Society is constantly evolving and reforming ideas on what is acceptable and what is completely wrong. The ideas and social norms that we follow in today’s society is not what they followed twenty years ago. Same-sex marriage was not majority accepted, the way women dress now was not socially correct, and the use and abuse of drugs was not something that everyone did or tried in their lives. Drugs are substances that can be inhaled or injected that alter a person’s actions and thoughts. Majority of drugs are used to treat medical conditions, however there some that are recreational drugs (Citation).
The se of recreational drugs has become a more widely done activity. There is only a small amount of people who claim to have never tried recreational drugs. If someone does not do it regularly, they have tried it before. The criminal Justice system is constantly changing as well. With the changes happening in our society, the laws and regulations must change as well. We live in a progressive time, things are changing, improving, becoming easier, and faster; with this we must change as well. Drugs is one of the longest lasting wars that the United States has experienced.
Although there have been many arrests and aws passed on the illegal use of drugs, the availability of drugs is more than ever. Drugs tend to start out as medical medication that then get used and abused which then makes them illegal. Some of these include; marijuana, MDMA, cocaine, LSD, and opium (Citation). Cocaine was not always illegal in the United States. The company Coca-Cola used to put it in there drinks. It was mixed with soda and upper class Americans drank it as an alternative to alcohol. It was not until African Americans started harshly using the drug in 1901, did the government passed a law making it illegal.
Although it is mostly whites that abuse the drug, research shows that majority of the arrests made for cocaine is blacks (Citation). During the 1970’s it was found that cocaine had no medical benefits. Therefore, drug companies stopped using it in their medications. During the 1980’s a cheaper, and more potent form of cocaine became available increasing the abuse rates. White Americans continued to use the white powder and poorer minorities began to use crack. In 1986, congress passed the Anti-Drug Abuse Act. This stated that those who were caught with crack cocaine were 100 times more everely punished than those who used the powder.
This continued until 2010, when the Fair Sentencing act reduced the discrepancy between crack cocaine and the powder, but did not get rid of it (Citation). Crack cocaine still remains a harsher punishment, however not as severe as before. MDMA, or meth, did not become illegal in the United States until 1985. Originally, in 1965 Alexander Shulgin thought that its psychoactive effects could be used to positively help those in therapy. He synthesized MDMA for himself and started running experiments. In 1985 MDMA became a popular activity at raves nd dance clubs.
The DEA started cracking down on the use of MDMA claiming it should be considered a schedule I drug for its high abuse potential, even without proof of harm. Doctors, therapists, and religious leaders opposed saying that it should be a schedule III drug so that they can prescribe it and use it in therapy. Today it remains an illegal drug in the United States, though it is still a popular drug for a night out. Researchers suggest that it is still possible that MDMA can help victims of PTSD. They say the results are promising (Citation). Like many ther drugs, marijuana is tied to racism.
Campaigns against marijuana really took off in 1930 when the drug was associated with the Mexican Americans and Latinos. Under President Nixon, the modern day war on drugs began giving society yet another way to go after minorities in this country. During 1910 to 1920’s, immigrants from Mexico and the Indies popularized the use of marijuana. In 1936, a popular anti-marijuana film was released called Reefer Madness. The following year marijuana was officially criminalized by the Marijuana Tax Act. Marijuana is classified as a schedule I drug.
Baby boomers of the 1960’s and the 1970’s started to destigmatize the use of the drug. Though once they became adults, they feared that the drug would lead their teens into trying drugs of harsher consequences. The harsh punishments for the consumption of marijuana continue into today’s society. By 2010, more than 52% of drug arrests were for the possession of marijuana. The discrepancy of racism still continues though. Studies show that blacks are more than 3% more likely to be arrested for possession of marijuana than whites despite the similar usage rates.
Things however seem to e looking up though for those who like and abuse the drug. Although the fact that marijuana is a schedule I drug which makes it near impossible to do research on, they have found that marijuana can be useful when treating glaucoma, epilepsy, cancer and more. Due to these reports, medical marijuana has now become legal in 23 states in America. Recreational marijuana is also legal in 4 states including D. C (Citation). Opium was a popular drug among white women and used for colicky babies more than one hundred years ago.
But perception changed when it was used to stigmatize Chinese Americans orking on the railroads in the early 1800s. In the 1850’s, chinese immigrants came in to build the railroads and to work in the gold mines. At the time, smoking Opium in China was very popular that was introduced by the british. White people then began patronizing opium use in Chinatown of San Francisco in 1860. This created the unrealistic fear that chinese immigrants were using the drug to seduce white women. Opiums really set the tone for the war on drugs within the last one hundred years.
