Sure, Breaking Bad is fiction. But the real drug war can often be darker, more twisted, more corrupting, and more violent than the show. Still, while the show is in the national spotlight for the next couple months, it's helpful to remind the show's fans of the laws that make all the violence possible.
Meth is often one of those drugs that even critics of the drug war have a hard time conceiving of ever legalizing. But up until 1970, it was perfectly legal. And yet somehow, society hadn't come to a screeching halt. The moment it was prohibited (or more accurately, controlled), smuggling meth immediately became a source of revenue for criminal syndicates, notably motorcycle gangs.
As with most other illicit drugs, prohibition is also to blame for the increased potency and addictiveness of meth today. Remember, nobody drinks bathtub gin anymore.
But maybe we shouldn't be too hard on the drug war. I mean, it made Walter White and Jesse Pinkman rich. And it gave Hank Schrader a nice house and and an upper middle class lifestyle, though it did leave him with a bit of a limp.