The war on drugs has been raging for over twenty years, the social moral implications are debatable however what is not debatable is the bias treatment of black Americans in the war on drugs.. In correlation to their number in population, there are a disproportionate amount that are arrested for drug offences, with a higher rate of conviction and in sentencing than that of white offenders.
White people are left relatively untouched by the war on drugs compared to that of the black community, supporters of this war on drugs don’t see any race discrimination what so ever, they want to make it clear that they do not in any way want to harm black people. In fact law enforcement to do with limiting drug activity is seen as a way to protect minority communities from drug violence and addiction.
“The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) shows the overall rate of current illicit drug use in the United States rose from 8.0 percent of the population age 12 and older in 2008 to 8.7 percent in 2009. This rise was driven in large part by increases in marijuana use”
reported H. Westley Clark, M.D., J.D., M.P.H., Director of SAMHSA’s Center for Substance Abuse Treatment.
The differences in law and punishment between those caught in possession of drugs and those who are supplying drugs is relative to its quantity and the class of the drugs. The drugs found in your possession will be seized and destroyed. If you are in possession of a large amount you will be charged with possession with intent to supply which is a lot more serious.
Although if you’re under the age of 18 found with a class C drug you’ll most likely receive a warning on the other hand over 18’s found in possession could face sentencing.
According to Paul J. Goldstein there are three types of associations between violent crime and alcohol and illicit drugs these three forms are as follows; psychopharmacological, economic compulsive, and systemic.
The Psychopharmacological model basically entails violent crimes committed in a different short term mental state caused by the taking of drugs and/or alcohol. It’s possibly for people who have taken drugs to become paranoid, irritable, violent, unpredictable and completely irrational, in the same way alcohol lowers inhibitions and slows cognitive processes generally bringing out the worst in people. Violence is a common occurrence when people are drinking heavily or taking drugs.
Kolb insinuates that the link between drugs and crime is tenuous, and asserts that if all offenders were addicts and were in constant supply of said drugs there probably wouldn’t be much crime at all. So in a nutshell what he’s saying is people don’t usually commit crimes on drugs they commit crimes for drugs, so the drug itself is not fuelling said crime but the withdrawal from the drug. So if they had a constant supply they wouldn’t need to commit crimes violent or otherwise (Kolb,1925:78).
This leads on nicely to the next link between drugs and violent crime which is the Economic Compulsive Model, which details that as Kolb stipulated, the drugs themselves do not cause violent crime but the need for said drugs. The crime is committed purely to gain funds to support this drug habit, to reiterate; the drugs do not cause the violence in this case but the lack there of.
The third model is the Systemic; Systemic violence, is violence carried out in the everyday goings on of the drug trade, such as gang disputes, drug thefts, assassinations between drug cartels. These are the violent crimes that are intrinsic of the drug industry simply because it’s illegal.
The social conflict theory when it pertains to the drug industry is the heat created between rival groups but most importantly the police, through the process of social change. Why do drug dealers exist? Drug dealers exist because people want to take drugs, just like bars exist because people want alcohol.
In theory in a supply and demand culture drugs should be available to the public as a lot of them are no more harmful than alcohol or cigarettes but they are prohibited because they’re harmful. The question is though; are they prohibited because they’re harmful or are they harmful because they’re prohibited? Drugs like crystal meth used to be sold over the county in pharmacies for years until it was banned, marijuana has been legalized in many countries including Canada for a brief period of time. In theory if government regulated drugs like this could be legalized and made safer and completely put drug cartels out of business.
In theory the conflict arises between the police and the drug cartels because the police are standing in the way of supply and demand, something that is a logical conclusion and contributed to the defeat of prohibition in America.
In conclusion I see no reason why drugs are illegal and alcohol isn’t as their effects are more or less similar, and in relation to its legality, there is no criminal suppliers of alcohol. If drugs were legalized the majority of criminal gangs would likely not exist.
Harper, N. (2009) Journeys into Justice.
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Schmalleger, F. (2012). Criminology today: An integrative introduction (6th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Samsha news (2010) New Survey Data Show Drug Use Rising
Wincup, E. (2003) Youth homelessness and substance use: report to the drugs and alcohol
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