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Drug Trade: Legislative Debates

U.S. President Richard Nixon established the first War on Drugs in 1971, and President Ronald Reagan expanded the policy in 1986. Since that time, the United States has spent billions of dollars—exact estimates are difficult to calculate—and the number of incarcerated drug offenders has catapulted incarceration rates in the United States to the highest of all nations in the world. Although federal spending on drug enforcement has been maintained and arrests for drug offenses have risen to more than 1.5 million per year, the overall rate of illegal drug use in America has remained relatively stable. During this same period, violence related to the illicit drug trade has been a consistent problem for many communities where drug activity is present. The violence associated with the ...

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