Drug addiction is a major public health issue in the United States, which affects the lives of several individuals across all races and ethnic groups. The abuse of drugs in various forms takes a tremendous toll on the society, which includes health care expenditures, lost earnings and costs associated with crime and accidents. With the virtually available unlimited sources, illegal drugs are readily available to the people. The United States is the biggest market of illegal drugs in the world, which makes huge profits through organized criminal groups, gangs and terrorists. Criminal investigations through conventional investigative techniques play a major role in the identification of drug abuse. The six major classes of abused drugs are depressants, cannabiniods, opioids or narcotics, stimulants and hallucinogens . Dissociative drugs, club drugs and other compounds also fall in the category of abused drugs. The use of these drugs has become the second leading cause of accidental deaths and crime incidents.
Depressants include tobacco, alcohol, tranquilizers and barbiturates. Tobacco is one of the most common abused drugs, which affects the lives of individuals in an adverse way. Tobacco is available in the form of cigars, cigarettes, chewing gums, bidis and many other forms. The nicotine content found in the tobacco affects the health by increasing the rate of heart beat and blood pressure. It used over time; tobacco leads to cardiovascular and chronic lung disease, which has greater risks of transforming into cancer . The second major abused drug is alcohol found in the form of beer, liquor and wine. It affects nausea, sexual dysfunction, impaired memory and loss of consciousness. The use of alcohol also causes hypertension and increased risk of violence and injuries. If taken in overdose, alcohol leads to neurological deficits and depression. In pregnant women, the overuse of alcohol causes fetal damage.
The next class of abused drugs is cannabinoids, which includes marijuana and hashish. Marijuana has several names, such as ganja, reefer, sinsemilla, dope and blunt, and hashish, also known as hash oil, lamp and hash is the widely used illicit drug among the youth . The use of cannabiniods causes distorted sensory perception, psychosis, infections related to the respiratory tract, impaired balance, learning and memory. Mental decline and death are the ultimate consequences of cannabiniods. Another class of drugs known as opiods or narcotics is equally harmful as cannabiniods. Opioids include heroin and opium. Heroin has various names, such as Diacetylmorphine, brown sugar, China white and skunk. Opium, also called as Laudanum, black stuff and big O causes arrested breathing . The opioids lead to sedation, endocarditis, constipation, dizziness, nausea and impaired coordination.
Drugs such as cocaine, Methamphetamine and Amphetamine belong to the class of stimulants. The biological effects of stimulants include reduced appetite, violent and panic behavior, insomnia, nasal damage, dental issues and paranoia. Stimulants also cause weight loss and cardiovascular complications. Hallucinogens are another class of abused drugs, which includes Mescaline, Psilocybin and LSD, also known as Lysergic acid diethylamide. The common known names for hallucinogens are mesc, shrooms, peyote, blue heaven and blotter . This class of drugs causes hallucination by altering the state of feeling and perception. Over time, hallucinogens cause sleeplessness, impulsive behavior, nervousness, and numbness, loss of appetite and increase in the blood pressure and temperature of the body. Hallucinogens also cause rapid shifts in emotion.
The top priority of criminal investigation is the control of drug abuse and its related offenses. The investigation of drug abuse involves a variety of techniques, which are both reactive and proactive. The major part of criminal investigation focuses on drug informants who provide important information on the activities of drugs. Before convicting an individual, it is important to recognize a drug addict, which is possible through the use of test kits and reagents that provide valuable clues about drug abuse . The crime investigation officer, generally, patrol officer personnel stems the supply of drugs in a locality by discovering and arresting major wholesalers and suppliers of drugs. For example, trafficking for cocaine involves the marking networks of multiple interconnected delivery systems and overlapping pipelines, which represent middle-level wholesalers and suppliers that in turn connect to foreign suppliers .
In the case of stimulants, such as LSD and methodone, criminal investigators make the use of presumptive field testing to facilitate efficient and timely processing of illegal substance criminal charges. Federal, state and regional counterdrug resources play a major role in improving the efficiency and effectiveness of drug abuse. In the case of the use of marijuana, investigators must increase the use of aerial surveillance to identify marijuana plantations in national and state forests . Traditional and covert investigations conducted by the crime investigation personnel help to reduce the production and distribution and of marijuana. In the case of depressants, routine vehicle stops by the patrol officers assist in identifying the convicts. Fingerprints play a major role in identifying whether or not the convict is in the possession of drugs. In the perspective of law management, it is important to educate the public about the use of illicit drugs.
Brown, Michael F. Criminal Investigation: Law and Practice. Butterworth-Heineman, 2001.
"Commonly Abused Drugs Chart." March 2011. National Institute of Drug Abuse. 13 12 2014 <http://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/commonly-abused-drugs-charts/commonly-abused-drugs-chart>.