What comes to mind when you think of someone who sells drugs? Maybe it’s the shady character luring customers on a corner in a 1980s “Just Say No” ad. Or perhaps you think of the guy from your college with scales in his dorm room, measuring out marijuana to sell to his buddies.
If you’re the type who thinks the difference between “legal” and “illegal” drugs is arbitrary, you might even think of your local bartender or pharmacist as a dealer.
Whatever it is, chances are the image will be shaped by some degree of moral judgment and fear stoked by our country’s more than four decades of waging a failed drug war.
My motivation for producing the documentary “How to Make Money Selling Drugs” was to examine the hypocrisy of the war on drugs. Billions of dollars are wasted targeting, arresting and imprisoning mostly poor people and minority groups, when rates of drug use are about the same across racial lines.
One study by Duke University found that young black people are arrested for drug crimes 10 times as often young whites, even though they use illegal drugs less often.
Equally baffling is that most of us have taken some sort of substance to alter our mood — be it coffee, nicotine, Ritalin, a cocktail or a joint — yet we are conditioned to think that people who use and sell certain drugs are not like us.
The war on drugs fuels corruption and violence. With roughly half a million people behind bars in the U.S. for nonviolent drug offenses, drugs are as plentiful and widely used as ever. Yet, people who want treatment can often expect to endure an obstacle course just to get help.
– Read the entire article at CNN.