Document Type

Capstone Project (Open Access)

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)


Humanities & Communication

First Advisor

Debian Marty


The War on Drugs campaign was a political movement created in 1971 with the initial goal of eradicating the production, distribution, and use of illegal drugs for the purpose of reducing the illegal drug trade on American soil. In the near fifty years since its initial implementation, the drug war has had disastrous impacts on citizens from the result of shifting the public perspective of drugs from a public health issue to a nationally political one. Polices and laws created during this period with the intent of targeting drug users have instead created an environment of aggressive policing tactics and police misconduct, which has had a high impact on black communities during the drug era. Issues of police brutality, racial profiling, and unfair policing tactics have helped to further fuel feelings of distrust between black communities and police officers, and have severely impacted the livelihoods of many. This essay will examine a brief history of the relationship between the black community and police, as well as the origin of law enforcement in the United States. Then, I will examine a brief history of the War on Drugs, in addition to some of the policies and laws implemented that have allowed for the militarization and use of excessive force of police officers around the country. It will also observe the effects the drug war has had on members of the black community, such as the relationship dynamic between police officers and civilians and the effects of mass incarceration within the community. Lastly, I will examine the proposals to the reformation of police abuse of power by the Black Lives Matter movement, and determine whether they are categorized under the helping, fixing, serving model instituted by author Rachel Naomi Remen.