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The war on drugs impacts everyone

In the United States, the so-called "War on Drugs" has been raging now for decades. It started with an escalation of police activity to stop drug use in the 1970s, and it's continued on into the modern day. Those who would like to see this war stopped claim that it impacts everyone -- even those who do not use drugs.

Of course, those who face convictions are impacted the most. They could see time behind bars and stiff fines. They could lose their jobs and see employment opportunities diminished in the future.

Even those who are not arrested are paying for the war on drugs, though. They are quite literally funding it with their tax dollars. This is money that could either be taken out of the tax bill that citizens have to deal with on a yearly basis, or it could be spent on other government programs. Instead, it's spent to arrest people for drugs, most of whom are non-violent criminals who are simply arrested on possession charges.

The cost doesn't go away after an arrest, either. Tax dollars have to pay for prisons and all that goes with them -- heating, lighting, food and more. Prisons are often overpopulated and new ones need to be built. Much of this overcrowding is due to the high number of drug-related arrests.

Laws and policies have been changing in some states. It's important for people in Maryland to know what changes are coming and what the future holds. At the same time, those facing drug charges must know their own legal options, especially when they're afraid that the rest of their lives could be ruined by a conviction.

Source: Drug Policy, "Drug Laws, the Criminal Justice System, and You," accessed June 29, 2016

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