War on Drugs

Examine the articles under the heading “War on Drugs” in your SOC 479 Reader – as well as “Drug Websites for Study” on Moodle. These articles deal with the war on drugs, as well as alternatives to the current societal methods in dealing with illegal drug use. Use any other references you can find on the war on drugs if you feel you still need more information (e.g. chapter 12 in the textbook). You can find really good information on the websites given on the Moodle site.

Keep the following questions in mind as you read:

 1. What have been the central justifications in the history of the war on drugs in the last century (especially since the war on Drugs started about 40 years ago) for categorizing particular drugs as “legal” or “illegal?” (Here you can also find information in the class text in chapter 2 and 12) What types of drugs have been targeted as particular periods and what groups of users have been targeted?

 2. On what measures is the federal “war on drugs” budget primarily targeted? (Look at the breakdown of the budget – here you can find info at the various websites listed in the reader.) What is the central focus of the war on drugs as a result?

3. What alternatives to the current war on drugs have been proposed? Give some specific examples.

 4. What is your opinion about the war on drugs? Is it a proper societal response to drug use, or should we be focusing on other priorities? Why? Why not? (Be specific here.)

The drug abuse menace has been a significant challenge across the globe for many years. Nations have developed various techniques to help them curb the problem. For instance, the United States have enacted various drug policies that do not allow possession, the use or distribution of illegal substances. Despite this and the adverse punishments that follow such activities the problem persists. Drugs have been grouped into illegal or legal in the United States basing on their side effects and their inherent characteristics that is the health and science harm. However, others argue that the basis is not about the damage that the substances cause, but illegality is defined by racism, who uses them and stigma. For example, the stringent cocaine laws only came into place when it was discovered that black Americans were starting to utilize the substance (Newman). The primary drugs that have been targeted and considered illegal include marijuana, heroin, cocaine, LSD, MDMA, and Opium. The target groups in America comprise considerable of young men of the minorities such as the black people and the Latinos (Smith).            

The strategies meant to reduce drug abuse in the United States has been getting a lot of resistance from people that argue that most is a waste of money. One of the measures is the cost that the government incurs in the process of trying to curb substance use. The expense of the anti-drug efforts over 40 years is approximated to be over $1 trillion. Additionally, some Americans are of the opinion that there is excessive use of funds in a fight against drugs that discriminates racially and thus does not help in the long run. According to the ACLU, black Americans and Hispania’s are at a higher risk of being imprisoned as compared to whites for drug use despite more abusers being the whites. As a result, it is not justified to direct such sum of money to courses that do not deal with the real challenge. Also, in spite of the allocation of this capital to the programs there has been a little change regarding the reduction in substance abuse. For these reasons, the war on substances supporters has resorted to campaigns aiming to justify the strategies and programs….

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