chapter  9
9 Pages


Current U.S. drug policy can best be described as pouring money down a rat hole. We have locked ourselves into a position in which more and more money is spent each year in an attempt to stem the flow of drugs into the country and to prosecute and punish those who break the law. No matter how much we spend or how much effort we put out, it hasn’t worked. One droll definition of insanity is to continue to try the same responses to a worsening situation over and over, expecting somehow that outcomes will be different next time. This is as good a definition as any for our national policy on illicit drugs-insane. It brings up a point that needs to be made and repeatedly stressed: By any realistic measure, we are not winning the “War on Drugs.” Our current approach has a history of failure and is continuing to fail. Even a cursory examination of the ONDCP 2001 Annual Report on performance measures demonstrates how dismal the record is. Figures B7 through B12 in that report plot the ambitious goals of the government against actual figures and easily demonstrate a complete separation between what is supposed to be happening and reality. Therefore, no matter how attractive it may seem to simply redouble our current efforts, the only sane action is to find a new strategy. It is also necessary to understand that recreational drugs are here to stay. No magic bullet will win a “War on Drugs”; a drug-free America is just not a reasonable goal.