"War on Drugs" sociology paper

Topics: Illegal drug trade, Prohibition, Ronald Reagan Pages: 4 (1232 words) Published: November 12, 2013
“America”, recognized worldwide for it’s engrossing mass media and lavish lifestyle, has now gained the reputation as one of the largest drug consumers to this day. Drugs are now seen as a major problem in the American way of life, but this is no new dilemma. Drugs themselves have existed in America since the landing of the Pilgrims to Plymouth Rock, but never before have they augmented in such a proportion until this past century. The first piece of legislation which would later lead to the “war on drugs” was the Harrison Tax Act of 1914, in which it restricted the sale of heroin and was also later used to prohibit the sale of cocaine. In January 1919, the United States passed the 18th Amendment, which prohibited the sale, manufacture, and transportation of alcohol on a national level. June 1930, the Federal Bureau of Narcotics was created under the leadership of Harry Anslinger. By 1933 Depression-era gangsters and bootleggers had gotten so out of hand that the 18th Amendment (prohibition on alcohol) was repealed. A new national enforcement framework came into view with the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937, which attempted to tax marijuana into oblivion, as Tom Head from Ask.com emphasized that marijuana “with it’s alleged perception might be a "gateway drug" for heroin users”. The Boggs Act of 1951 had established a mandatory federal sentence for possession of marijuana, cocaine, and opiates. During the 1960’s drugs became symbols of youthful rebellion, social upheaval, and political dispute. When the Nixon administration came into office in 1970 they looked for ways to block the import of marijuana from Mexico, they imposed strict traffic searches along on the U.S.-Mexican border in an effort to crack down on marijuana. While dealing with marijuana at home the Nixon administration was also forced to look upon the soldiers who were over sea in Vietnam. Statistics provided by Shmoop detail the numbers of soldiers who became drug users while on duty, “military police...

Bibliography: "A Brief History of the Drug War." Drug Policy Alliance. Drug Policy Alliance, n.d. Web. 1 Nov
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Gaines, Larry and Miller, Roger. Criminal Justice: The Core, California Edition. Sixth Edition.
Mason, Ohio: Cengage Learning, 2012. Print.
Head, Tom. "History of the War on Drugs." About.com. About.com, n.d. Web. 1 Nov 2013.
Shmoop . History of Drugs in America: Shmoop US History Guide. Shmoop University Inc, 2010.
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