Several drug policies in the United States have been implemented in a move to try and eradicate drugs out of the streets and schools due to their negative effects on the lives of users and family members. The involvement of drugs in the country has been for a long time and the fight to control the vice continues where several government agencies have been mandated with ensuring that the society is free of illicit substances and drugs. Drug abuse has been a menace in the world and there is need to find lasting solution to this problem that affects the weak and the mighty in the society. This paper seeks to investigate how drug policy influences the behavior of drug users in the American society and find the origin of this problem that has affected the country for so long.
A drug can be defined as a substance which is known to have medicinal, performance enhancement and intoxicating effects on the body of an individual. When a drug is taken or consumed it at times affect the nervous system of an individual and it is not considered as food or contain any food benefits on the body of an individual. When a person uses a drug for the wrong reason this is considered drug abuse as it leads to deterioration of the functions of the body in the named individual. There are different types of drugs that human beings across the globe have access to and depending on the drug control in a given country the types may vary in number and the quantity. Recreational drugs contain chemical substances that affect the central nervous system and how its functions. The recreational drugs may include opioids and hallucinogens and affect the normal function of the central nervous system. Some drugs have medicinal functions that cure or prevent ailments in the body of an individual. Other types of drugs are addictive when consumed by an individual and thus lead to habituation tendencies on the body of the individual (Miller, 2013).
The Federal drug policy of the United States has been in operation for a long time since its inception in the 1914 up to now. Drug abuse is a common social problem among many societies in the world today and the government through various agencies has tried to control the use and sale of drugs in their respective jurisdiction. The American society has experienced a rise in drug usage since the beginning of prohibition in the 1920. When the drug policy was initiated it has seen a growing increase in the number of drug users in the country. Several drugs have experienced an rise in their usage in the country despite the tough policy on drug use. These dugs include heroin, marijuana, cocaine and opium on the streets of major American cities and towns. This social degradation has been attributed to a growing demand among youths and the older generation for the use of such drugs. The war on drug usage in the American society has led to a government intervention in a move to curb this growing trend among the citizens which economist cite is a social degradation which has dire consequences on the economy of the country (Faupel, Horowitz & Weaver, 2004). The extent of drug abuse continues to increase despite various government initiatives to curb this social behavior in the country. This paper seeks to investigate how drug policy drive behaviors related to illicit drug use in the American society.
History of Drug use in the American society
The usage of drugs in the American society goes way back in the 1900 when emergence of drug related cases arose and led to the establishment of the Harrison Act I 1914 which was to prohibit the use of drugs in the country. Several government administrations has tried to curb this menace on the American society but with less success and jailing of several people who serve jail terms in the country. The legal system has tried to incorporate the different drug related amendments in the country. The increase in drug usage continues to rise as more people engage in the vice. During the Harrison Act of 1914 the use of opium decreased as the Act took effect in many States in the country. Changing economic times has led to shift of usage of drugs in America where some states have passed laws to curb this social vice on the American soil. Several drug policies have been formulated to try and find a lasting solution to the growing trend of drug abuse and usage in the country. Several state laws have been passed that seek to influence the usage of illicit drugs in the society and protect the public image due to the worse effects of the drugs on people and the economic strength of the youths and the older generation.
The rising number of drug users in the country is worrying various government agencies and this has prompted to a country wide campaign against drug usage and sale. The drug policy in the country has included several kinds of drugs as illegal and thus guarantees an arrest when one is found using them in the country. The drug policy has tried to prohibit several kinds of drugs and other substances that have been associated with hallucinations and affects the central nervous system. Since the prohibition of alcohol in the 1920s the country’s drug laws have revolved around this concept that has sought to protect the society from abuse of the drug. Despite the huge amount set out by the government to prohibit drug usage in the country, the abuse of drugs continues to rise and lead to social degradation as a result of a failed mission. Several states in the country has tried to set a new goal in drug policy which is aimed at reducing the harmful effects of drug abuse and provide information to people to try and help them refrain from drug usage and abuse. The drug involvement in major cities in America has been on the rise but various authorities are trying to find the cause for this rising trend and try to find a lasting solution to this menace that has influenced economic development in the country (Faupel, Horowitz & Weaver, 2004).
