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  • Take a hard look at the War on Drugs.

    Take a hard look at the War on Drugs.

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  • The view into a prison room at Lexington Assessment and Reception Center in Oklahoma.

    The view into a prison room at Lexington Assessment and Reception Center in Oklahoma.

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  • Maurice Haltiwanger waits to be sentenced for crack cocaine charges in Judge Mark Bennett’s court.

    Maurice Haltiwanger waits to be sentenced for crack cocaine charges in Judge Mark Bennett’s court.

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  • Shanequa Benitez sits outside her residence at Cromwell Towers in Yonkers, New York.

    Shanequa Benitez sits outside her residence at Cromwell Towers in Yonkers, New York.

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  • Mike Carpenter, chief of security at Lexington Prison, walks down the hallway on one of his shifts.

    Mike Carpenter, chief of security at Lexington Prison, walks down the hallway on one of his shifts.

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  • Marshall Larry Cearly, the sheriff of Magdalena, New Mexico, keeps watch.

    Marshall Larry Cearly, the sheriff of Magdalena, New Mexico, keeps watch.

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The Film

While the Iraq War rages, another war continues, unnoticed, unreported, and yet it has taken more lives than the Iraq war, destroyed more families, orphaned more children, and — like the Iraq War — holds significant implications for the future of American society.

America’s War on Drugs has deep roots in the country’s history. Chapter by chapter, America’s drug laws have been used as political and economic tools against the poor, the ethnic, and the undesirable. Yet to date no single group has been more damaged by such policies than black America for whom — despite the exceptional progress of a handful of black celebrities and the hopeful presidential candidacy of Barack Obama — the war on drugs continues undeterred and persistent in its destructive impact. Amid the War on Drugs, black life is a spiraling crisis of social disintegration, political and economic disenfranchisement, and spiritual decay — a kind of ongoing insult added to the injuries of slavery, Jim Crow, and the short-circuiting of the civil rights movement.

Director Eugene Jarecki, whose film Why We Fight examined the anatomy of the American war machine, will turn the same penetrating lens to the War on Drugs, seeking to lay bare its mechanics, motivations, and contradictions.

The Filmmaker

  1. Eugene JareckiProducer/Director