War on Drugs

Ron Paul opposes the War on Drugs.

On November 20, 2008 Ron Paul said in a New York Times / Freakonomics interview:

“[…] the federal war on drugs has proven costly and ineffective, while creating terrible violent crime. But if you question policy, you are accused of being pro-drug. That is preposterous. As a physician, father, and grandfather, I abhor drugs. I just know that there is a better way — through local laws, communities, churches, and families — to combat the very serious problem of drug abuse than a massive federal-government bureaucracy.”

Note: This summary of Ron Paul’s position has been determined to be incomplete! Contact us to join RonPaul.com as a voluntary editor. Help us set the record straight and keep this page up-to-date.

  • Thanks for the paragraph on how much you dislike drugs. This is insane. “I have grandchildren and I hate drugs.”

    Oh yeah, he hates drugs…wins my vote.

  • leo

    @Fiddlercrab There was a bill that was for the decriminalizing of marijuana. It passed both the house and senate. I think it was 5-6 years ago but Bush vetoed it. So if that bill was to come back up and pass again like it did then. Then having a president that wants the drug war to stop then that’s all it takes.

    • netizen_j

      Sorry Leo – no such bill ever passed the House or Senate during either of the Bush Administration terms.

      You might be thinking about the Medical Marijuana law that the DC council tried to pass, but CONGRESS vetoed, because residents of DC don’t have the same rights as the rest of American voters.


  • maybe Ron Paul should consider emphasizing that Federal marijuana prohibition is a humanitarian catastrophe

    each year tens of thousands in American and Mexico die because of these misguided laws, the equivalent of several 9/11s every year

    according to figures released by the Mexican govt in Jan 2011, there were 34,612 deaths in Mexico in the past four years as a result of the drug wars, most of these in gang competition over supply routes to the US

    60% of cartel income comes from cannabis, according to US figures such as those from Jeffrey Miron at Harvard

    a further 10,000 American deaths can be attributed to drug prohibition in the estimate of economist Milton Friedman

    Ron Paul’s proposed legislation would save of the order around 20,000 lives a year in this reckoning


  • Bob

    The first mistake is calling it a war on a drug. I never new a drug that could shoot at you or want to kill you.

    It is just another gray half truth. The real war is in who controls the money from the product being produced. It is realy not to much different than probition of alcohol. It is a war. but the only way a drug can do anything to any one is by choice.

    • mark971

      thank god we don’t have people like the CIA watching their gardens in Afghanistan, waiting for the harvest to bring in drugs to our country. And yet here we sit still debating this issue 45 years later, when will we take notice? Did our country not learn from the Iran Contra crap that our government is thinking of ways to keep the dollar afloat. They call a war on it attack the little guy, make illegal alliances, import this commodity, tell us it is illegal, arrest us, fine us, jail us and then hand us the bill while all money confiscated is returned to the government(thank god we got rid of the Mafia). Lets see how many jobs we created, a farmer, a soldier, a mule, border patrol, local police, lawyers, doctors, psyhcologist, judges, prison guards, college professors, bankers, chemical companies. Meanwhile the little man doesn’t get the help they need to kick the habit, they get a 6×9 cell and dt’s. Just from these few job examples there is 9 corruptable jobs here. So there will never be a end to this war as people will always need to feed their families and will do so by any means.

  • Have a look at this music video, ‘No Knock Raid’ by Lindy at reason tv or youtube
    Have some tissues ready. Heavy duty police raid videos say it all about the brutality and stupidity of the “American War”.

    • Bob

      You evidently know very little about Pole Pot and the Kier mar rouge. Or Veit Nam.

      If you do explain what it means?

  • Tony

    Id vote for Ron Paul, if he were to legalize industrial hemp. I am sure he would win the election if he were to do so, and by a landslide…

  • Betsy

    Can someone clarify his stance on drugs for me? I understand he wants to end the war on drugs, Ron Paul is against drug use correct? I mean I need to know a clear answer that he would not legalize drug use right? Because we voted against the use of marijuana here in California and I don’t want to turn into a 2nd hand smoke zombie if it is legalized and my neighbor’s smoke came into my apartment. Thanks!

