Vanderbilt Law Review

First Page



The illegal drug trade and its costs to society have grown exponentially in the past several years. Drug traffickers, both within the United States and abroad, have amassed incredible wealth trafficking illicit drugs while the United States, the world's leading consumer of those drugs,' has suffered drug related increases in lost productivity, insurance costs, and health care expenditures. As the impact of these problems has reached more Americans, popular support for increased enforcement efforts has grown. Politicians have successfully used the drug war as a get-tough-on-crime campaign message. Local communities have organized themselves to confront drug dealers and to attempt to reclaim neighborhood streets. Events that occurred while this Special Project was being written, such as the invasion of Panama and the drug summit in Colombia, and the public support they received illustrate the extent to which drug law enforcement has become a top priority.