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ACTION ALERT: Stop the War on Drugs


May 20, 2011
Bob Fertik / Democrats.com

Since the declaration of a "war on drugs" 40 years ago, America has spent at least $1 trillion on the drug war. It cost US taxpayers at least $51 billion in 2009 at the state and federal level. That's $169 for every man, woman and child in America. If Congress wants to cut wasteful spending, this is a good place to start.

http://www.democrats.com/end-the-war-on-drugs

(May 8, 2010) -- Since the declaration of a "war on drugs" 40 years ago, America has spent at least $1 trillion on the drug war. It cost US taxpayers at least $51 billion in 2009 at the state and federal level. That's $169 for every man, woman and child in America. If Congress wants to cut wasteful spending, this is a good place to start.

Tell Congress to End the War on Drugs

The US government has said many things about the drug war, including that it's over. But as we've seen in recent months, it continues to rage on.

We're tired of all the empty rhetoric about the drug war, and now that public opinion and state legislatures are moving in our favor, we need to show that there is broad public support for legalization and ending the war on drugs.

Tell Congress: I stand with Americans across the country in demanding an end to the war on drugs.

The war on drugs has destroyed lives in our country and sapped our nation's resources for nearly 40 years. It's widely agreed to be a failure, but has continued unabated.

Public opinion is increasingly against the war on drugs, and many states facing tight budgets have finally changed their policies to de-emphasize criminalization in favor of strategies that work.

The coalition of people who want to see the drug war end is one of the most diverse, broad-based alliances in America today: we come from every state in the nation and every spot on the political spectrum. I stand with this coalition in demanding public accountability for the war on drugs, and serious consideration for legalization.

Tell Congress: I stand with Americans across the country in demanding an end to the war on drugs.
http://www.democrats.com/end-the-war-on-drugs
ACTION: END THE WAR ON DRUGS

Background

Since the declaration of a "war on drugs" 40 years ago:

• America has spent at least $1 trillion on the drug war. It cost US taxpayers at least $51 billion in 2009 at the state and federal level. That's $169 for every man, woman and child in America -- and that's not counting opportunity costs or costs at the local level.

• Millions of people have been incarcerated for low-level drug law violations, resulting in drastic racial disparities in the prison system, yet drug overdose, addiction and misuse are more prevalent than ever.

• Hundreds of thousands of lives have been lost to overdose and drug-related disease because cost-effective and lifesaving interventions are not sufficiently available.

The war on drugs drives mass incarceration of Americans:

• More than 1 of every 100 American adults is behind bars. In 1980, the total US prison and jail population was about 500,000 -- today, it is more than 2.3 million.

• The US incarcerates more people than any country in the world -- both per capita and in terms of total people behind bars. The US has less than 5 percent of the world's population, yet it has almost 25 percent of the world's incarcerated population.

• The number of people behind bars for drug law violations rose from 50,000 in 1980 to more than a half of a million today -- an 1100% increase.

• Drug arrests have more than tripled in the last 25 years, totaling more than 1.66 million arrests in 2009. More than four out of five of these arrests were for mere possession, and forty-six percent of these arrests (760,000) were for marijuana possession alone.

• Arrests and incarceration for drugs -- even for first time, low-level violations -- can result in debilitating collateral consequences for an individual and their family. A conviction for a drug law violation can result in the loss of employment, property, public housing, food stamp eligibility, financial aid for college, and the right to vote -- even after serving time behind bars.

The war on drugs is the new Jim Crow:
While African Americans comprise only 13 percent of the US population and 13 percent of drug users, they make up 38 percent of those arrested for drug law violations and 59 percent of those convicted of drug law violations.

• Relative to population, African-Americans are 10.1 times more likely than whites to be sent to prison for drug offenses.

Petition
Dear Senators and Representative,

The US government has said many things about the drug war, including that it's over. But as we've seen in recent months, it continues to rage on.

We're tired of all the empty rhetoric about the drug war, and now that public opinion and state legislatures are moving in our favor, we need to show that there is broad public support for legalization and ending the war on drugs.

I stand with Americans across the country in demanding an end to the war on drugs.

The war on drugs has destroyed lives in our country and sapped our nation's resources for nearly 40 years. It's widely agreed to be a failure, but has continued unabated.

Public opinion is increasingly against the war on drugs, and many states facing tight budgets have finally changed their policies to de-emphasize criminalization in favor of strategies that work.

The coalition of people who want to see the drug war end is one of the most diverse, broad-based alliances in America today: we come from every state in the nation and every spot on the political spectrum. I stand with this coalition in demanding public accountability for the war on drugs, and serious consideration for legalization.

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