    • Betsy. Congressman Paul is a doctor and has brought over 4000 baby’s into the world. He is ANTI drug use. That said he is first and foremost a believer in our Constitution. He like many others, myself included does not believe that the war on drugs is anything but folly. It wastes tens of billions of dollars every year and makes criminals out of people that by and large would not be were it not for the prohibition against. I can’t speak for Dr. Paul. What I have said here is based on congressman Pauls own statements and consistent voting record. I hope that helps. Peace

    • mark971

      I am sorry Betsy I have to chuckle not at you but at the statement second hand smoke zombie, this is a myth you can not get high from secondhand marijuana smoke just ask any probation officer. This is another reason why people need to be educated rather than told it is bad. There maybe a benefit to us we do not know why because they could not study it because it was even illegal for doctors to study it. One reason for this if a doctor found out that there are benefits to a natural pain medication then they could not classify it with cocaine which the use of that drug was in our food in the 1900’s. There are fewer carsenigens in marijuana smoke than in cigarette smoke, there are about 256 in cigarettes, some added to the tobacco. How many Americans have a prescription of Zanex, well marijuana is a natural mellower without the harmful effects of the chemicals taken in. Maybe we should have taken a page from the Native American people and their natural cures instead of whatever they can cook up for us which changes the chemical structure of your mind and body. I am a person who doesn’t go to a doctor unless they have to sow me back together because it seems I always leave with $200 in prescriptions and a $95 office visit. With none of the pills being made of herbs or anything natural.

    • Dylan

      Betsy, “second hand high” is a myth. It is 100% placebo. The THC is consumed in the lungs of your neighbors as they make a personal decision in the privacy of their own homes that affects your life in the minutest way, assuming that everyone around you will start doing something you disagree with once it becomes legal.

    • rayven

      It never ceases to amaze me how many idiots have bought into the propaganda the government and big pharma have been force feeding us over the years. “Second hand smoke zombie” WTH?!? It’s called a contact high and the ONLY way you experience it is if someone is blowing the smoke directly in your face or you’re in a small enclosed space (think closet) that is full of smoke. Seriously, if the trickle of pot smoke from a neighbor’s apartment was going to turn you into a “second hand smoke zombie” you’d already be one, as the neighbors are probably ALREADY smoking in their apartments. Do some research before making stupid statements and maybe, just maybe you won’t come out looking and sounding like an utter moron.

  • Benjamin

    Clearly you are correct about the war on drugs.
    but hopes that a local community and churches will help? Who is paying you off? OR are you just that ignorant?

    Most local communities dont help at all right now. Tulsa Oklahoma, small government loving town has one of the largest homeless ratings. But WAIT theres more!! They are the home of Oral Roberts University, the buckle of the Bible belt. Yet there are more people starving on their streets than in say Pittsburgh? I think we have issues that are deeper than big government.

    If the government does not step in than we fail. Most peoples morals are out the door. Pastors raping little boys and stealing from the flock to get rich. You have most people in government who lie, cheat, steal, and are having sex with who ever they please.

    Yet you expect them to look at drug addicts and say “Oh, poor you. I dont need this flat screen TV that I have been programed to buy, I would rather help you get off the street.” 99% of people say screw the other man. THATS CAPITALISM!!!

    We are born to believe if you screw the other man that its just doing work as usual. You as a Christian have truly forgot our fall and that no matter of how hard we try if you put more into the peoples hands they will screw it up more. It needs more control and in the hands of God. Remember the book of judges? Most of the small communities were corrupt and “they all did that which was good in their own eyes”. If you expect people to be good natured, there will be orgies in the street.

    • Being overly cynical helps nothing. The fact is 95 percent of people as a whole are not on the take. It is unfortunate that those that are seem to wind up in places of control and influence. Why not direct your focus on those that fall in that 5 percent range?

