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The war on drugs in statistics and facts

Residents in Iowa might be interested in taking a look at the statistics when it comes to the past, present and future of drug crimes and incarceration rate in the United States. Over the last several decades the U.S. has spent an unconscionable amount of money and resources on the "war" on illegal drugs and controlled substances, but there may not be much to show for it.

Debately, these measures have resulted in a bloated incarceration rate, millions of Americans imprisoned and marginalized and arguably no fewer drugs available to anybody who wants them. Fortunately, though, at least some states have realized that the failed policies of the past cannot be sustained, and a change of course may still be possible.

According to the Drug Policy Alliance, the U.S. spends approximately $51 billion in the war on drugs each year. This mindboggling sum ultimately results in the arrest of millions of Americans. In 2013, there were 1.5 million people arrest for nonviolent drug offenses. And the number of people already incarcerated for drug crimes is also staggering at nearly 2.3 million across the U.S. This is approximately 1 of every 110 adults. The cost of housing this many prisoners is also tremendous.

Some states have realized that the war on drugs doesn't have much impact on the average person's access to recreational drugs, so rather than throwing away billions of dollars on law enforcement and prisons, they could actually see better results by decriminalizing and regulating these drugs.

The most popular example is marijuana, which is being re-evaluated by many states. AS of now, 23 states have legalized marijuana for medicinal purposes, and four states have actually legalized its sale and consumption. These states are in line to realize an incredible tax revenue increase that could give these states more funding to use towards education, public safety and other important functions.

Unfortunately, the war on drugs still rages on in Iowa and people accused of drug possession and other crimes could still face serious consequences. These people should understand they have legal rights and option and should obtain more information about steps they should take to develop a criminal defense strategy.

Source: Drugpolicy.org, "Drug War Statistics," accessed April 12, 2015

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