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United States v. Ursery

The War On Drugs

The expression "War on Drugs" was popularized by President Ronald Reagan in the 1980s, but it was President Richard M. Nixon who first described federal antidrug efforts as a "war." Between 1969, when Nixon became president, and 1983, the third year of Reagan's administration, annual federal spending on drug eradication grew from $37 million to $1.06 billion.

The government's "war," waged chiefly by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) with help from a variety of federal and local agencies, was aimed at stopping drugs from entering the United States. These law-enforcement initiatives were augmented by the "Just Say No" public-relations campaign, whose spokesperson was First Lady Nancy Reagan. The private sector responded in 1986, when a group of advertising executives formed the nonprofit Partnership for a Drug-Free America. The latter launched a series of memorable antidrug advertising campaigns that included a spot comparing the brain of a drug user to an egg frying in a pan ("this is your brain on drugs").

The drug war has not been generally judged a success, and appraisals have been less than glowing: according to one estimate, in the years between 1987 to 1992, when the federal government put $10 billion into the War on Drugs, drug use declined by one-tenth of one percent.

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Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1995 to PresentUnited States v. Ursery - Significance, Guy Ursery Grows His Own, Various Items, Emerald Cut Stones, And 89 Firearms