Crack Cocaine & Mass Incarceration

In: Social Issues

Submitted By crackcocaine
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Pages 9
The American Crack Epidemic: How the War on Drugs was as Detrimental to Society as Drugs Themselves.
Lucas Carneiro
U.S. History
4/21/2013

Throughout the mid-20th century, Americans have experimented with illicit drugs, from marijuana to LSD. In the late 70s and early 80s, the high cost of cocaine made it the drug of choice for wealthy, elite, White Americans. On the other side of the social spectrum, lower-class African Americans sought an escape from their difficult circumstances in impoverished inner-city neighborhoods. They found refuge in crack, a smokeable form of cocaine, whose low production cost, high addictiveness, and debilitating nature made it the drug of choice for urban African American communities in 1986 (Reinarman, 1997; Watkins, 1998; Fullilove, 1998). The drug contributed to the increase in disease, violence, and poverty in these communities, turning inner-city neighborhoods into “war zones”. The U.S. Government’s War on Drugs campaign did little to solve this crisis, using aggressive, military tactics to address an epidemic surrounded by socioeconomic and health issues. In the 1960s, the Vietnam conflict among several unpopular moves by the U.S. government created a generation of rebellious, young Americans. This generation experimented with drugs in order to alter their state of mind, and to escape from the problems that came with politics and society. The generation of young “hippies” ignited a drug culture in the U.S. As time progressed, people became more and more dependent on drugs, primarily in suburban communities. Between 1973 and 1977, a survey showed that use of marijuana doubled from 12% to 24% (Robinson, 2002). This was proof that drug use was on the rise. In the late 70s and early 80s, cocaine became very popular among upper class Americans. In the early 80s, cocaine was being shipped to the U.S. in large amounts. As the…...

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