Prosecuting, arresting, and imprisoning drug abusers doesn’t end their drug use (Baron, 2010). Those addicted to drugs don’t seek help because they are afraid of jail or prison time (Greenwald, 2009). The War on Drugs policy is the reason for this barrier. Since the policy focuses on more punitive measures and less on treatment measures, incarceration seems to be the solution. As noted previously, trillions have been spent to fight off drugs whether through anti- drug PSA’s and drug law enforcement. In retrospect since the 1970s, the War on Drugs has failed conclusively. Paradoxically, as drug law enforcement agencies disrupt drug environments, violence goes up. Drug purity is higher than ever and the prices are lower despite the increase in drug enforcement since the late 70s. Currently, the Obama administration has begun its departure from the old drug policy and claims to have a more balanced approach. Yet the policy is still lacking in making real concrete changes.
As established, the War on Drugs creates more violence and doesn’t weaken drug use. Furthermore it is an extremely costly approach. Instead of wasting public funds on drug enforcement efforts that have been proven futile, those resources should be used in treatment and HIV prevention strategies (2012 World AIDS Conference, 2012). Taxpayers are spending more money to keep drug related criminals in prisons than they would spend in treatment programs. In addition, a large portion of the HIV transmission comes from the sharing of needles. With a needle exchange policy HIV rates would drop.