Throughout the years during the “War on Drugs”, Texas’s stance on drug enforcement policy has been one of zero tolerance. However, has this stringent position been effective? I have compiled data from four statistical categories (i.e. total drug abuse arrests, drug-related deaths, drug abuse-related rehab visits, and US total drug control spending) from 6 counties in Texas. Three of these are rural, border-inspecting counties (Brooks, Hudspeth, and Webb) while the remaining three are suburban/urban counties (Tarrant, Travis, and Williamson). To put it into perspective, Texas alone has a higher rate of incarceration than any other founding NATO nation with a rate of 891 per 100,000 people. The next closest nation, the United Kingdom, has an incarceration rate of only 139 per 100,000 people. After observing Figure 1, one can see that the counties’ figures for total drug abuse arrests fluctuate with time. The most poignant figure from this data is that the small county of Hudspeth had a total of 2,209 drug abuse arrests, while a larger, urban county like Tarrant county only had 1,232. By looking at these statistics, it seems like a rural county has a far worse drug problem than the higher-populated Tarrant county. is it supposed to be the opposite having more drug use in urban cities than rural?
There is only one way this could be like this and it is because that Hudspeth is a border inspecting county, so the possibility of Drug Abuse Arrest being higher could be a possibility but not certainly. Because if you look at (Figure 2) it shows that Tarrant county has the highest drug-related deaths with a total of 2,162 throughout the years, while Hudspeth county has had 0 deaths of drug-related deaths. If we total up all of the Total Drug Abuse Arrests from the counties in 2019, we would get 2,487 arrests and compare them to the Number of Drug Abuse Only Rehab admissions in 2019 which is 18,694 (Figure 3). Just with those 6 counties varying different lifestyles, it adds up to being 13% of those in Drug Abuse Only Rehab, that is just 6 counties out of the 254 counties in Texas. With that being said does it seem like Texas is making an effort on trying to combat the War on Drugs? Not really, it seems like it is just going to get worse and worse because incarceration keeps on going up, areas with more drug-related arrests having few deaths while areas with less drug-related arrests are having more deaths. It does not help when the United States Total Drug Control Spending keeps on being increased (Figure 4), with no evidence of drug problems slowing down at all.
Texas is ranked last on personal freedom on the website https://www.freedominthe50states.org/, their reasoning why Texas is ranked dead last in personal freedom is “Criminal justice policies are generally aggressive, but tentative reforms have begun. Even controlling for crime rates, the incarceration rate is far above the national average but has recently improved slightly. Drug arrests have fallen a bit over time but are still above average for the user base… Cannabis laws are harsh. A single offense not involving minors can carry a life sentence. Even cultivating a tiny amount carries a mandatory minimum of six months” (Freedominthe50states). Comparing this to Washington which has a personal freedom ranking of 8 and the biggest reason for this is because “Washington’s criminal justice policies are among the best in the nation. Incarceration and victimless crime arrest rates are far below national averages and fell substantially even before marijuana legalization” The State of Washington does not see its citizens with drug problems as criminals they see them as people with a problem and are seeking help. They don’t throw them in jail, they send them to a rehabilitation center so they can actually get the help that they need and instead of being a slave to the system. Texas sees its citizens with drug abuse problems as criminals but they are not they just people who have a problem and do not have the resources to get help and throwing them in jail will only make their problems worse instead of better. These people need help and not being thrown into a system that makes you feel like a slave. If Texas were to legalize Marijuana, I would say you would see a drop in all of these statistics because most offensives of arrest are for marijuana and the drug that is smuggled the most through our borders is marijuana. There is no point in trying to arrest people for marijuana when 15 states have already legalized it, and Texas only legalizing CBD so far. Texas could be the main trailblazer of very conservative states with high incarceration rates to legalize marijuana and show the many great benefits that come with it due to our size population we would get data results more quickly than other states.