Why Eric Holder Will Push to End Drug War

U.S. Attorney Gen. Eric Holder speaks at a recent event. (Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)
U.S. Attorney Gen. Eric Holder speaks at a recent event. (Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

Arguing that America's so-called war on drugs has contributed to the disintegration of black communities, destroyed families and bloated the prison system, Earl Ofari Hutchinson, at the Hutchinson Report News, applauds Attorney Gen. Eric Holder for planning to end America's so-called war on drugs.

A frank admission that the laws are biased and unfair, and have not done much to combat the drug plague, would be an admission of failure. It could ignite a real soul searching over whether all the billions of dollars that have been squandered in the failed and flawed drug war — the lives ruined by it, and the families torn apart by the rigid and unequal enforcement of the laws — has really accomplished anything.

This might call into question why people use and abuse drugs in the first place — and if it is really the government's business to turn the legal screws on some drug users while turning a blind eye to others?

The greatest fallout from the nation's failed drug policy is that it has further embedded the widespread notion that the drug problem is exclusively a black problem. This makes it easy for on-the-make politicians to grab votes, garner press attention, and balloon state prison budgets to jail more black offenders, while continuing to feed the illusion that we are winning the drug war.

In an interview, Holder on that point was blunt, "There's been a decimation of certain communities, in particular communities of color." This is no accident. The policy deliberately targeted those communities due to a lethal mix of racism, criminal justice system profit (someone has got to fill up the cells to justify building more prisons, hiring and maintaining waves of corrections officers, and bloating state budgets in the process), political expediency, and media fed public mania over drug use. This is why Obama and Holder have delicately, but to their credit, publicly inched toward a rethink of the drug war and who it benefits and who it hurts. They should be applauded for that. 


Read Earl Ofari Hutchinson's entire piece at the Hutchinson Report News.

The Root aims to foster and advance conversations about issues relevant to the black Diaspora by presenting a variety of opinions from all perspectives, whether or not those opinions are shared by our editorial staff.

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