Hundred Years of War: Continuing the Battle against Illegal Drugs
Drug abuse, far more than anything else, is one of the United States’ recurring problems - Hundred Years of War: Continuing the Battle against Illegal Drugs introduction. This major issue continues to challenge and threaten the country’s stable and dynamic social structures. Through the years, the massive use of illegal drugs has transformed into a disturbing pandemic that consistently destroys the lives of its respective victims. Aside from the victims per se, their relatives, as well as innocent individuals are also affected by the seemingly unstoppable growth of drug abuse. This is most especially true in drug-stricken areas wherein drug-related crimes often occur.
Although health-related concerns, are in so far, the biggest harm caused by illegal drugs, it cannot be denied that this particular problem is also detrimental to the country’s economic and social development. Relationships are ruined and the United States’ labor force directly suffers since addiction can relatively ruin one’s productive capabilities. Taking these aspects in total consideration, this discussion perceives the strong need of the American government to further increase the funds allocated for drug abuse prevention and elimination.
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The overt lack or insufficiency of financial means that are needed to support anti-drug campaigns, movements and projects may eventually lead to bigger problems such as an increase in crime and mortality rates; widespread unemployment; dysfunctional families and even the spread of infectious diseases to the rampant utilization of used syringes and needles. While some may readily question the viability of funding anti-drugs endeavors, one should also understand that drug abuse is never an ordinary problem. It requires utmost attention and direct action in order to eliminate the problem.
If the use of illegal drugs is not prevented or at least lessened, its respective consequences may further increase the government’s expenditures, without actually resolving the issue. It cannot be denied that majority of societal mishaps are highly attributed to illegal drugs. In such a case, it is recommended to address the root of the above-mentioned problems to generate better results and formulate more appropriate solutions. Examining the US Drug Scene According to the CIA Factbook, the United States is considered as one of the world’s leading “cocaine” patrons (CIA Factbook).
A large number of cocaine supplies are derived from both Mexico and Columbia (CIA Factbook). Therefore, it would not come as too much of a surprise if the country is also known for consuming a considerable amount of Columbian and Mexican heroine (CIA Factbook). As a matter of fact, Lusane and Desmond explained that in as early as 1986, it is estimated that “150 tons of cocaine” has already landed in the United States’ shore (80). In addition to that, the CIA reports show the country’s direct use of other illegal drugs such as ecstasy and methamphetamine (CIA Factbook). The data presented by CIA are both alarming and expected.
Alarming, since, the world’s most progressive and advanced nation cannot seem to find a permanent solution to this particular problem. On the other hand, the increasing consumption of abusive drugs, is nonetheless expected primarily because of the population’s high purchasing powers. In 1999, it is estimated that around 3. 2 million Americans were already addicted to illegal drugs (Spinella 199). Abusive substances have become the lifeline of many despite of their harmful effects. What is even more appalling is the fact that drug addiction increase is highly manifested in young individuals, whose age range from 18 to 25 (Spinella 199).
The increase was highly felt in 2002 (Spinella 199). However, take note that this data only pertain to cocaine and heroin abusers. Certainly, there are other individuals who are hooked in experimenting on other illegal substances. Spinella was cognizant of the fact that there were also instances wherein heroin and cocaine abuse decrease (199). However, Spinella explained that while heroin and cocaine use decline, other illegal drugs such as ecstasy, for example, was fast gaining popularity among many individuals (199).
In other words, it can be argued that drug abuse often goes through a cyclical pattern. The utilization of certain illegal substances may go through a phenomenal decrease, while others may soon found recognition in other states or regions. The same pattern is constantly experienced by American society. By the time 2003 came, reports indicated that individuals as young as 12 have had their share of stories regarding drug abuse (Lundy & James 481). In addition to that, the number of individuals who used illegal substances rose to 19 million (Lundy & James 481).
These figures are generally higher compared to those of Spinella (199) and the users were generally younger. With the above-mentioned facts and data, the United States is indeed in serious trouble. It seemed that for certain periods of time, incidents of drug abuse lessen. Yet, this decline is only temporary as other abusive substances are being introduced into the community. Illegal drugs’ direct and indirect costs: Why funding and actions are necessary Cornwell shared that there are different categories of “drug users (8). These categories are characterized by the manner in which individuals use illegal drugs, as well as their reasons behind dwelling into drug abuse. The first category is known as “experimenters (Cornwell 9). ” Briefly defined, experimenters are the so-called “novices” in using abusive substances (Cornwell 9). Engaging into drug-related activities is done for “experience’s” sake. Experimenters can either continue to try other drugs or vice versa. The initial experiences are important for experimenters since this will determine whether they would stop or not (Cornwell 9).
On the other hand Cornwell described the second category as the “take it or leave it” group (9). These users are known for using illegal drugs or substances within a given period or “intervals (Cornwell 9). ” Compared to experimenters, individuals, under this category use abusive substances more frequently. In as far as frequency is concerned, this brings the discussion to the third category of drug users. This is the “compulsive” group (Cornwell 9). Evidently, compulsive users are already addicted to illegal drugs (Cornwell 9).
