A drug can be described as a chemical substance that influences how an individual’s body and mind works (Rees 2005 p.
5). It is uncommon today to hear the word drugs on televisions and read them in magazines. Drugs are virtually everywhere and there is continual development of these drugs. They are used by people for various reasons ranging from medicinal to recreational purposes. Drugs that are taken as medicines include antibiotics and penicillin among others. However some drugs are illegal. They include: cocaine, ecstasy, marijuana, cannabis, heroin, crack, methamphetamines, LSD (acid), alcohol and magic mushrooms.
These illegal drugs are also known as recreational drugs and many are gotten from plants growth in various parts of the world. Amphetamines are drugs that can be inhaled, or eaten in form of tables. Heroin is smoked or taken as an injection. Marijuana on the other hand consists of a brown resin. It is mostly smoked in cigarettes and it can also be eaten (Rees 2005 p. 30). Abuse of drug use is known as drug addiction. When a person constantly takes these illegal drugs for recreational purposes this addiction develops as a process and not instantly.
Addiction to drugs affects individuals of multicultural, geographically diverse, across gender and racial classes. The initial steps are very moderate but their increased use results to a state of life threatening situation. Withdrawals are hardly achieved as the issue becomes of medical concern. Those who abuse drugs have their various reasons. They argue that drugs help them alleviate stress, boosts their morale and confidence, makes them feel good about themselves among many other things. Drug abuse has various adverse effects.
Some of the effects include rises in blood pressure, vomiting, impairs memory and judgment capability of an individual. Other effects are poor decision making, accidents, impaired health and poor relationships. The consequences of these are physical, psychological and emotional instability on the drug abuser. The individual hence suffers from depression (Rick 2005 p30) A large number of people who abuse drugs decide to quit at some point but this is often difficult since once a person is addicted to drugs, it is almost impossible to avoid taking them as they mostly experience withdrawal symptoms.
The symptoms are for instance body aches, sweating, and flu in the case of heroin. Nicotine on the other hand results to fatigue and premature aging affecting the skin, body shape and body weight. On the other hand, fast withdrawals could result to dangerous impacts. For instance tranquilizers could be dangerous resulting in high blood pressure, vomiting, temperature and stomach cramps (Rees 2005 p. 42) Our War on Drugs The war on drugs is a move undertaken by the United States including help from other participating countries whose priority is to eliminate trade in illegal drugs.
It traces its origin way back in 1880 where there was a memorandum of understanding between United States and China to prohibit trade in opium between the two countries (http://www. nh-dwi. com/caip-213. htm). Today in America, mostly the youth experiment with these illegal drugs and they do it for various reasons. Some do it for recreational purposes whereas others are simply addicts as they cannot do without them. The United States government and the general public have become concerned about drug abuse and addiction.
The government became more concerned about the issue in the 1960s when the youth mostly college students protested against the Vietnam war and in the 1960s and 1970s they began using licit and illicit drugs on a large scale for the first time (Fleckenstein Hanson & Venturelli 2005 p. 125). As a starting point the United States government introduced new strategies for tackling this issue of drug use and abuse. These strategies include demand reduction, inoculation, supply reduction, interdiction and drug courts. The use of drug courts has become a common strategy.
The supply reduction is a strategy aimed at reducing and controlling supply of illegal drugs. Demand reduction aims at reducing the individuals’ tendencies to abuse drugs especially the youth. It places emphasis on reforming behaviors. Inoculation on the other hand attempts to protect drug users by informing them on their responsibilities. Drug courts on the other hand integrate incentives, sanctions, treatment and ensure that nonviolent drug addicts are placed in rehabilitation programs.
Lastly interdiction is a policy aimed at stopping the supply of these illicit drugs (Fleckenstein, Hanson & Venturelli, 2005 p. 25). In the United States of America, there are quite a number of law enforcements Acts on drugs that have been established to control drug abuse. They include: Harrison Acts that looks into the production, sale, importation and distribution of opium. The other Act is the Narcotic Drug Import and Export Act aimed at alleviating use of narcotics but it is exceptional for medicinal and other legitimate use. Heroin Act of 1924 prohibited the manufacturing of drugs. The Marijuana Tax Act also controlled the production, sale and distribution of marijuana.