Up until the 1900’s opiums were proven to be effective pain elievers. Though it also became a popular recreational drug that was highly addictive. It was not until 1941 that the Harrison Act that opium trade was outlawed in the United States. Today, opium is classified as a schedule Il drug. This means that while it is an acceptable medical drug, it is very tightly monitored by the DEA (Citation). LSD was something of an accident, originally created in the late 1930s by a young chemist named Albert Hoffman, and intended for use as a clinical drug.
Although it never took the form of mainstream medication, LSD seemed in ogue in experimental medical circles during the period between 1950 and 1965; nearly 40,000 patients-including actor Cary Grant-used some form of LSD for illnesses ranging from neurosis, schizophrenia, and psychopathy. The growing popularity of psychedelics in a time of social and cultural revolution ultimately led to the federal government outlawing it in 1968 (Citation). Drugs can have many effects on the human body; both short term and long term. A sample of some short term effects of drugs are feelings of euphoria and inflated self- esteem, energy, and mood.
Some people like to use drugs as a erformance enhancer for school or work or to meet some other end goal. Drugs can also decreases the need for sleep, therefore, using it to stay up late and study, alert, or accomplish a strenuous task are also reasons for someone to take drugs. Some unwanted short term effects though, may include paranoia, anxiety, restlessness, and panic (Citation). Unfortunately, most people who take this drug a few times, see how it might improve their performances and continue taking it until it becomes an addiction. They are unable to perform day to day tasks without being under the influence of the drug.
These people may experience abdominal pain, significant weight loss, cardiac arrest, stroke, seizures, and chronic headaches. Mental health is also compromised when under the influence of drugs. Depression is a high rate in this country, which can than correlate to the high rate of drug abuse. Once a person hits their lowest point while under the influence of drugs they must than continue on to the rehab. They then go through withdrawal, depression, and loneliness before getting better (Citation). The war on drugs was started by the government under the Nixon administration.
Since then the government and criminal justice system has been greatly affected by the use and abuse of drugs. The most effect it has had on the government is the money that the government spends on this war. The spend money on the jails that house those who are arrested due to drugs and on treatment programs. Since the late 1960’s, state and federal law enforcement policy has become increasingly focused on stamping out drug use, though recent trends have seen laws relax for the use of marijuana. The annual criminal justice system costs related to illicit drug use is up to fifty six billion.
That number has more than doubled since the 1980’s (Citation). Many people believe that once the arrest and trial are over, the criminal justice system is no longer responsible for that person; it does not stop there. Studies show that 1 in 2 people in prison were arrested for a drug related crime. Of those prisoners, 85% of them do not receive treatment that could benefit from the treatment. In order to provide a simple solution, drug courts have been established across the country. These proceedings provide an alternative to traditional court cases.
They aim to trike a balance between criminal justice and treatment for drug addiction. Participants of drug court are required to; receive treatment and other means to remain clean, regularly drug tested, required to appear in court where a judge reviews their progress, are rewarded for their success, and are sanctioned if not successful. Although these drug courts seem as though they might costs the same if not more, research shows that if they were able to reach all drug cases they could save close to $32. 2 billion annually. Currently, they are saving $1. 7 billion annually with those that they are able to reach.
The negative consequences of drug abuse affect not only individuals who abuse drugs but also their families and friends, their jobs, and government resources. Although many of these effects cannot be quantified, ONDCP recently reported that in 2002, the economic cost of drug abuse to the United States was $180. 9 billion (Citation). Children of individuals who abuse drugs often are abused or neglected as a result of the individual’s’ preoccupation with drugs. National-level studies have shown that parents who abuse drugs often put their need to obtain and abuse drugs before the health and welfare of their children.
The risk to children is even greater when their parents or guardians manufacture illicit drugs such as methamphetamine. Methamphetamine abusers often produce the drug in their own homes and apartments, using hazardous chemicals such as hydriodic acid, iodine, and anhydrous ammonia. Children who inhabit such homes often inhale dangerous chemical fumes and gases or ingest toxic chemicals or illicit drugs. These children commonly test positive for methamphetamine and suffer from both short- and long-term health consequences (Citation). The economic impact of drug abuse on businesses whose employees abuse drugs can be significant.
While many drug abusers are unable to attain or hold full-time employment, those who do work put others at risk, particularly when employed in positions where even a minor degree of impairment could be catastrophic. The economic consequences of drug abuse severely burden federal, state, and local government resources and, ultimately, the taxpayer. The war on drugs is a never ending cycle of people who are impacted. The person who is abusing changes their world and in turn changes and effects their friends, families, and coworkers. This in return affects the society that they live in.