Hello my name is Madeliene Shaffer and I’m here to talk about the issue of how we should react to the war on drugs. In the American legal system when a drug addict is arrested the first response is to throw them into a jail cell. Putting them into prison does nothing to solve the issue of them being addicted. Most of the time when they get out of jail they go right back to abusing drugs and sometimes get sent back to prison and this becomes a vicious cycle. However, if the legal system didn’t send them to jail and sent them to a rehab center would the rate of drug abuse be affected at all? The philosophy behind sending the users to jail is that dueling out harsh penalties will make people less inclined to do drugs or join the drug trade. Researchers from the Pew Charitable Trusts researched and used state-by-state data on drug imprisonment, drug use, overdoses and drug arrests and found that there is no evidence that would back that philosophy. The lack of correlation makes it obvious that something is inaccurate about the philosophy. This concept makes one think that if the philosophy is wrong then the way we’re reacting to the problem is also wrong. From the data collected it was shown that Louisiana, the state with the highest incarceration rate, was in the middle of the rankings on overdoses, drug arrests, and drug use. Massachusetts, which is the state with the lowest incarceration rate, was ranked toward the bottom in arrests and drug use, but near the top of the rankings for overdoses. These results show that what our legal system is doing isn’t helping the issues of drugs and that maybe we should reevaluate our responses are and possibly find an alternative. Alternatives for this could be for example sending the drug abuser to a rehab center. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, offering treatment(such as rehab centers) to nonviolent drug offenders is the best way to interrupt the cycle of drug abuse, criminal activity, and incarceration. Treatment reduces relapse rates for both drug abuse and criminal behavior, and it reduces the costs associated with crime and incarceration which is another big problem with how we react to drug addicts. Since Richard Nixon declared a war on drugs back in the 1970s the United States Government has spent nearly $1 Trillion towards eradicating the drug problem in this country. Since the beginning, the war on drugs was a political mistake, it was created out of the need to help decrease the growing drug addiction problem that the United States saw during the 60s and 70s. Nixon declared a war because that is what you do when you have a perceived enemy. One problem when this happened was that the public perceived drug addicts as a dangerous group of people who wanted to steal your money and hurt you and that was far from the truth in most cases. Many people don’t realise that addiction is a disease that anyone could suffer from and that it isn’t a matter of being immoral or weak, but it is rather the result of having a serious illness that makes a person pursue substances above everything else in life.