Drug policy in the United States
Drug policy in America has been a champion for behavior change in the country. The American drug law has been in application for a long period of time as several states continue to make amendments to the law. The drug policy is meant to help curb the usage of drugs in the society while at eh same advocating for responsible behavior among the different age groups in the country. The use of drugs in the country has been influenced by a changing behavioral trend among the growing population and the extents of external influence mainly from Mexico and other neighboring countries. The drug menace has affected most sectors of the economy in various states as viewed by the amount of money used to purchase drugs from traffickers and peddlers. The abuse of drugs in the country has always taken a different path as it has continued to increase in the number of users and the type of drug. Some drugs which are normally used has very dire health consequences on the body of the user and they lender most of the un-productive and this strain the government revenue and taxation. There is thus a need to device new means of dealing with this menace in the country as it has continued to be a major let down in terms of economic and social development. Due to the country location on the northern America continent it neighbors some drug producing counties like Mexico, Peru and Nicaragua which have been unable to manage their drug menace and this has led to a lot of drug finding its way into the United States (Miller, 2013).
Prohibition of drug in the United States is mostly done through religious law and sumptuary legislation which have been influenced by the societal need to control the use of drugs in the country. Regulation of drugs in the country from the street to schools is a major issue that requires the cooperation of several stakeholders from law enforces to government agencies. The extent of drug usage and the change in behavior are some of the concerns of the government in its fight against this menace that can bring a government operation to a halt. Thus the control of drug related behaviors should be encouraged as they set the precedent for future cases that may be related to drug usage in a country. The National drug policy has set out a clear framework that seeks to find the relevant information in terms of drug usage in the country and the effects it has on various aspects in the society (Miller, 2013). There is an urgent need to find a lasting solution to this societal need and prevents more damage that are associated with drug abuse in the country.
The prohibition of drugs has been emphasized by several religions in the country for example alcohol is prohibited under Islam Law. Religion is being used by some aspects of drug control agencies in the country to advocate for behavior change among its followers as the religion is one of the aspects in a society that brings people together and propagate for responsible behavior. Through definition of drugs in the country the citizens are able to identify harmful substance and try and evade them well in advance. Passing information to various people of different races and age has been instrumental in changing the growing trend of drug related behavior that taints the society and slows economic growth. The United States Drug Enforcement administration is an institution that has acquired wide knowledge and training in dealing with drug related issues in the streets and schools. The organization has an armed response unit that has been responsible in arresting of drug traffickers and forwarding them to the judicial system which instead ensures that they are tried and jailed when found guilty. International cooperation is crucial in the fight against drug abuse in the world today from the producers to the consumers. The fight against drug abuse requires a large amount of money to carry out its operations with efficiency. There is a dire need to control the harmful effect of drug usage in the society as the society seems to be suffering in terms of development and an increasing crime rate and murder. In the past the usage of drugs was viewed as an informal settlement characteristics but it has evolved to the posh estates in the country. There is thus a need to inform the society on the deteriorating effects of drug usage in a country in a move to curb some societal vices like violence, prostitution and murder (American Psychiatric Association., & American Psychiatric Association. (2013).
Finding and discussion
Another worrying trend in the usage of illicit substances among citizens in the American society is the rising number of drug users among school going children. This has led to a declining quality of the education sector as many students are involved in the trafficking and abuse of drugs. Cases of violence among students are on the rise and despite the government initiative to control this vice it continues to rise. There was an increase in the number of drug users under this age group where an increase of 9.1 % from the previous year was recorded in the country. This rising trend has worried school authority and education stakeholders in the country as the quality of education continues to decline as the number of drug users in schools continue to rise. If this high number is not controlled it will spillover to other sectors of the economy and lead to a decline in economic development and growth as a lot of money is used to purchase drugs and other illicit substances. The year 2012 saw an increasing number of alcohol users in the country which also contributed to a rise in the number of road accidents in many states in the country. Despite the strong prohibition of drug while driving the number of drivers arrested under the influence continued to rise.
