Since the 1980's, when Nancy Reagan encouraged us to "Just Say No," and the state and federal government began the "War on Drugs," the incidence of drug abuse in this nation has not decreased; however, the number of jail and prison inmates serving time for drug crimes has gone through the roof.
Our prisons are overcrowded--largely with drug offenders--and Oklahoma's incarceration rate is among the highest in the nation. In fact, Oklahoma has the highest incarceration rate of women in the United States. Since 1989, the state's inmate population has more than doubled, according to The Sentencing Project, and the Oklahoma's population of inmates serving time for drug crimes is higher than the national average: 27% compared to an average of 20% across the remaining states.
Additionally, since the "War on Drugs" began, "unintentional poisoning"--largely from drug overdose--runs neck and neck with motor vehicle accidents as the leading cause of death in the United States, and some years, it actually beats car accidents as the leading cause of accidental death.
Our infographic explores the "War on Drugs" and its apparent ineffectiveness. With $51 billion spent annually to fight drugs, more than 350,000 people incarcerated for drug crimes, a $193 million annual loss to the economy, and the highest marijuana and cocaine use in the world, the way we are fighting the war on drugs seems to be a losing battle.