In his article “Rethinking U.S. Drug Policy,” Hakim addresses a global social problem: illegal drug use. Illegal drug use is an issue that has troubled the United States (U.S.) and the whole world for centuries. Despite the establishment of policies, the effects of illegal drug use still continue in society. Drug-related medical emergencies and deaths are on the increase, and the social cost of illegal drug consumption remains a problem to grapple with. The rates of contraction infectious diseases, homelessness, and low workplace productivity are common amongst illicit drug users. A review of the article “Rethinking U.S. Drug Policy” will reveal the failures of the current U.S. drug policies and address what needs to be done to curb the menace.
Peter Hakim raises two major issues relating to the fight against illegal drug use: the failure of the war on drugs and the reluctance of the current leadership to address the weaknesses in the existing drug policies (526). According to Hakim, the war on drugs has failed because, despite the continued fight on the illicit drug trade, all aspects of the war seem not to be bearing any fruits. Essentially, the fight against illegal drugs should stop or minimize the production, trade, and use of illegal drugs, and lead to the apprehension and punishment of the users. Notably, the demand for narcotics has remained relatively high implying the consumption of narcotics has not been halted. Because of the high demand, the producers have sustained the supply, thus, stabilizing the market. Consequently, the prices of narcotics have declined, and more users and traders have joined the drug chain, which signifies a malfunction of the existing drug policies.
Although the existing policies have failed in addressing the drug menace, leaders can be blamed for their reluctance to change the policies. Currently, leaders have changed their approach from “no tolerance” to “harm reduction.” Instead of confronting the problem and addressing the weaknesses in the current policy by re-strategizing, leaders are seeking ways of preventing the use of drugs and treating those who are affected. This is fuelling the problem, and more youths are joining the use of drugs since it is being regarded as a health issue than a criminal issue.
Peter Hakim is of the view that the current drug laws should be changed to address the drug menace. For this change to occur, leaders should create a platform for a national and international debate on what should be done. The leaders should not be too reluctant to changes since they are necessary. By involving all the leaders and the general public, a better drug policy can be crafted and adopted. Nations in the world need to collaborate and review existing treaties and obligations to focus them on the fight against narcotics. Research needs to be done so that its findings inform the global decisions that will be made.
Though the article is well organized, its findings are not based on research since the author has not provided any evidence for his claim. To argue that the war on drugs has failed, research ought to have been done, data analyzed and the findings interpreted. For this article, no data has been analyzed for conclusions to be drawn. The author has approached the issue with a preset mind; he is a crusader of change in the current policies. I disagree with the author of this article; the existing policies have not completely failed because police are still making arrests and drug users are being prosecuted. Lately, our neighbor was arrested, prosecuted, and serving a jail term. However, the policies can still be improved to achieve better results.
Hakim, Peter. Rethinking U.S. Drug Policy 2011.