With all this election year's talk about the war on terror and (or including, depending on your opinion) the war in iraq, America is also fighting another war, mainly within its own borders. That war is the "War on Drugs". After cosmology and cognitive neuroscience, I study this issue the most, so I bring it here. The main objective of this post is to elucidate the severity of this problem in the context of how such a major issue can be completely ignored in an election. The War on Drugs is being lost. It's an inescapable fact. Millions of Americans are effected by it, yet not only will neither major party talk about it, they don't even mention it on their positions page. It's a touchy issue deeply rooted in history and tied to emotion, and right now any politician who does anything differently is committing political suicide. Let's start by looking at the just a few of the realities of drug prohibition: -The US has a higher percentage of its population imprisoned then any advanced country, including all of western europe; the majority (as in 55% federal, higher in state) of prisoners in for a drug offense, the majority of them having committed no act of violence, theft, or any other crime. -40% of all HIV infections in African Americans are transmitted by sharing dirty needles for IV drug use, which is virtually eliminated by syringe exchange programs; but federal funding for such programs are not allowed, because the politicians and their constituents feel it would increase and condone use. Not only is this completely false, according to the NIH and CDC, but even if it was true, is letting so many easily preventable HIV infections occur really the right thing to do? -Speaking of right and wrong, I'm not too well versed in philosophy, but I'm pretty sure most standards of justice would say a law that 54% of the people under it have violated is not a just law. -From about $4 million at its inception to $40 billion now, decades later, use is the same, prices are down, purities are up, and drugs are easier to get than ever. -Something relavent to many of us here at PF; drug offenses are the ONLY crimes for which you can lose eligibility for federal student aid. 3 simple possession convictions, and you're ineligible for life. Murder, rape, terrorism... when you get out of jail, you're still eligible. -85% of drug related violence is due to black market control; crimes by users, mostly for money to buy drugs, are caused by a 17,000% markup; in a legal market it wouldn't cost more than an alcohol or nicotine habit. Whether you believe prohibition is the right way to go or not, my challenge is for anyone to defend why this issue does not receive national attention, in terms of why it doesn't matter to enough people to be something candidates in this election even broach. And if anyone would like to provide a reason for supporting the current policy, I'd be more than happy to address it. With the air of change in America, the fact this issue isn't even on the table scares me. I look forward to a civilized scientific discussion of this issue. Disclaimer: I want to clarify my position... I do not support or condone drug use. It is a problem in society and I believe it needs to be reduced. However, I believe full legalization, regulation, education, and treatment will best accomplish this goal and benefit society. For site liability purposes, do not discuss an illegal act you performed.