Research Paper First Draft
The World of Drugs
Wendell Barry once said, “People use drugs, legal and illegal, because their lives are intolerably painful or dull. They hate their work and find no rest in their leisure. They are estranged from their families and their neighbors. It should tell us something that in healthy societies drug use is celebrative, convivial, and occasional, whereas among us it is lonely, shameful, and addictive. We need drugs, apparently, because we have lost each other.” The uses of many different drugs have been present throughout history and our lives. The consumption of drugs and also drug trafficking have a big impact on our society. These factors affect society, economy, and the use of drugs, whether they be legal or illegal.
The consumption and trafficking of drugs has a big effect on our society. It can affect families and communities. The use of drugs and also the trafficking of drugs can promote violence and harm to the community and endanger the safety of many people. Drugs and crime are related in several ways. Illegal production, manufacture, distribution, possession and consumption of illegal drugs constitute criminal offenses in most countries. “ In the United States, for example, almost 60 per cent of all federal prisoners in 1994 were drug offenders, up from 45 per cent in 1988.” (Economic and Social Consequences of Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking). Drugs increase the likelihood of many kinds of criminal activity, whether it be by the user of the drugs, or due to conflicts between different groups in the market of trafficking drugs.
Tying into the effects of society, although certain drugs can be good for a person, they can be used wrongly and used for a different purpose than it was initially intended for. When drugs are abused, there can be a very big impact on the users’ health. The use of different drugs can have a short term effect on a person’s health or even some long term effects. Many can even lead to death. “The substances most commonly associated with drug-related deaths are heroin and other opiates, cocaine, and, to a lesser extent, barbiturates and amphetamine-type stimulants, notably methamphetamine.” (Economic and Social Consequences of Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking).
Although the use of certain drugs can harm people, the methods used to harvest or create certain drugs can be harmful to our environment, which is another effect drugs has on our society. Some of the damages can be caused due to the destruction of a forest, disposing of toxic chemicals, and even the actions used to prevent cultivation of the materials used to make the drugs. For example, “In Boliva, some 30,000 tonnes of toxic chemicals used in the processing of illicit drugs are flushed down the waterways each year without any proper waste water treatment being carried out.” (Economic and Social Consequences of Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking).
The consumption of drugs also has a big impact on our economy. Some of the big factors that affects our economy is the cost of enforcing the laws on drugs and also the costs of drug abuse. Billions of dollars are spent each year to try to stop drug trafficking and stop drug abuse. The economic cost of drug abuse in the United States was estimated at 193 billion dollars in 2007. This value includes money lost in productivity, healthcare costs, and criminal justice costs. There are also many costs that go towards the payment for the jobs that have people enforce the laws against drug trafficking and drug use. It is mostly tax dollars that are used in order to pay these expenses.
There are many drugs that are used that are legal, but there also many that are illegal. Both have positive and negative effects on people who use them. Many drugs that are legal are usually used to treat an illness or used to help improve the users’ health. Although these drugs can benefit a person, they can also be harmful if not used responsibly. A lot of people take drugs in order to feel good or to solve their problems. They then end up becoming addicted and start to abuse those drugs. Even though a drug is legal and is available to most people, they can still be as dangerous as those drugs that are illegal. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 40,393 people died of drug-induced causes in 2010.
There are also a handful drugs that are illegal, but are still used by many people. “The largest single consumer of illicit drugs in the world, however, still seems to be the United States, with some 12.8 million current drug abusers out of a total population of 260 million in 1995.” (Economic and Social Consequences of Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking). There still has not been a way to end the war on drugs, and there still thousands of people abusing these drugs. Although the United States has spent so much money trying to prohibit drug use, they haven’t done much to stop it. Many users and dealers of illegal drugs end up going to jail, but then go right back to their old habits after they are released. Nothing is done to help them or to prevent this. Instead they are just punished for the crime.
Although there are a lot of negatives to the consumption of drugs, there are also some benefits. There can be benefits to the economy, where the prohibition of drugs can create jobs for people. Also the legalization of some drugs can create jobs. For example, the recent legalization of marijuana in certain states. Colorado exceeded over 5 million dollars in sales in the first week of legalization of marijuana for recreational and medical use. Not all drugs can be legalized though.
The consumption of drugs will always be part of our lives whether it be legally or illegally. There will always be people selling drugs who shouldn’t be. There are always consequences to the choices people make involving drugs. Many factors bring effects to our society, economy, and the way drugs are used. Many drugs are needed in order to keep certain people healthy and alive. Although, while these drugs are beneficial, they can also be abused and used in the wrong way. Instead of benefiting and healing a person, drugs can be harmful to ones health.