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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
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The two issues destroy the pillars of the society, potentially destroying inter community and intra community relations. For several decades, the fight against these two issues has been of great concern to media. This war on drugs and terrorism began actively in the twentieth century when the two issues began to significantly affecting the societal setup in various communities.
Moreover, it is wrong to surmise that making drugs illegal leads to an increase in their abuse. This statement can be established by comparing the number of alcoholics to the number of drug abusers. The former are much larger in number, and this drives home the fact that legalizing drugs would lead to a much larger number of drug addicts. A telling example is provided by the enactment of the US Narcotics Act of 1914, which resulted in a major decrease in the number of drug users (Clark).
According to Global commission of drug policy (2011) US has spent $1trillion on this war and is considered as the longest and most in-effective war in which US is engaged. Expert’s estimates the cost has approximately run to $40billion annually. This war has not affected only American empire but also affected America’s many possessions and provinces, including most of the Europe who were forced to adopt same laws to penalize criminals explained by Johman (2000) .The first anti drug act which was carried by Nixon was in 1969 in which he banned cannabis entering in US from Mexican border.
Drugs are dangerous not only because of the financial and psychological effects on society but also because drugs are unraveling the social fabric by gripping our youth in a cycle of drug addiction and disease that can only ultimately lead to violence and harm.The criminal conduct associated with drug usage has high public costs. Even the successful prevention of drug supply has not helped in limiting drug related criminal behavior.
The most stringent law nor the broader use of the state’s police power have not deterred people from its used and this only manifests that the escalation of control and police enforcement is a wrong response. It only pushed the industry into the black market which begets another set of problems.
Efficiently confronting the drug problem involves both preventing the issue from arising through drug eradication and military involvement, as well as by providing remedial solution to the problem through different methods of treatment. A study on drug trade shows the role played by colonization in the growth of international opium and cocaine trades and the essay analyzes this. Furthermore, an analysis of the ways in which conflict and wars play an important role in establishing a drug market have also been discussed.
The war describes set of programs pursued by US administration starting with the Nixon administration aiming at reducing the use of illicit drugs in the US.The hallmark of the policies involves increasing supply disruption strategies that have been favored as opposed to demand curtailment. However, the Obama administration is yet to establish a definitive break with previous drug policies of the previous administrations.