The War on Drugs began in June 1971 when U.S. Pres. Richard Nixon declared drug abuse to be “public enemy number one” and increased federal funding for drug-control agencies and drug-treatment efforts. At the same time as Nixon declared drug war it’s been alleged that the CIA was trafficking heroin into the United States from Vietnam during the Vietnam war.
About 10 years later Ronald Reagan made the possession of crack cocaine an even heavier crime. At the same time the CIA was selling cocaine and crack cocaine to American citizens and were even caught doing so in what became known as the Iran-Contra affair. This had a huge impact in urban cities with African Americans being the most affected.
The 1980’s was also a time that saw a huge increase in for profit prisons as corporations became more interested in making money off United States prisoners. The increased incarceration of non-violent drug offenders created an environment where many grew up without a nuclear family. With many children having one or both parents in prison.
This situation increased poverty in areas that were already struggling, as well as increasing violence. The effects of the drug war also made drug dealing a very profitable, dangerous profession. The drug war is the number one factor in the creation of gangs, with violence related to drugs being responsible for almost all the mass shootings in the United States. And because drugs are not regulated it is also responsible for accidental overdoses.
The circumstances of America’s drug war have made the United States the most heavily prisoned nation in the entire world. Since 1971 the drug war has cost the American public over a trillion dollars. This isn’t including the loss in GDP and value to the economy that those incarcerated would have provided. The history of the drug war is a history of failed policy, with a government who sold drugs to their own citizens, and then imprisoned them for it.
No one knows how much money the CIA has made off selling drugs around the world, and where all the money has gone.