    • JUDY

      I believe, at least for the Opiate problem, that the FDA is at fault and so are the physicians who so freely distribute them. The doctors get kick backs at the publics expense, they get you addicted then tell you to go to rehab when all you needed (instead of 5 years of Oxycodones) was a simple electronic divise called a Tense Unit….Opiate drugs are too often given out, I refused them in surgery and was fine with Tylenol, if your body hurts it is for a reason…listen to it…don’t just cover it up and keep abusing it!! The war on drugs needs to start in the FDA and parmacys….they are who are putting the drugs in everyones hands!!!

  • DJ PsiPhi


    The War on Drugs, Shockumentary – DJ PsiPhi

    • mark971

      And this is exactly why the Americans need to legalize it. You noticed the force of police needed to secure a house, when the courts back the police more than protect the people you are in store for worse than this. This is just another violation of our civil liberties, where any of these persons sought for murder, arson, rape, or anything violent? Or was it because the police knew they were making money? If these persons could have had a store front with security, and sold this stuff legally would any of this stuff ever happened? Would the police, sworn to protect the public, kick the door in and shoot a man holding a golf club? If you ask me it wasn’t right and murder in my eyes, he was clearly 8 feet away with a golf club not an uzi, why was it a kill shot and not a leg wound? Why were they that frightened with 6 machine gun armed, bulletproof vest wearing beefed up policemen? Does this task force not have the funding for tazors, seeing most of the money recovered goes to the funding of this task force? Because they burn the drugs not the money. If you could walk into a store like a bar and purchase this maybe we wouldn’t have kids gunning kids down for a store front corner. Maybe this would teach our children to run and operate a family business legally and without firearms. Maybe this would help with the major drug companies not producing useless pills to shovel off on Americans. Most have worse side effects than the actual problem, then some counteract one another which i still don’t see why you would need one pill to counteract another, maybe you shouldn’t have taken either. How many Americans are addicted to prescription pills prescribed by a physician, how many of these were because of an injury? Isn’t this a decision one should make for themselves, to choose a natural way to medicate which we know isn’t very dangerous, or to taking a pill we do not know about and in 5 years might not be on the shelves? Tribal medicines have been around for centuries but we Americans consider them to be a bunch of b.s. why? Is one reason because we didn’t think it up in a lab, or because they told us it is a good drug and this will fix us so we have no pain?

  • Ronnie

    Please let’s not forget all the benifits of the hemp plant as well,from clothes,fuel,ropes and some cultures use it as food as well. Hemp can grow anywhere it’s a weed but it also helps replenish the soil as well. So many problems so little time, do your research and vote Ron Paul and keep America growing.

  • mikeez2011

    Okay, Here I am. I am not the perfect package! I am
    real 100% and very grateful for every little scar. Those little things are the
    stories of our lives and are part of who we are and where we have been. I often
    come across as very reserved, but I am usually just observing a situation When Ron Paul is elected in 2012…

  • mikeez2011

    Violence in Mexico is getting worse by the day. Drug cartels have created an environment of fear that makes it impossible for Mexican officials to do their work. The country’s very stability may be threatened.

    It’s time to put an end to U.S. policies that fuel these murderous drug gangs. Between 60% and 75% of the money funding Mexican drug cartels comes from marijuana sales in the U.S. Just as Congress did with alcohol in the 1930s, we can take these profits out of the criminal market by taxing and regulating marijuana like alcohol.

    For more than 70 years, marijuana prohibition has failed us. Despite having strict laws and spending billions of dollars on fighting marijuana use, America has the highest rates of marijuana use in the world. We had 872,720 marijuana-related arrests in 2007, more than any other year in American history. More than 775,000 of those arrests were for simple possession – not trafficking or production, just simple possession.

    These arrests come at a significant cost to the American taxpayer. Ending marijuana prohibition would save between $10 and $41 billion annually.

