"There has never been and there will never be a war on drugs because America is more addicted to drug money than it is to drugs." Thus concludes a key DEA agent interviewed in this powerful film.
"America's War on Drugs" relates in graphic detail the history of the greatest con job pulled on the American people (and later, on the world) by corrupt government officials: the (so-called) War on (Some) Drugs. From its humble start in the 1950s, when the CIA created much of the demand/supply of LSD and opiates as part of its failed drug experiments, to the Nixon-Reagan-Bush anti-drug hysteria that doused much fuel on the flames, to the Iran Contra scandal that saw the DEA in direct conflict with the CIA's drug smuggling, to America's support of the Taliban who flooded the world with cheap heroin, down to the present-day drug cartel turf wars and massive toll in human lives, the story of Amerca's misguided War on Drugs and mockery of the rule of law is told by the movie in gripping, journalistic fashion.
The lesson is clear: disastrous unintended consequences can result from the best of intentions if plans are not thought out carefully, with full consideration of the country as a whole. By being overly focused on eradicating certain pests, you could burn your own house or country to the ground as you wage war against these "enemies of the people" - especially when these enemies happen to be your own people!
Unfortunately, America has a long history of short-sighted, fragmentary thinking, with "war" being almost universally adopted as a quick and lazy solution to complex problems, as the "wars" on drugs, poverty, hunger, crime, terrorism, Covid-19, etc. etc. have shown. But as this film notes: "There's a principle at work here... one thing that really makes a state grow and thrive is having a war".
The trouble is, the drug war cannot be won. For every top drug lord taken down by the DEA, a hundred people are willing to take his place. For (again from the film) "unequivocally, rewards always outweigh the risks in drug trafficking".