The NAACP wants the War on Drugs to be over, according to a statement released during its July 25th convention. The civil rights advocacy group is arguing that the initiative unfairly targets individuals of color despite the considerable involvement of whites in drug trafficking and consumption.
NAACP president Todd Jealous stated: “These flawed drug policies that have been mostly enforced in African-American communities must be stopped and replaced with evidence-based practices that address the root causes of drug use and abuse in America.”
According to The Sentencing Project, a criminal justice advocacy group, two thirds of all crack cocaine users are white or Latino, yet 80% of those sentenced for crack-related infractions are African-American. In addition, the War on Drugs has failed to significantly diminish the number of people using drugs in America, according to the advocacy group Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, which reports that drug use is up 2,800 percent since 1970.
Leonard Pitts of the Miami Herald argues that the NAACP’s new public position is significant because it has a reputation as one of the nation’s more cautious advocacy groups. Its name also carries a considerable amount of clout. Given these two factors, the group’s new position may add a boost of impetus to drug reform.