War on Drugs - Research Paper Example

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The war on drugs has been ongoing for about half a century in United States and the largest producers and suppliers of narcotics around the world. …
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Download file to see previous pages This paper is a critical examination of the war on drugs in the United States and its effects in the country. Narcotics are a wide range of illegal drugs that are primarily used to influence and change the behavior or mood of the user. Chemically, narcotics are opium derivatives and they include drugs such morphine, heroin, cocaine, codeine among others (Roy, 41). Opiates and cocaine are the most valuable and profitable narcotics in the underworld economy. Narcotics are highly addictive, and they mainly function on the brain and the central nervous system where they reduce the intensity of unpleasant feelings such as pain and could produce euphoric sensations. In medicine, morphine, which is narcotic drug, is widely used to reduce chronic pain. Others narcotics applied in medicine include codeine and oxycodone for relieving pain in patients. Due to the addictive nature of these medically applied narcotics, the abuse of the prescription drugs is a growing concern in the United States (Acker, 57-69). History of Narcotics in United States Narcotics have an ancient history that dates back to the earliest civilization in Greece, Sumeria, Egypt and India among others. to Roy, opium, which is obtained from the poppy plant, played a major role in prehistoric medicine and pharmacy. The drug was mainly used for inducing sleep and as a general painkiller. In addition, the addictive and euphoric properties of opium encouraged people to use it as a recreational drug. The potent properties of opium increased its demand in the world and by 17th century, commercial production and trade in the drug was already established in the European continent. ...
By eighteenth century, trade in opium was a very profitable venture because an increasing number of people had become addicted to the drug (72-96). The use of opium was no longer restricted to the rich and it soon became a commodity for mass consumption. Consequently, opium became an important source of revenue for various countries especially in Asia and Atlantic region. The main source of opium in United States in 20th century was China (Zabludoff, 49). Currently the main producers and suppliers of opiate drugs are Colombia, Mexico, Afghanistan and Pakistan (Chepesiuk, 68). Acker classifies the history of narcotics use in the United States in three distinct periods, from 1860 to 1910, 1910 to 1950 and from 1950 to the present (63). In the United States, the period from 1860 to 1910 was characterized by the outbreak of the civil war, which started in 1861 and ended in 1865. During the war, large-scale use of narcotics was noted among the combatants (Acker, 105). The medicinal and addictive properties of the drug elicited intensive research from pharmaceutical companies such as the giant pharmaceutical company Bayer. In 1874, chemists from Bayer successfully isolated heroin from morphine. During the period, addiction to morphine had become a major concern in Europe and United States. A growing number of people had become dependant on the drug, resulting to low productivity and increasing level of crime (Roy, 38). Therefore, the medical fraternity hoped that heroin, would cure morphine addiction. The successful synthesis of heroin from morphine well received in the market and the narcotic was promoted as “a wonder drug” (Musto, 55). The commercial promotion ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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