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December 17 clues the 100-year anniversary of the Harrison Narcotics taxes Act, generally considered the start of the oppressive, expensive, and devastating medicine war.

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This year, much more than eight significant U.S. Cities will certainly be holding demonstrations now trying to gain one simple message promoted: end the war on drugs. But what specifically is the Harrison Narcotics taxation Act and also how did it discriminate versus people who use particular drugs?

In the beforehand 1900s the U.S. To be becoming crucial voice in global affairs. Problems surrounding minus consumption and also production started to cause significant problems globally, and the U.S. Claimed a require for an international opium conference. Indigenous this meeting come the first international opium commitment from the Hague convention in 1912, which “aimed to resolve the opium problems of the much east” by eliminating minus supplies.

Two years later, led through Secretary the State william Jennings Bryan, the Narcotics tax Act surfaced in Congress. The supporters of the bill said very small about the dangerous impacts of addiction, rather emphasizing the prominence of upholding the new international commitment to eradicate opium.

In fact, the action on its surface was not prohibitive in ~ all. It was “an act to administer for the it is registered of, with collectors of internal revenue, and to i charged a special taxation upon all persons that produce, import, manufacture, compound, transaction in, dispense, sell, distribute, or offer away minus or coca leaves, your salts, derivatives, or preparations, and for other purposes.”

Almost immediately, damaging impacts were felt indigenous the bill’s passing. A vaguely worded i in the bill asserted that doctors could no longer prescribe opiate-based drugs, since “addiction was no a disease.” This led to numerous doctors gift targeted by police and eventually imprisoned. In turn, the cloudiness the wording caused underground sector formation, bring about criminal authorized by both users and also producers the opiates and also cocaine. Police enforcement began to go up, and quality that life because that those making use of opiates and cocaine began to plummet.

The government likewise began one aggressively racism propaganda attack versus cocaine-using black color Americans and opium-using “Chinamen.” Hysterical media stories claimed that white women using these substances were to run off with males of different races. Doctors were targeted because that helping those in need, and also citizens who formerly were clinical patients suddenly came to be criminals, compelled to hang out in unscrupulous locations to obtain their drugs of choice. In one fell swoop, the Harrison Act collection the structures of the drug war as we know it today.

This December 17, watch around and see that not much has actually changed. Doctors are still targeted for providing pain medications. Particular people using details drugs space still treated together criminals and also denied medical treatment for addiction. Racial disparities in drug related arrests are a bigger problem than ever.

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It is time to acquire outside and show that you are fed up v the standing quo. Current marijuana legalization laws display hope, however we still have actually a long means to go.