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Upfront

Has the U.S. 'War on Drugs' Failed?

Derek Maltz and Sanho Tree debate the $1 trillion 'war on drugs' and Trump's dream of a border wall with Mexico.

It has been five decades since former U.S. President Richard Nixon declared a so-called "war on drugs," a war that is estimated to have cost more than $1 trillion. Despite the vast amount of money spent, the war is far from over. President Donald Trump now claims a wall on the border with Mexico will stop drugs from coming into the country. However, with the majority of drugs arriving via legal ports of entry, can the wall stop them?

The former head of the special operations division at the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, Derek Maltz, admits it will not solve the crisis, but insists it will make a difference. "The wall will actually help the border patrol and the experts to get a better handle on it," says Maltz.

Sanho Tree, director of drug policy for the Institute for Policy Studies, says traffickers will always find ways to get drugs into the country. He points out that Trump has backed down from his original plan for a solid concrete wall, instead suggesting a wall with slats. "What's the first countermeasure you're going to do if you're a drug trafficker? Three and a half inch wide packaging," says Tree. "When a dose of fentanyl is a couple of grains of sand, imagine how much of that you can push, literally hand through that wall," he added.

Maltz and Tree debate whether the so-called "war on drugs" has failed.

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