Attorney General Jeff Sessions wants to combat drug use by cramming lawbreakers into America's overcrowded prisons, but incarceration won't curb drug consumption according to a new report from the United Nations' Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). In fact, prisons around the world are a hotbed for illicit substances.
One in three prisoners around the world have used a banned substance while incarcerated, according to the UNODC. That's over 3 million people since there are approximately 10 million inmates in prisons around the world at any given moment. Of those, approximately 1.6 million use prohibited substances on a regular basis.
Heroin is one of the most popular substances in prison. Approximately 1 million prisoners say they have used heroin at least once during their incarceration and roughly 320,000 inmates around the world use it regularly. Those stats are particularly problematic because injecting drugs puts detainees at a higher risk of contracting debilitating diseases like HIV, hepatitis C and tuberculosis.
Some prisoners began dabbling in banned substances before incarceration while others picked up the habit behind bars. "People who use drugs often continue to do so while incarcerated, and other prisoners may initiate drug use or injecting while in prison," the report says. So the notion that prisons can reform drug users is a fallacy. And instead of suppressing the use of prohibited substances, Attorney General Sessions' new War on Drugs will likely increase the number of drug consumers in America while giving many offenders a life sentence of disease.