Drug use is a worldwide problem that has prompted the society and the government to take actions to control its abuse. Drug abuse doesnt have to include the illegal drugs only but also misuse of prescription drugs like sleeping pills may end up in addiction of the drug and in some cases over-dozing. Drug use has very devastating effects to any community, for example, the death of many potential and talented young people in the society; those who don't die to end up being addicted to drug use. An addicted population ends up affecting the economy of the country since resources will be used to purchase drugs instead of investing this energy and resources in doing something beneficial. America has been working tirelessly in dealing with drug use by declaring any substance that is non-medically necessary as drug use, no matter how responsible, was evil and is to be opposed by any means available. This essay seeks to examine the war on drugs by focusing on when and why the prohibition was passed, the successes and failures of the prohibition, reasons why the prohibition was lifted, the modern war and how it differs or resembles the prohibition, the issue of legalization of drugs and the role of the government in the drug issues.
When and Why Prohibition was Passed
Drug use was a major problem in America in 1900's with many of the youths, women, and men at that period being involved in the use and abuse of opium and cocaine. However when teens started using marijuana, there was an increased need for a reactive action to be taken in order to solve the drug problem. With the aim of reducing the inflow of drugs, trafficking and use of drugs in America, the Congress of different states went ahead to pass an Act, in 1919 that prohibited the use of these drugs and alcohol. At that period, Chinese and black men used these drugs more but even after the establishment of these laws, the use of these drugs never stopped. Prohibition of drug use led to the establishment of a drug regulatory body, which was referred to as the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, in different states. The purpose of the regulatory body was to set regulations and monitor the implementation of these laws. Movements were formed that campaigned against the drinking of alcohol due to the effects it had to the American population.
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Prohibition Success or a Failure
Prohibition was set to control the spread of drugs in the United States, which contributed to the arrest of many of the drug traffickers. It aimed at ensuring drugs like cocaine, marijuana and alcohol stopped being used. The media was on the forefront in educating and increasing the level of awareness among the citizens about drug use. This did contribute to the reduction of drug use. To some, such an improvement is proof the prohibition was working effectively and was eradicating the use of drugs which had become a menace in the country.
However, some disagree that prohibition is working in the United States; this is because of a number of reasons. Firstly, despite the laws, in place a number of drugs making it into the country are more than that which is being confiscated by the police. Many innocent people were arrested, harassed and jailed under the accusation of being drug traffickers. Secondly, the emergence of the black markets to sell drugs increased the amount of criminal and violent activities in the country while many of the police officers ended up corrupt and involved in the drug syndicate. In addition, the prohibition did not achieve the intended goal of sobriety or the reduction of alcohol consumption in the country.
Prohibition has increased the amount of taxes spent by the government to control drugs in the country. The effectiveness of prohibition in any country does not only depend on the laws in place but also on the level of awareness of the public on the effects of the public. A sensitized society has the foundation to deal with the problem of drug abuse.
Reasons of Repeal
Once Franklin Roosevelt became the president, he announced the repeal of the 18th Amendment which was to see the end of the prohibition of alcohol. This is because the regulation was not working as it was intended to despite the amount of resources that states had deployed into eradicating and reducing the drugs entering through America's borders. To many the action was viewed as a waste of the taxpayers' money. The re-appeal led to legalizing of alcohol which was to be regulated during its manufacture and its distribution in the right quality and scale.
The Modern War
Similarities to Prohibition
Even after the 18th amendment was repealed, the government of United States has not relaxed in its efforts to eradicate drugs in the street. It has instead continued to be at the forefront of trying to stop the distribution of drugs in the country by closing suppliers routes like through Mexico. Today, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is the regulatory body that works at investigating all organizations and individuals associated with drug dealing while trying to reduce the flow of drugs being imported into the country. DEA responsibilities are the same as those performed by the Federal Bureau of Narcotics that was in effect during the prohibition.
Differences to Prohibition
In the past, anyone who used drugs was considered to suffer mental diseases. However today, treatment and rehabilitation programs that are offered to all addicts are considered more effective means to deal with drug effects. In addition, offering education and prevention programs is a better way of tackling the demand for drugs in the country when it is compared to previous means used. Once the demand reduces, then the supply of drugs will reduce. In some states, drugs like marijuana have been legalized which was not the case during the prohibition period. Legalizing of the drug is viewed as an effective way to tackle the distribution of the drug and avoiding criminal and violence incidents that occur in a black market. It should, however, be noted that despite all these efforts in place to minimize drug abuse, the one thing that is consistent is that drugs continue to be a problem in the United States.
Drugs like heroin, cocaine and marijuana should not be legalized because of the effects they have on the people who use them. Most of the users of these drugs are usually addicts who cannot do without the drugs. The users end up being violent or shadows of their former selves. Making these drugs illegal has a number of positive results which include ensuring the family structure is not broken because children with an addict parent(s) end up being neglected. Addicts are potential human resources that are usually left unexplored; therefore illegalizing these drugs will ensure that no capable citizens like sportspeople and musicians are not lost due to these drugs. On the negative side, illegalizing of opium and cocaine will make it difficult for pharmaceutical industries to carry out research since these drugs are considered to have medical uses.
Making champagne toasts during parties or drinking a bottle of beer after work is a culture that is very hard to break. To many, illegalizing alcohol can be viewed as infringing into one's constitution right if they drink and not cause any discomfort to another person. Parents should, therefore, ensure that their underage children do not drink until they are of the appropriate age. Alcohol should therefore not be illegalized. On the positive side, legalizing of alcohol manufacturing, transportation and distribution make it easy for the government to monitor the distribution and quality of the manufactured alcohol. The government also has in place policies that regulate the use of alcohol.
However, alcohol leads to increase in diseases caused by alcohol intake like liver cirrhosis. In addition, a lot of people are arrested for disorderly conducts and excessive drinking. Driving under the influence has contributed to road accidents and death of many people yearly. Presently, many families are broken after domestic violence occurs when someone is under the influence of alcohol which brings into the question if alcohol should be legal.
The Role of the Government
Everyone has the right for expression which is protected under the first amendment of United States constitution. They are allowed to do as they wish as long as it does not interfere with anyones rights. However, some people have gone too far when they are drunk and caused their neighbors some disruption while in other cases breaking property which has led to their arrest on the grounds of disorderly conduct.
The government has the responsibility of ensuring that its citizens are safe from drug use by ensuring that the supply of drugs in the country is stopped. This is done by carrying out operations that ensure that land, air, and sea entry ways are protected and no drugs enter the country through these routes. To reduce the supply, the government has to, therefore, reduce the demand for drugs in the country. This can be achieved through increased sensitization and placing of rehabilitation programs that will help the society. The government has to also carry out investigations that will expose cartels and those involved in drug trafficking in the country and go ahead to sentence them making the streets much safer. Every officer that is suspected to be involved in drug distribution is to be investigated; this is the responsible of the government. Additionally, any use of drugs should not be promoted through advertising without precautions being given. This is to ensure that the user makes an informed decision before deciding to use the drug. The government has to, therefore, try to control the activities of every individual despite the constitutional freedom that they may have as the government has the responsibility of protecting every citizens life. The use of drugs will continue to be a menace and legalize drug use has little benefits when compared to the cost it has to the society. Countries should, therefore, put more efforts in eradicating the problem of drug use or most of our future generation will end up destroyed.
The issue of drugs entails illegal drugs as well as the unprescribed use of medical substances. In the United States, drug use was prohibited due to the widespread use in the community. The prohibition inhibited the flow of drugs but it was also a failure because the black market still existed and the corruption of the law enforcement agencies also perpetuated the trend. The prohibition was later lifted as it was deemed as a failure and a waste of taxpayers money. The prohibition and the modern war on drugs are similar because the government has acted tough on the Mexican border to prevent the entry of drugs. However, a difference emerges because, in the modern times, there are rehabilitation programs, unlike the past. Drugs should not be legalized as they break families as well as promoting violent crimes. The government's role in the war against drugs involves the interruption of supplies as well as reforming the addicts.