The war on drugs was created to incarcerate anti-war advocates (most of whom were "hippies"), and ethnic minorities. That is not an opinion anymore.
That's not the end of it though. Because the supply was cut very low, and the demand stayed the same, there was a lot of money to be made. ANY TIME there is money to be made, the US government will get on board. You could say that legalizing and taxing drugs would make them money, and you wouldn't be wrong. However, keeping drugs illegal will make them far more money. By exploiting cheap South American labor, controlling the amount imported, and enforcing penalties on citizens who possesses it, they can make way more money than if they just had sales tax.
Rick Ross (not the rapper) dealt coke in south central and supplied by the CIA. That information was found in the discovery phase of trial, lowering his prison sentence to 20 years. Pablo Escobar's son Juan who wrote a book detailing how his "father worked for the CIA selling cocaine to finance the fight against the communism in Central America. There are names like George Bush Sr. and so many more."
PBS Frontline reported:"At best, these incidents represent negligence on the part of U.S. government officials responsible for providing support to the Contras," the Hitz report stated. 'At worst, it was a matter of turning a blind eye to the activities of companies who use legitimate activities as a cover for their narcotics trafficking."
That statement sums up the debate remaining over the CIA's involvement in the Contra War. The Hitz report gives an abundance of anecdotal evidence showing that drugs were low on the list of intelligence priorities in the Contra war. It shows that allegation after allegation were either partially investigated or not investigated at all. To this day, Fred Hitz denies that the CIA had any intentional ties to drug trafficking. But he also admits that the Agency in many cases took a rain check on specifically addressing narcotics activity within its allies' ranks. Some say that's expected when fighting ideological wars in countries where drugs have historically fueled not only conflict, but entire economies as well.
"You're always going to be having drug traffickers, gun runners, people who are alien smugglers ... as some of the kinds of people that you're going to be relying on to carry out a covert war," Winer observes. "And that's true of any government anywhere--whether you're talking Afghanistan, Colombia, Southeast Asia, Burma. Your operatives tend to be people who are involved in other illicit activities. These things tend to go together." If you put aside conspiracy theories of crack peddling, that still leaves the question of why the Agency has repeatedly found itself associated with drug traffickers.
At the end of the day, addiction should be treated as a mental health issue, not a criminal issue. We already have laws in place in the case that someone commits a crime under the influence of a mind altering substance. There is no need to also punish them for relying on a chemical to help them escape from their detrimental reality. Obviously there is an inherent issue in taking substances to distance yourself from your problems, but locking someone in a cage will not fix the root cause of why the drug addiction started in the first place.
Plus, if someone is aware of their addiction, how likely do you think they are to turn themselves in to the police to find treatment? Odds are, they wont do that ever, and will only go to rehab if they have a support structure that encourages them to go. To increase the probability of addicts correcting the causal issue, we must stop treating them like criminals and start treating them like patients. Mental health in America has an ugly stigma that lumps you into the "crazy people" category which serves only as a deterrent for people to seek treatment and is a product of the ignorance most people have regarding these issues.