    Please help move our nation towards a better marijuana policy: Introduce and support legislation to end marijuana prohibition and regulate marijuana like alcohol or tobacco . I am disabled …53 years old: Medical Marijuana I am fanatical about meds and side effects. I do my best to take care of my health! degenerating discs in both my neck and back ! many ADHD problemsa significant amount of stress and anxiety ! schizophrenia chronic pain and fatigue, and depression all caused from years of working hard, and many auto accident and MS on top. Medical Marijuana the benifits are amazing! The ease of pain, and relaxed mood is unspeakable ! what up in SC ? I love USA Marijuana is a beauiful thing !!! supposed “War on Drugs”. C’mon people! Wake up!

  • Robbie S.

    I really wish a rich Libertarian would donate some millions to his campaign, we need to blow the establishment Romney out of the running, along with the other “Conservative on the outside, Establishment on the Inside” candidates. Ron Paul is the closest thing to our founding fathers that I have ever seen, and he makes me proud to be American when I see we still have politicians and political ideologues like him that exist.

    We don’t need big government controlling every aspect of us. Most of us are smart enough to make informed decisions regarding our health. And we should be free to choose, however I do believe if you have children you need to think twice, unless you can be absolutely sure that your habits aren’t going to interfere with your child’s livelihood. This country needs Ron Paul’s leadership more than ever right now, he has the right idea on pretty much everything, if only Progressive smart government Dems could vote in our primaries we would have this in the bag! Heh. This country needs some regulation to protect its people from fraud and abuse, lying and false advertising etc., but that is it. Cut the red tape! And let us become a free society once more, let us be an example to the rest of the world, that a truly free society can be great, and even better, can be exceptional.

  • In order to solve a problem. You must first define it. Unfortunately the world and indeed the medical profession at large finds treating the symptoms more profitable and less hassle. The war on drugs is big business and sadly enough the very people that propagate it are those whose lively hoods depend on it. Take away all the stupid fear mongering statements like. “End the drug war and we will have more addicts” and such. You then can use rationale to solve the problem. Everyone that reads the next statement take a big breath and think for five minutes before replying. Spend the WHOLE five minutes. Think about ALL the aspects of it. “YOU CAN NOT SELL ME SOMETHING I CAN GET ACROSS THE STREET FOR FREE” Darn. Looks like drug dealers are going to need day jobs. Gee I wonder what happened to all the drive by killings says the morticians. My business is down for some reason. The locksmiths and home security company’s are lamenting too since home invasions and theft seems to have dropped dramatically. Poor old gun dealers can’t understand where all their business went. Seems like people just don’t care about personal protection as much as they use to. Looks like major layoffs are taking place at most emergency rooms in large metro area’s. People are scratching their heads. They just don’t get it. Police and fire depts. downsizing nationwide. This just in. The FDA and DEPT. Of JUSTICE in a joint study have concluded that welfare fraud is down by 73 percent, and food stamps are actually being spent on food for the children. Over heard a pawn shop owner and a collection agent talking the other day. The collection agent is job hunting. For some unknown reason. People are paying their bills. And so on and so on. By now you must be getting the idea. Use the WHOLE five minutes. Commercial prisons, law enforcement, the judicial system, military, coast guard, rehab centers, first responders of all ilk. EVERYBODY is dependent on the war on drugs in one way or another. Imagine if you will. An addict walks into a welfare office. Grabs an application and a release of liability form and as he sits and fills them out he notices two doors. One has a smiley face the other a skull and crossbones. Behind door number one. Treatment. Behind door number two. His drug of choice. For FREE. Its his choice to live or die. And that is what god had in mind.

  • Red

    You Americans are a failure. Whatever happened to that revolutionary spirit that made the nation? It’s being run and controlled by the elite, yes the elite (it’s such a conspiratorial word). It’s being run for and by them, not for you but for corporations and big money. And the middle class is quickly dying. They’ve instituted this morality tirade on anything that goes against what they believe is the norm. They want the 1950’s back.

    The American dream has long awoken to a nightmare.

