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Nixon's war on drugs has failed for half a century. It's time to end it: Alexander Soros

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Fifty years ago this month, the United States launched a war on its own people. President Richard Nixon declared drug abuse “public enemy number one.” Since then, our criminal approach to drugs has devastated lives, destroyed communities, and led to the largest prison population in the world. 

Over the past half-century, the drug war has driven a well-documented surge in police budgets and incarceration. Law enforcement agencies now make more than 1.6 million arrests each year for drug possession alone. Human Rights Watch documents that every 25 seconds in the United States, someone is arrested for the simple act of possessing drugs for their personal use. From its inception, the war on drugs, has fueled institutional and structural racism and fuels the prison industrial complex, mass incarceration, and police brutality.



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