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Friday, May 18, 2018

President Nixon's War on Drugs

     On 14 July 1969, President Nixon announced a national "war on drugs." His "Special Message to the Congress on Control of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs" was a prelude to introducing the new legislation that would be the first battle plan of the war….And so began a sixteen-month process of legislative give-and-take, political maneuvering, and bureaucratic jockeying.

     The president seemed to acknowledge the less-than-complete public agreement with respect to the size and importance of the drug problem in saying, "A national awareness of the gravity of the situation is needed: a new urgency and concerted national policy are needed at the federal level to begin to cope with this growing menace to the general welfare of the United States." He went on to draw the parallel between narcotics use and crime in no uncertain terms, saying, "Narcotics have been cited as a primary cause of the enormous increase in street crimes over the last decade….An addict can be forced to commit two or three burglaries a day to maintain his habit." [Since Nixon's speech, crime rates have fallen drastically while the drug war rages on.]

David F. Musto, M.D. and Pamela Korsmeyer, The Quest for Drug Control, 2002 

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