Drug Abuse Essay, Research Paper
Drug Abuse: Cracking Down On Those Who Use
An estimated 14.8 million Americans were current users of illegal drugs in 1999, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics.(?Highlights?) Drugs have been a problem in America for many years. There have been many proposals on how to reduce the problem, none of which have had much success. Drugs are easily available to almost anyone who wants them. Obviously it is very hard to stop drugs from getting into the U.S., or to stop the production. That would take a lot of time and money, and could not completely get rid of the problem.
My proposition is to crack down on the users, and lesson the urge to do drugs. I do think drug education is important, but it?s not fixing the problem. I also think treatment can be effective to those who are willing, which aren?t many. Therefore I feel the government?s time and money should be spent on cracking down harder on users. Through my research I found many reasons to support my claim.
According to the ?Federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services?, $82.2 billion dollars were spent on treatment for mental illness and the abuse of alcohol and illegal drugs.(?Principles?) Much of that was wasted, because we obviously still have a major problem.
Some people claim that addicts need special treatment and should not be housed with violent inmates, they should be put in rehabilitation (rehab) or treatment centers. However, although many drug users are not violent criminals when they start to use, the need for their ?fix? can cause them to commit violent crimes. Many addicts will do anything for their drugs. The Bureau of Justice Statistics showed that an estimated 16% of convicted inmates committed their offense to get money for drugs.(?Highlights?) Also, the influence of narcotics causes people to do things they wouldn?t normally do and takes them out of their normal state of mind. After all, that is the main purpose of any illegal drug. They take people away from actuality and make it difficult or impossible to think clearly. This shows the relationship to crime when an estimated 38% of convicted prisoners were under the influence of drugs at the time of the offense.(?Drug?) All of these effects of drugs on people are reasons to support my claim that drugs can cause people to commit crimes that they would not normally be capable of, if sober.
I feel if we send first time drug offenders to jail, until they get rehabilitated, the urge to use will diminish. Also, the chance that they will commit a more serious crime won?t be as high if they are away from drugs for an extended period of time. If for some reason the person goes back to using drugs, the penalty would be much more severe.
I?m not saying by sending an addict to prison, they have no access to drugs. A study by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, showed that 10% of inmates tested positive for drugs.(?Drug?) However, the same study also showed that 66% of all inmates were users of illegal drugs prior to admission to prison. Therefore of those 66% prior addicts, about 90% were not using drugs, or didn?t have access to drugs in jail. The National Institute on Drug Abuse stated that treatment reduces drug use by about 40%. So, let?s say someone was convicted of drug abuse, and the judge had to choose the best option to get this person rehabilitated. If he sends him to jail, there is about twice as high of a chance he won?t use drugs, than if he sends him to get treatment.
I realize addiction is a complicated problem that requires time and help. I feel by breaking the law users don?t deserve special, caring treatment. They knew they were breaking the law before they took the drug, so they need to be treated and punished at the same time. Many people don?t think about the consequences when they use drugs. A little time spent in jail, and hopefully the next time the opportunity is there, they will be more worried about the severe punishment they will get, rather than the high they will get.
Drug Related Crime Statistics. 1999. Bureau of Justice Statistics.
19 Nov. 2000 www.ncjrs.org
Highlights From the Latest OAS Report. 1999. Uniform Facility Data
Set Survey. 19 Nov. 2000 http://www.drugabusestatistics.gov
Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research-Based Guide.
July 2000. National Institute on Drug Abuse. 19 Nov. 2000