One of the lasting vestiges of Richard Nixon’s presidency is the infamous “War on Drugs,” a forty-year-old effort aimed at curtailing “illicit drug consumption and transactions in America.” Although the goal behind the policy—a reduction in the rate of substance abuse—may be altruistic, the War on Drugs has dismally failed to achieve its goals and has exacerbated existing problems. Specifically, laws dealing with crack cocaine result in a “heavily disproportionate impact on black defendants;” in 2008 “blacks comprised 79.8 percent of those convicted for crack cocaine-related offenses,” whereas “whites comprised only 10.4 percent.” More generally, these laws illustrate a fundamental misconception of the chief cause of drug abuse and the necessary remedial measures. The best solution to achieve the goals of the United States’ War on Drugs is to mimic Portugal’s and Sweden’s approach to combating drug abuse.

Citation Note

This Comment was originally cited as Volume 2 of the University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform Online. Volumes 1, 2, and 3 of MJLR Online have been renumbered 45, 46, and 47 respectively. These updated Volume numbers correspond to their companion print Volumes. Additionally, the University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform Online was renamed Caveat in 2015.