By Sophie Lovering
Sophie Lovering is a sophomore in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania majoring in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics and minoring in American Sign Language and Deaf Studies.
In 1971, President Richard Nixon called for a war on drugs, increasing sentencing and enforcement actions for low-level drug offenses . In the following decade, President Ronald Reagan and his wife Nancy Reagan not only continued but also built upon Nixon’s initiative, passing new policies and starting the “Just Say No” campaign . This war on drugs categorized substance abuse as a criminal justice issue in the minds of many Americans. With the concurrent expansion of drug law enforcement, this led to a massive increase in the number of people incarcerated.