Not only has America’s “war on drugs” been a monumental failure (given that the current epidemic of opioid addiction is a near-constant subject in the news these days) — it’s been an international failure as well.

According to the International Drug Policy Consortium (IDPC), the United Nation’s anti-drug efforts have had tremendously negative results when it comes to broken families, ruined lives, damaged health, human rights violations, security problems and wasted money. It’s also done nothing to stem the tide of the global drug supply — or the resulting addictions and deaths.

The report says that drug-related deaths have shot up an astronomical 145 percent over the last 10 years. The United States had over 71,000 deaths related to drug overdoses. (In other countries, drug-related deaths include executions for offenses like possession and dealing or death during the drug trade itself. For example, about 27,000 people have died in drug-related killings in the Philippines alone in the last decade, while close to 4,000 people have been officially executed for their drug offenses worldwide during that same time span.)

What has the “war on drugs” done successfully? Well, in the United States, it’s empowered law enforcement agencies to deprive citizens of their property with impunity through civil asset forfeiture. The money and goods often go right into department coffers.

The thought behind civil asset forfeiture is a good one. Essentially, it’s a means of depriving major drug dealers of the things they need to ply their trade. The logic is that if you take their money, cars, boats, homes and more, they’ll have a much harder time operating.

The problem is that it doesn’t take evidence of a crime to enforce civil asset forfeiture. A traffic stop for a missed stop sign can give police all the excuse they need to confiscate something. Do you happen to be carrying cash because you’re heading on vacation? Are you heading into an area where there’s known drug activity (like most of Florida)? You could be trying to make a major drug deal — so the police can take your cash and leave you to figure out how to get it back if you can.

The current way of handling drug addiction and drug crimes is counter-productive and needs reforming. Until that happens, however, recognize that every drug charge is serious — and you need a serious defense lawyer to assist you.

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