In the last fifteen years, the "War on Drugs" has led to a large increase in the incarceration of individuals due to drug use. Drug-related convictions have increased at a faster rate than convictions for violent crimes (Reid, 2000). The severity of the epidemic is obvious in California where 75% of incarcerated individuals are there due to drug-related convictions. As the drug problem worsens, police find themselves shifting their focus away from violent and serious property crimes. In addition, the influx of drug-related convicts has caused the parole rate for other inmates to increase, sending violent criminals away from prison prior to their sentenced release date. Obviously, illegal drugs carry a large economic and social burden to our society. Billions of dollars are spent annually on incarceration, prevention and rehabilitation for users.



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