Drug Abuse Essay, Research Paper
There are several aspects of drug abuse that should be recognized as problems created by a society s denial, others however, are created by the simple-minded individuals that choose this path to self-corruption and/or extortion. In the following you will find several reasons why this growing epidemic has gotten out of control and how we could have prevented these events. Now that the problem has arrived, we need to learn the necessary steps to show future generations how to battle this menace and how not to make the same mistakes. We will also be looking at how this type of abuse has filtered its way into our day to day lives, from people we come in contact with to celebrities our children idolize in the media.
One of the first points that needs to be established is that drugs have been illegal in this country since only 1914. Before then, the use of narcotics such as cocaine and heroin or much simpler and less harmful drugs like marijuana and opium were mostly done by immigrants to battle fatigue and hunger. The first laws prohibiting drugs were racist in origin-to prevent Chinese laborers from using opium and to prevent blacks and Hispanics from using cocaine and marijuana (Torr 141). Eventhough the crime rate and the consumption were very insignificant at this time, the end result of this unjust action would be the mockery of the prohibition era. In the 1920 s, alcohol was made illegal by Prohibition. The result: Organized Crime. Criminals jumped at the chance to supply the demand for liquor. The streets became battlegrounds. The criminals bought off law enforcement and judges. Adulterated booze blinded and killed people (Torr 140). Although the way to prevent this situation would have been to introduce occasional drug use as something of the norm, at this point the only way to address this growing problem is with the undying and very expensive battle of the anti-drug campaign supported by various society and government leaders. The U.S. effort at home consumes the overwhelming majority of federal funds and, of course, all the monies spent by state, local, and private groups. This totals more than $30,000 million annually (Torr 110). This is not going to stop or completely do away with the situation, but implementing mandatory teachings of programs such as D.A.R.E into our school system will attempt the discouragement of teen drug abuse in its earliest stages.
Another strategy to approach the war against drugs is to try to rehabilitate the current user; weather this individual is a self-committed or a prison based treatment patient the necessary steps need to be taken to try to get these citizens back on the right track. In some cities, such as Seattle the heroin addiction among the young is so high they have a needle exchange program to prevent the spreading of diseases such as AIDS or Herpes. These types of programs in conjunction with rehabilitation or detoxification centers have shown a great decrease in numbers for the spreading of these diseases. A study by the National Academy of Sciences (Institute of Medicine) demonstrated that treatment was effective in reducing criminal activity and emergency room visits In addition, hardcore drug users frequently are vectors for the spread of infectious diseases such as hepatitis, tuberculosis, and HIV (Tower Oliver 84). Normally indirect issues are far more expensive than circumstances associated with drug addiction. This however, is also caused by the type of assistance that this country provides for less fortunate individuals. The research reveals that the societal costs of untreated addiction (e.g. violence, crime, poor health, and family breakup) far exceed the costs of providing treatment (Torr 84).
Among issues that politicians and professionals discuss are the possibilities of legalizing drugs. This might sound outrageous at first, but lets think about the concept of legalizing or at least decriminalizing drugs.
Lower crime rate. As stated in the beginning, before substances were made illegal the crime and addiction rate were minimal, and only after the lift of the alcohol Prohibition of the late 1920 s did these numbers actually rise. What proof do we have that by defusing the great demand for the import of illegal drugs, or at least minimizing the cost, the numbers of crimes would not decrease? This would mean less drug deals gone bad and resulting in shoot outs, less addicts robbing or committing crimes to support their habits, less gang warfare in the mayor cities over territorial control. According to a study by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, one out of every three thefts are committed by people seeking drug money (Abadinsky 148).
More room in our jails for harsher criminals. While the government is fighting the war against drugs the more serious offenders such as murderers and rapists are getting much less time in prison for their crimes. In 1980, the United States had 330,000 people in jail; today, it s well over a million, and drug offenders account for 46 percent of that increase It takes more than $30,000 per year to keep someone in jail (Abadinsky 150).
So as you can see the aspects of legalizing or decriminalizing drugs would have its pros as well as the normal cons.
One more issue I will like to address would be the fact that our children idolize the same star athletes and entertainers we see everyday getting caught or being convicted from drug related situations. Whether they play in professional leagues, college and high school events, or Olympic and other world-level competitions, more and more athletes face a personal decision about drugs. Should they use drugs or should they stay clean? (Galas 6). More and more of our sons and daughters are following the footsteps of these so-called idols . In most cases where they see young talents dying from drug related instances, such as Actor River Phoenix in 1993, or singer Kurt Kobain, in 1994, the tendency towards mocking the actions of these is certainly there.
In conclusion I would simply like to add that if we could have prevented the circumstances in which we find ourselves today by looking at the buying, selling, and consuming as a casual but not moral acts we wouldn t be in a never ending and very costly battle. We now find ourselves in a situation that as far as I can see the only way out would be to gradually go back to allowing it into our normal standards of living.