Perhaps the closest parallel to the "war on drugs" is the war on alcohol -- the Volstead Act of of 1919. Highlights from Wiki:
The three distinct purposes of the Act were:
1. to prohibit intoxicating beverages
2. to regulate the manufacture, sale, or transport of intoxicating liquor (but not consumption), and
3. to ensure an ample supply of alcohol and promote its use in scientific research and in the development of fuel, dye and other lawful industries and practices, such as religious rituals.
It provided further that "no person shall manufacture, sell, barter, transport, import, export, deliver, or furnish any intoxicating liquor except as authorized by this act." It did not specifically prohibit the use of intoxicating liquors.
In 1933, after this "experiment" proved to be an utter failure, leading to massive deaths caused by bootleggers and a growth in the mob for the purposes of providing this contraband, the government passed the the Twenty-first Amendment rendering the Volstead Act unconstitutional and restored control of alcohol to the states.
It was a tragic right-wing plan to control the masses and under the guise of protecting them, really caused more deaths and imposed more prison sentences for a low risk, non-violent crime -- drinking. By their restrictions, they generated an environment of death and destruction far greater than the booze itself.
Maybe we're about to smarten up on the current "war on drugs," specifically marijuana. With a number of states lessening their restrictions on usage, a few even allowing people to participate recreationally, sanity seems to be without our reach. The importance of this isn't so people can get high. It's important that our rights are being snatched from us with restrictions that have a disproportionate number of poor and minorities caught up in the government web.
Here's a short summation that's as concise and succinct as I've ever seen. It's worth a gander: