Drug Prohibition and Violence
Drug enforcement officials often cite drug-related violence as a reason that drugs must be eliminated from our society, but it is actually the system of drug prohibition that causes much of the violence. Just as alcohol prohibition allowed organized crime to flourish in the 1920s, drug prohibition empowers a dangerous underground market that breeds violent crime throughout the United States and the world. The illegality of drugs has inflated the price, and thus the profit, of drugs substantially. With it, the competition for drug markets has intensified, often through violence. Whether on street corners in U.S. cities, across the border in Mexico, or in the poppy fields of Afghanistan, drug trade-related violence continues, despite the billions of drug war dollars devoted annually to law enforcement and interdiction efforts. Prohibition has driven the drug trade underground, where violence is inevitably seen as the only means for resolving disputes between competitors. In countries that bear the brunt of prohibition violence, such as Mexico and Colombia, prominent leaders are speaking up more and more about the benefits of ending prohibition. But their calls have gone unheard by the U.S. government. We believe ending drug prohibition is the key to reducing drug war violence in the U.S. and restoring order to destabilized regions abroad.