The Opium Pappy Control Act restricted the cultivation of opium poppies in the United States except if one is licensed to do so. Narcotics control act on the other hand intended to establish suffer penalties to individuals who broke the marijuana or narcotics laws. Drug Abuse Control Amendments (DACA) was established to adopt stuff controls over barbiturates, amphetamines, LSD among others moreover; the Narcotic Addict Rehabilitation Act (NARA) was established to rehabilitate drug addicts in the three programs that is voluntary, sentencing to death addicts who are convicted and the pretrial civil commitment.
In 1988, the Anti-Drug Abuse Act introduced the office of National Drug Control to oversee policies on research controlling drug abuse. Lastly the 2000 Drug Addiction Treatment Act gave a go ahead to physicians to prescribe narcotics for the treatment of oploid addiction (Fleckenstein, Hanson & Venturelli, 2005 p. 135). The white House National Drug Control Strategy in 2006 declared it stand and wish to balance the reduction in supply and demand of illegal drugs in the United States of America. It also outlined programs intended to curb abuse of drugs.
In the same year, the National Drug Control Strategy pointed out its aim of supporting random student testing, intervention, screening, prevention, treatment and support for drug courts examining methamphetamines and making the United States southwest border secure (uninfo. state. gov/xarchives/display. gtm/? p. ). Another regulatory law enforcement body concerning drug abuse in the United States is the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Its mission is to control drugs and provide laws and regulations regarding drug abuse. The National Drug control Strategy established a ten year plan to reduce drug abuse.
It also aims at reducing America’s demand for drugs by offering treatment and supply through law enactments (http://www. usembassy-mexico. gov/bbfbfdossier-combDrogas. htm). The above drug laws indiscriminate use of drugs and it is through the legislation that licit and illicit drugs are determined. The government of the United States tries to meet public needs and control pressure through these rules and regulations. Due to the advancement in technology in today’s society, trained experts and government agencies provide information and protection on drug abuse.
Are we winning the war on drugs? In my opinion, I do not believe that we are winning the war on drugs. I have based my judgment according to various reasons. Since the prohibition of drug abuse in 1937 in the United States of America; marijuana once considered for Mexican immigrants has been actively used by 20-37% of the youth in the United States. The same applies to the use of cocaine, ecstasy and methamphetamines (World Drug Report, 2000). The continual trade in drugs is also another factor that has severely affected efforts by the government to prevent drug abuse and addiction.
The United States of America is largely affected more so because of its population and largest budget that focuses on enforcement. President George W. Bush in February 2002 established a National Drug Control Strategy based on the Principles of stopping the usage of drugs, disrupting the market and curing America’s drug addicts (Policy and Program Development, 2002). Evidence also shows that the criminal law in the United States has had only small success in preventing drug abuse. It is approximated that in 2004, 39% of students in the 12th grade used an illicit-drug, 34% was marijuana, cocaine 5% and LSD 2%.
Also, those aged 12 and above who use illegal drugs as estimated by National Survey is 19. 5 million in the United States (Fleckenstein, Hanson & Venturelli, 2005 p. 140). In the United States, family structures have changed considerably having half of all women working outside home and the divorce rate is quite high. This has affected the nurturing of children by all these single parents.
Family and friends have also contributed to the increasing drug abuses since they are ready to bail out and offer excuses for those who have been convicted (Fleckenstein, Hanson & Venturelli, 2005 p. 40). To conclude, it is therefore evident that the war on drugs is still far from being over. It is therefore essential that the society works hard to stop abuse of drugs which is causing deaths on a massive scale. It is essential for individuals to know that the effects of drugs on the social life, economic life, emotional and spiritual life are adverse. The extreme case of addiction to these drugs is the exposure of the individual person to death.