- Dec 2012
Do you not consider Prohibition to be a war on drugs?It... Pretty literally did. That's when it became a major federal effort. There's occasional antecedents, true, but Nixon laid the major groundwork for the modern war on drugs, which, to keep on topic, the Reagan admin doubled down on.
A Brief History of the Drug War | Drug Policy Alliance
Thirty Years Of America's Drug War | Drug Wars | FRONTLINE | PBS
And Prohibition aside....
"The Harrison Narcotics Act, passed in 1914, was the United States’ first federal drug policy. The act restricted the manufacture and sale of marijuana, cocaine, heroin, and morphine. The act was aggressively enforced."
"In 1930, the Treasury Department created the Federal Bureau of Narcotics. Harry J. Anslinger headed the agency until 1962 and molded America’s drug policy. Under his tenure, drugs were increasingly criminalized."
"The Narcotics Control Act of 1956 created “the most punitive and repressive anti-narcotics legislation ever adopted by Congress. All discretion to suspend sentences or permit probation was eliminated. Parole was allowed only for first offenders convicted of possession, and the death penalty could be invoked for anyone who sold heroin to a minor (McWilliams, 1990, p.116).” Anslinger was critical of judges for being too easy on drug dealers and called for longer minimum sentences. He established a punitive drug policy with a focus on drug law enforcement."
"Eisenhower began what The New York Times then called "a new war on narcotic addiction at the local, national, and international level" with the establishment of an Interdepartmental Committee on Narcotics on November 27, 1954, which was responsible for coordinating executive branch anti-drug efforts."