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The Impact of Drug Use on Society, Essay Example

Pages: 3

Words: 712

Essay

Every society and civilization has been affected by drug use (Hanson & Fleckenstein 2006). Because heavy drug use can bring devastation to communities and families, law enforcement works to combat drug traffickers in all parts of the world. Drug trafficking now has heavy penalties, ranging from five to ten years in prison to life sentences. Health safety concerns are also an issue considering that needles carry diseases. Many countries have set up needle exchange programs to combat this issue. Through these programs people can obtain new, safe hypodermic needles at little to no cost. The program is generally a social policy with the intention of harm reduction. It addresses the issue of unsanitary needles and contracting diseases from their use. The needle exchange program provides injecting drug users with a cleaner needle with very little, or no cost at all. It is called the needle “exchange” program because some areas require that a used needle is to be exchanged for a new one. All public schools in the United States have a zero tolerance policy for drugs to ensure that students will do better in school. This policy exists in school institutions and it is for the punishment of students who have committed any type of infraction against a rule which can be from suspension to expulsion. It goes without regards to how the act was committed; whether it was an accident, a mistake, negligence or anything else, the school will still punish the student for the action, no questions asked. Unfortunately, these laws are not perfect and come with many devastating effects, especially in the United States. While hard substances were banned in the early part of the 20th century, softer substances such as pot were banned during the mid-20th century, mostly due to heavy teenage drug use (Newcomb 1988) and a fear from certain industries that they would no longer be necessary, such as the paper industry. Since these initial bans, several new laws have been enacted that toughen the punishment on drug traffickers as well as drug users (Kohler-Hausmann 2010).  However, despite the United States having the toughest laws on drugs in the Western world, the United States is one of the number one consumers of drugs in the entire world. These startling statistics have led many to question the efficacy of our current drug laws (Walker 1994). There is currently a huge debate on whether soft substances such as pot should be legal as it is in some other Western countries such as the Netherlands. Some argue that the laws against personal marijuana use are harmful because they target the poor and underprivileged; who are often heavy marijuana users. While some people will call for the complete legalization of buying and selling marijuana, others call for the banning of buying and selling and for the legalization of growing this plant for personal use. Still, others argue that marijuana is a gateway drug and will lead to more drug use if it is legalized. However, there is a great deal of evidence to the contrary; for many Western countries have allowed marijuana to be legal for personal use and have seen their incarceration rates drop significantly. With the rising rates of drug trafficking, some countries have taken in their own right to abduct these criminal offenders, and placing them into trial in their own courts. Regardless, drug use does have a significant impact on society, usually negative, and this complex issue must be looked at from a variety of angles if any positive changes are to be implemented. In the meantime, those who work in the field of criminal justice must enforce the laws, regardless of their agreement with the morality of such laws.

References

Hanson, G., Venturelli, P., & Fleckenstein, A. (2006). Drugs and Society By Hanson, Venturelli, & Fleckenstein (9th, Ninth Edition) (9th ed.). Sudbury, MA: Jones&Bartlett.

Kohler-Hausmann, Julilly. “‘The Attila the Hun Law’: New York’s Rockefeller drug laws and the making of a punitive state.” Journal of Social History 44.1 (2010): 71+. Academic OneFile. Web. 20 Oct. 2010.

Newcomb, M., & Bentler, P. (1988). Impact of adolescent drug use and social support on problems of young adults: A longitudinal study. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 97(1), 1.

Walker, S. (1994). Sense and Nonsense About Crime and Drugs: A Policy Guide; Third Edition. Belmont, C.A.: N.A.

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