Segments in this Video

Addressing the War on Drugs (01:05)


80% of users are white suburban males, but the media has focused on African-American men. Interviewees express their opinions on the U.S. strategy in program clips.

Sponsors (00:56)

What Price the Drug War?: Sponsor Message

Introduction to the War on Drugs (02:02)

For over 20 years, presidents have announced new strategies and spent $50 billion on fighting drug abuse. Arrests have doubled the prison population but trade violence has increased.

Campaign against Drugs (01:27)

The federal government has increased the drug budget 751% since 1981, enlisted anti-drug advertising, and used military force against smuggling but 95% of drugs still enter the U.S.

Noriega's Case as a PR Stunt (05:43)

Journalist Michael Isikoff discusses how the former U.S. ally became a symbol in the drug war. His arrest cost $164 million and 1,000 lives; the media ignored trafficker deals to convict him and smuggling has increased in Panama.

Latin American Drug Economies (02:00)

Journalist Robin Kirk explains how the narcotics trade is tied to South American financial systems—Peru's government pays foreign debt with cocaine dollars.

Rural Drug Boom (01:14)

Kirk describes how coca plantations are taking over Peru's rice production.

Drug War Debate (02:51)

DEA expert Michael Levine and White House representative John Walters debate the effectiveness of halting cocaine production in Bolivia and Colombia.

Challenging Drug War Strategy (02:32)

Walters and Levine debate U.S. cocaine use statistics. Kirk explains that South American production shifts regionally in response to eradication efforts.

U.S. Interests in Latin America (02:26)

Walters claims Noriega's arrest was to free Panama's people from a dictator. Kirk describes drug money used to fight guerrillas in Colombia.

Cocaine Market Shifts (00:58)

Walters maintains U.S. drug use has decreased, despite surplus reports.

Domestic Drug Victims (04:24)

Washington, D.C. students believe the war is against them. Learn how the DEA set up Keith Jackson to embellish Bush's speech on drug sales—a symbol of ineffective White House policies.

Racial Profiling in the Drug War (03:54)

Media and law enforcement agencies target young African-American males, perpetuating the crime cycle. Students discuss how unemployment and social pressure leads to drug dealing—but not using.

Drivers of the Drug Trade (02:49)

Public defender Randolph Stone and author Mark Kleiman discuss how legal and economic conditions lead to under age dealing.

Drug Use Demographics (02:02)

Stone and Kleiman debate whether suburban whites or inner-city African-Americans have higher addiction rates. David Condliffe highlights low employment driving young people to sell.

Drugs and Social Justice (01:19)

Stone links the high U.S. substance use rate with economic inequality issues.

Separating Drug Use from Sales (04:34)

Walters sees solving drug crime as an enforcement issue while Stone calls for inner city education and employment efforts. Experts disagree over whether addiction is preventable.

Drug User Debate (02:12)

Hear from both sides on imprisonment vs. treatment.

Addressing Underfunded Drug Treatment (04:51)

Senator Hughes is working to increase treatment access for low income users. "Just Say No" critics say the campaign sends a false message that addiction is a choice.

Treatment vs. Imprisonment (04:31)

Experts argue whether prevention and treatment or enforcement will solve drug crime. Community policing, drug-free probation and racial profiling are also addressed.

Drug War Conclusion (00:41)

Moyers reads headlines about New York's lack of youth employment opportunities and plans to expand anti-drug efforts in the Caribbean.

Credits: What Price the Drug War? (01:15)

Credits: What Price the Drug War?

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What Price the Drug War?

Part of the Series : Listening to America with Bill Moyers
DVD Price: $99.95
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3-Year Streaming Price: $99.95



This program with Bill Moyers examines the cost to all Americans of our national drug epidemic and discusses alternatives to the present national drug policy. The program also looks at drug policy from a local and international perspective, and addresses the problems addicts face in obtaining treatment. Among those interviewed are John Walters, Office of National Drug Control Policy; Randolph Stone, a law professor and former public defender; and an official from New York City’s Office of Drug Abuse Policy. (60 minutes)

Length: 57 minutes

Item#: BVL5032

ISBN: 978-1-4213-9268-4

Copyright date: ©1992

Closed Captioned

Performance Rights

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Not available to Home Video customers.

Only available in USA and Canada.