There are consequences of drug usage that affect an individual and the society at large. These harmful effects drive the economy down as more money is used on purchase of drugs rather than other economic activities. The abuse of drugs is directly related to the rising number of crimes in major cities in the country. The high increase in crime rates is being facilitated by gun related violence among gang members and this makes it difficult for the authority to control the usage of drugs. This societal vice continues to increase when the fight is being led by one authority and this calls for all the stakeholders to join in the fight to control this vice. Drug trafficking is a serious criminal offence and it involves a laid out network for transport and delivery of drugs from one city to another without the attention of drug agencies in the country. The government uses lot of money in the fight against drug usage through border patrol and airport security but this is not enough to curb this menace that has been in existences for over a hundred years on the American society (Rosner, 2013).
The number of alcohol users in the country as per the year 2012 was at 52.1% at the age of twelve years and older. This survey revealed a growing trend in the number of alcohol users in the country which translates to about 135.5 million people under this age group in the country. Heavy drinkers in the country have also been on the rise in recent years and this is leading to a lot degradation of family values in the country where underage drinking still continues to rise. Addiction to alcohol is known to have very severe effects on the life of an individual and it has increased the number of people suffering from sedentary diseases or aliments in the country. This rising trends has caused a repo-effect on the country’s ability to control alcohol abuse and this has prompted a new strategy by the government to curb this behavior in the country. Several initiatives which include; raising awareness on the effects of drugs and alcohol abuse among students is being carried out through the mass media and incorporating it in the education system. Other initiatives include legislation laws that seek to curb the drug menace through setting up a drug unit that helps to capture drug traffickers and sellers in the street while advocating for responsible behavior among the youths and the older generation. Sporting activities have for a long time being used to help rehabilitate youths from notorious neighborhoods that have undergone the drug trap and encourage them to be responsible citizens in the country (Singer & Page, 2013).
The American drug policy has been in existence for a long time and has made major steps in trying to curb the usage of illicit substances and drugs among its citizens. Despite the strides made by the national drug control against drug abuse and usage in the country the number of users are still high. This has prompted the relevant authority to discuss ways through which a clear drug control strategy can be applied to help this growing behavior. The harmful effect of drugs on the country goes beyond individuals as the society also suffers as a result. Drug usage has detrimental results on the economy of a given region as it involves slow economic development and a rise in crime rates which promotes violence and insecurity. Usage of drugs among school students lowers the quality of education in the country as the behavior of student’s changes as a result of influence by the drugs. The American drug policy has tried to safeguard the society from vices that are associated with drug abuse which has taken measures to prohibit consumption and sale of several drugs in the society. Psychologist recommends that a country should have a clear framework to deal with drug related incidences which are some of the emerging trends among many developing and developed nations in the world. The involvement of the American society to usage of illicit substances has been on the rise in recent years and this has worried the government, school administrators and other economic stakeholders. Deteriorating behavioral characteristics among citizens are on the rise due to engagement in drug related cases which has led to break up of families and an increasing poverty index among citizens in the country.
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Faupel, C. E., Horowitz, A. M., & Weaver, G. S. (2004). The sociology of American drug use. Boston, Mass: McGraw-Hill Higher Education.
Miller, P. M. (2013). Principles of addiction: Comprehensive addictive behaviors and disorders. Amsterdam: Elsevier Science.
Rosner, R. (2013). Clinical handbook of adolescent addiction. Chichester, West Sussex: Wiley-Blackwell.
Singer, M., & Page, J. B. (2013). The social value of drug addicts: Uses of the useless.