Fifty years after President Richard Nixon declared a "War on Drugs," the United States government has spent over a trillion dollars fighting a losing battle. In recent years, about 1.5 million people have been arrested annually on drug charges—most of them involving cannabis—and nearly 500,000 Americans are currently incarcerated for drug offenses. Today, as a response to the dire human and financial costs, Americans are fast losing their faith that a War on Drugs is fair, moral, or effective.
In a rare multi-faceted overview of the underground drug market, featuring historical and ethnographic accounts of illegal drug production, distribution, and sales, The War on Drugs: A History examines how drug war policies contributed to the making of the carceral state, racial injustice, regulatory disasters, and a massive underground economy. At the same time, the collection explores how aggressive anti-drug policies produced a "deviant" form of globalization that offered economically marginalized people an economic life-line as players in a remunerative transnational supply and distribution network of illicit drugs.
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