For these individuals, the absence of abusive drugs makes them hard to perform their everyday activities (Cornwell 9). Evidently, with sufficient funding, various government agencies can prevent many from experimenting. Via launching media awareness programs, this problem is immediately curb even before it transforms into a large-scale pandemic. Indeed, prevention is better than cure. Although awareness programs may seem too common nowadays, its corresponding effects are nonetheless, indispensable. The problem however is that many undermines the power of increasing public awareness.
Drug abuse is often perceived as a common phenomenon. This does not necessarily equate to acceptance. However, drug abuse is often ignored that more often than not, advocacy and literacy programs garner little support. With the presence of various sophisticated media communication tools and channels, educating the public is now easier to achieve. This is most especially true as for the case of the internet which is able to disseminate information on a much faster pace. The World Wide Web can also serve as alternatives to overly expensive television and network advertisements.
Contrary to what others perceive, awareness programs are cheaper than treating drug abuse patients. Programs and activities like these need utmost support and funding rather than mere criticisms. In the meantime, it is very evident that drug abuse highly affects the users’ mental and physiological aspects. Illegal substances, most especially as for the case of psychoactive drugs may result to chemical imbalance and produce damaging effects to the brain (Alters & Schiff 164). Needless to say, this may prevent drug users from living a normal life.
Situations like these are rampant and highly manifested in many compulsive drug users. If left untreated, one may see himself or herself imprisoned within the cold realms of asylums and mental institutions. Aside from mental problems, illegal drug users are prone or highly susceptible to acquiring infectious diseases. As previously mentioned, repeated use of unclean needles and syringes places the individual at high risks of having chronic diseases such as AIDS and HIV (Kronenfeld 48). In addition to that, excessive use of illegal drugs may eventually weaken the individual’s immune system.
It is also important to note that even if drug abusers go through counseling and rehabilitation, illegal substances have corresponding side-effects that could make a person suffer for the rest of his or her life. Moreover drug-related health problems contribute to the rise of mortality rates among adults and individuals. What are the implications of the above-mentioned problems? Relatively, this would mean that the United States would have to build more mental institutions and healthcare facilities in order to accommodate all the affected parties (Kronenfeld 48).
While it is true that healthcare is one of the most important concerns of the US government, one should not disregard the fact that there are also other responsibilities that the government should attend to. These include education, employment, agriculture, finance etc. Increasing health-related expenditures translate to lowering the budgets for other social needs and demands. This aspect further justifies the point that the battle against illegal drugs, by all means, should be continued and financially supported. Evidently, abusive drugs have both direct and indirect costs.
The direct costs are suffered by the victims and the indirect costs are shouldered by taxpayers and the whole society as well. This discussion does not suggest that anti-war drug movements and campaigns should be the only priority of the government. What this essay contends is budget sufficiency so as to effectively address this particular problem. Another reason behind the call for sufficient anti-drug funding stems from the fact that drug abuse is responsible for the proliferation of crime and violence in the country. The truth of the matter is, this dilemma is not exclusive to the United States alone.
Other country such as China for example, has also identified abusive drugs as one of the leading causes of “violent crimes (Liu, Zhang & Messner 62). ”Through the years, it is not very uncommon to see individuals commit brutal acts due to drug abuse. Crimes such as rape, murder even theft and robbery are often triggered by drug intoxication. Some individuals, who do not have the financial means resort to robbery in order to satisfy their addiction. Increasing crime rates result to a hostile and dangerous society. This is of course, detrimental not only to innocent individuals, but also to potential business investors.
The outcome of drug abuse can be compared to terrorism. It upsets the country’s safety and security via generating harmful and deviant acts. Aside from that drug abusers are also prone to committing domestic violence that often leads to dysfunctional families and broken homes (Videbeck 190). The family is a fundamental unit in any given society. Thus, its breakdown or destruction can create a generation full of angst and remorse. In addition to that, children often suffer from drug-stricken families. More often than not, these children are relegated to foster care.
While this may seem to offer a feasible solution, it is still best if children grew under the supervision of their own parents. Funding is necessary to strengthen the country’s police. With sufficient funds, local authorities can avail sophisticated equipment and tools that could aid them in surveillance and tracking down suspected drug pushers. This would also enable authorities to work more efficiently in terms of preventing drug dealers from entering the country. Addressing the drug problem and thus minimizing its effects could translate to lowering the expenses allotted for building more rehabilitation centers and expanding prison cells.
This could also result to faster judiciary processes, since drug-related cases often increase (Alexander 154). Aside from health and social effects, drug abuse also creates a major impact to the country’s economy. As previously stated, escalating crime rates due to the use of illegal substances may prevent investors from setting their business in the country. But more than that, employees who are addicted to abusive drugs may find it hard to perform well in their respective work organization (Backer & O’Hara 30). In other words, illegal drugs cripple the country’s labor force.
The talents and skills that could be use to further improve the nation’s economic stature are subsequently wasted and not fully utilized. Conclusion The battle against illegal drugs should never be abandoned. Winning this war is a victory of all. However, without sufficient funding, this dilemma is far from being over. Drug abuse is never a simple problem that should be ignored in the first place. Both its direct and indirect costs are detrimental to society. Thus, without utmost support, illegal drugs will continue to create a multitude and plethora of problems that could soon hamper the country’s growth and development.