry were open to them, and the time that U.S. manufacturing industry started to decline.  A high-wage, full-employment economy is the best thing that could happen for poor people in cities such as Baltimore.

The talk that the so-called war on drugs is actually a war on black people may seem exaggerated, but statistics indicate that there is little difference in rates of drug abuse or use of illegal drugs among white and black Americans, and yet blacks are incarcerated for drug crimes 10 times as frequently as whites.  I think this probably is more a result of indifference to the plight of poor black people in urban slums rather than a deliberate policy.

I see little immediate hope of change.  President Obama is committed to the war on drugs on many fronts, from waging low-level war in Colombia to overriding California’s medical marijuana laws, and I don’t see Gov. Romney changing anything if elected.  The most important national figures criticizing the war on drugs are ex-Gov. Gary Johnson of New Mexico, the Libertarian Party candidate for President, and Rep. Ron Paul, the Republican gadfly.

Click on Drug, Alcohol, Tobacco Use Broken Down By Race, Ethnicity for statistics from the U.S. government’s latest National Study on Drug Use and Health.

Click on Race, Drugs and Law Enforcement for a report on U.S. drug enforcement by Human Rights Watch.