  • Hank

    Can you imagine this country without a “war on drugs”? The impact on the prison system would be amazing. Theharder drugs could be controlled by FDA, given by prescription. There are abuses, but you have that in all things. Weed would be controlled just like alcohol, same procedures to obtain it ,consume it, and same restraints on driving etc. Fewer cops would be needed, but more producers of legitimate crops would be needed also. The whole thing is an advantage for the citizenry. Taxes would be paid, hopefully with a fair tax, providing government with revenues, government off of our backs and out of our pockets. Fewer people in prison to support for years. Makes me smile thinking about it!

  • Hank

    Can you imagine this country without a “war ondrugs”? The impact on the prison system would be amazing. Theharder drugs could be controlled by FDA, given by prescription. There are abuses, but you have that in all things. Weed would be controlled just like alcohol, same procedures to obtain it ,consume it, and same restraints on driving etc. Fewer cops would be needed, but more producers of legitimate crops would be needed also. The whole thing is an advantage for the citizenry. Taxes would be paid, hopefully with a fair tax, providing government with revenues, government off of our backs and out of our pockets. Fewer people in prison to support for years. Make me smile thinking about it!

  • wendell simmons

    what about freedom , liberty and the persuit of happyness,if cannabis would ease my chronic pain i could spend quality time with my grandchildren,and family,and participate in a few activities with them.i have all but forgotten what it’s like to smile or laugh.does congress believe thats what i deserve? do they really think i should loose everything i have,and spend years in prison just for trying to feel equally alive as everyone else. shouldnt i be able to choose a less harmfull medication than what the big government approved pharmasutical companies offer,which are addictive,more expensive and less effective?or is it just too much to ask because i could produce my own medicine and know what was used to produce it ,and how?congress allways want and get.but it’s horrible to ask for such a harmless natural alternative without them getting a cut!

    • Marc

      Very well said. Besides just the issue of personal rights, the process of eliminating a multi-billion dollar underground market while providing extra tax revenue is just too good of a thing to pass up in these hard times just because some people do not agree with the personal choice of others. Even better than tax revenue would be if it were implemented the way NH does hard liquor. You can buy beer and wine anywhere but to buy liquor you must buy it through the state’s own liquor stores. Grocery stores are certainly doing just fine without this one product available for them to sell. But the benefit is massive revenue for the state from a substance that should be reasonably controlled anyways. The model is truly brilliant. We have no sales tax and no income tax. It is a win-win for everyone but store owners who would only see a marginal revenue increase by being allowed to sell liquor.

      • It would cost penny’s on the dollar to grow/process and distribute for free to those controlled by the monkey. They will be the first to tell you that there is nothing anyone can do to stop them from getting their drug of choice. Prison populations support that notion. Govt. control and taxation will do nothing to “PREVENT” future addiction. If just 10 cents of every dollar of the billions spent annually were spent on prevention at grade school level targets. Drug addiction would become “unpopular” Where youngsters are concerned. Imagine the effect that a small box located in one of the corners of all TV channels with continuous ascending digital numbers, updated hourly, from a data base of drug related deaths from all 50 states would have on children when they asked mom or dad what those numbers meant.

        • Stefan C. Kosikowski

          A bit naive I would say!

          I believe you don’t even understand why people turn to drugs?

          I believe you don’t realize that drugs of one form or another have existed and been used (abused) by individuals since the dawn of mankind?

          For if you did, how could you make such thoughtless statements?

          Injustice in the world, mated with hopelessness to over come it drives people to seek an “escape.” You can not make the escape or drug use seem WORSE than the issues that are driving these people towards drugs!

          Reacting to the drug use rather than seeking the causes and correcting them is sure to fail every time.

          • Stefan You said
            A bit naive I would say!
            I believe you don’t even understand why people turn to drugs?
            For if you did, how could you make such thoughtless statements?

