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Evidence of the failure of the war on drugs?

On Behalf of | Mar 25, 2016 | Drug Charges

An Iowa paper reports that the leading cause of arrests in the county immediately south of Des Moines is drugs. They identify drugs or alcohol as the reason for 22 of 29 arrests in the county.

The police chief of Carlisle reported that almost one-third of all of the arrests made last year were drug related. One police department noted they had fewer drug arrests, but there were more property crimes related to drug use.

One could conclude that Iowa has a serious drug problem. The larger question might be why does Iowa have this substance abuse problem, and will simply arresting people repeatedly for drug crimes or sending them to prison for drug crimes actually result in less drug abuse and fewer drug crimes in the state?

Some of those in the Warren County jail had previous drug or alcohol-related crimes. This highlights one of the reasons why drug crimes are expensive for society. They lead to repeated arrests, requiring resources of the police and sheriff’s departments. They then must be prosecuted, consuming more resources from prosecutors’ offices throughout the state.

They then must go through the courts, taking more resources and then they either are incarcerated in prison or placed on probation.

All of this use of state resources are wasted when they are rearrested all over again for a similar drug or alcohol-related offense.

While treatment programs are expensive and sometimes ineffective, we have vast quantities of evidence that demonstrates that repeated incarceration for drug offenders is a colossal and expensive failure.

Source:, “Drugs leading reason for arrests in Warren County,” Paige Godden, March 9, 2016