            Actually I can tell you from first hand experience of over 40 yrs. That I know all the reasons people turn to drugs. Got the tee shirt. Yes many people mask emotional and physical pain with them. But I ask you. Does making them criminals help any? How does penalizing those that are victims already provide any relief for them? Furthermore, There are many. Especially the young that start out from a recreational place. And I believe that that is a great place to start. There is nothing thoughtless about any thing I say on this topic.
            So my question to you is. How would ending the drug war effect you? Would you be looking for a job? Or your wife or others you know?
            Do you understand that if nothing else. Providing an HIV positive street walker with whatever he or she needs to combat the mental pain from say,, childhood abuse rape etc. That they would stop the added mental degradation by simply staying home? Thereby making getting thru a 12 step program just a little easiar, and increasing the likely hood of a successful recovery? Peace

          • Stefan C. Kosikowski


            I apologize for the way I phrased my response, calling you naive was out of line.

            I surely want an end to the war on drugs because the government uses it as a pretext to invade our homes and lives. I just don’t agree with the approach, to use television to program our children to curb drug use. We must be parents, or we fail our children. No level of government or corporate citizenship (bullcrap!) can replace the responsibility we have to educating our children. I also believe Society has a role in proper upbringing, that being to always set a proper example in public for our children to emulate.

            As for me personally, well, I don’t know how it would effect me directly. I see no issue with employment for me, I am not in law enforcement nor the legal defense. I also support ending prohibition of cannabis as it is a valuable medicine (according to many medical doctors), and as a recreational drug… well, let’s just say you could do far worse harm using alcohol and nicotine laced tobacco.

          • Stefan
            Not a problem.. I’ve been called things worse than naive. The drug war is complicated. It doesn’t work. The biggest problem ending it requires the will. With our mismanaged economic state. Even if there were super majority support for ending it. The sad fact is. There are no jobs available to absorb the hundreds of thousands of people that would be laid off. So you can trust and believe that those people will fight tooth and nail to protect the status quo.

            That said. I’m not willing to throw in the towel. I still believe in the overall goodness of America and her peoples. America has faced adversity many times and overcome. The most important thing in my mind that needs to happen yesterday. Is stopping the collateral damage. And the only clear cut way to do that is take the profit out of it. And that means, decriminalize it. And that means hard choices backed up with action. And Ron Paul is one of very few with the backbone to take the problem on.

  • mc

    Actually last time that marijuana was going. Through the Senate to be passed 44% of the Senate were in favor

  • Vescovo

    It’s all about the money, for both sides. If the U.S legalized, say, cocaine; levied an impossible tariff on said cocaine, don’t you think smugglers would change occupations? the govt. could literally regulate drugs out of existence, making them so low in quality that no one would want them? But what would that do to the rehab business? And would all of the “grey area money being pumped into the economy disappear? And what if people actually learned to be non dependent on drugs; legal or otherwise? That would cross over into the petroleum market as well, which is used in the production of “legal” drugs, the packaging of both, from ziploc baggies to medicine bottles. Never gonna happen. Pfizer has a pill for that im sure.

    • mark 971

      I agree look at Amsterdam with the decriminalization of drugs and the free needle program they have made a decrease in the addiction rate. I think we could save $50 billion a year with dropping the “just say no” program which we all know is a joke. This program does nothing to stop the spread of aids through shared needles nor does it help anyone after they begin the habit. We as Americans should take a look at what has not worked in the past and begin to repair what the majority deems unfit. With our growing debt do we really need to be policing other countries beliefs or their culture. Do we really need a 20 foot cement wall separating us from Mexico or Canada even? What happens when we create all these laws to arrest and incarcerate people for small thing, who is supposed to pay the $60,000 per inmate per year? What happen to the country that my generation loved and was so proud to be part of? I remember my whole town shutting down with huge parades on memorial day and the fourth of July, today any store that can make a buck on that day is open, why? Would it have to do with them having to pay a $200,000 mortgage, or perhaps it would be the $30,000 a year college their child attends? I hope that we as Americans and a nation can get through these trying and harsh times, and we hope that the canidates to this election will be true to us and our founding fathers that would be turning over in their graves.