Good Example Of Drug Control Policies Essay

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Drugs, Law, People, Addiction, Abuse, Violence, Bullying, Criminal Justice

Pages: 10

Words: 2750

Published: 2020/09/30


Many people both young and old do not consider the consequences when they choose to get high. The abuse of drugs is a real problem and even doing them one time can be the beginning of a downward spiral of unfortunate events that will haunt you the rest of your life. These events can be everlasting or even the cause of a person’s demise but there is not a person that decides to do drugs that escapes with no negative effects as a result. Some drugs that have obvious implications are illegal street drugs however even pharmaceutical drugs can be dangerous when misused. There are many facts to support this statement which offer more resolution when you understand them and are aware. First is that drugs are responsible for the death of more American youth than suicides, guns, or violence at school even though you here less about drugs than the others. In 2006 the misuse of prescribed medicine caused approximately thirty six thousand deaths which almost matched the number of people who died in car accidents that year. Drug abuse is considered the leading disease in America with the exception of heart disease but not by far. When it comes to crime in the U.S. people have long tried to find a solution by looking at the causes and with drug abuse being the number one cause of crime there is an obvious cause and solution to most of the criminal activity we see (Leonart, 2011). These factors give researchers a starting point that will show how much this abuse is really effecting the economy as well since drug abusers incur costs to the county that is not only in the billions but the one hundred billions making it a choice that does not only effect the person who tries the drug but everyone else as well. The DEA standpoint about this issue is that if people were more aware of these facts and the negative connotations of drug use in America that affects the country as a whole, then many of the people would reconsider their decision to try and use drugs which would make a huge change for everyone.

Different types of Drugs

There are different types of Drugs including street drugs and even prescription drugs that many people do not know very much about. Considering this fact also consider that just because a doctor prescribes a medication or pain killer to a person, does not make it completely safe so these have been labeled according to their levels of probability of addictiveness. Since it has been known that many of these medications and drugs can cause a person to become dependent and addicted the DEA passed the Controlled substance act. The Controlled substance act group’s prescription medication as well as street drugs in five schedules based on the prescription drugs use in medicine, probability for misuse, and the liability the drug poses for both safety and dependency. To determine if a medication has the chance of being misused some guidelines are followed which include, show of people that are using the drug in a way that is harmful to themselves, can be chemically reproduced to make a street drug, Is being overtaken for different results and new drugs that have indicated any of this during the test phases. The first schedule or schedule 1 drugs are made up of street drugs that have not been approved for medical use in America, some examples are heroine and LSD or acid. Schedule two drugs are approved for medical use however this drug does possess the potential for extreme physical and psychological dependence; some examples include hydrocodone, morphine and methamphetamine. Schedule three drugs are drugs that show less potential for misuse and include hydrocodone that is mixed with Tylenol. Schedules 4 are drugs with a very low opportunity for abuse and can include diazepam as well as clonazepam along with others. Last is schedule five drugs which have the lowest rate of abuse but still cause some concern and this category includes misuse of cough syrups. The controlled substance analogues was created in 1986 to showcase a new class for certain drugs which are considered to have no medically approved use in America and are illegally sold on the streets with similar dependency and safety issues as schedule one and two drugs.

What is drug abuse?

Drug abuse is the misuse or illegal use of any drug that can cause dependency or health issues and is a major concern for the American citizens. Drugs have a wide variety of effects on their users and it is hard to define what each drug does as many people may have a different reaction in their body to a drug than other people who use the same drug. The same drug can be highly addictive in one person and less effective on another making it important to test and moderate each drug that is used in the U.S. for the safety of the citizens. The reason why some people become addicted to drugs and others do not is unknown but there are indicators that researchers point out as being potential risk factors. One is the biology of each person is different and when this is combined with other things like environment, mental illness, gender and ethnicity drugs have a different effect on each person’s likeliness to become addicted. If a person is in a nonconductive environment it also adds to the chances of addiction being the outcome of drug abuse. Things like stress, peer pressure and other life stressors seem to produce a greater chance of suffering from addiction with drug usage. Last development of the user can have a great impact. This is not to say that every user at a young age will become addicted however the probability of this is a lot higher because the drug will influence important areas in there still developing brain.
When a person takes drugs there is a process inside of their brain that occurs consisting of the chemicals in the drug entering the communication center in the brain causing changes in the signal process by restricting the natural chemicals in the brain or causing too much stimulation in the brains systems. Certain drugs like marijuana mirror the brains neurotransmitters which confuses the brain causing mixed signals. Other drugs cause a person’s brain to release dopamine (a chemical that causes happiness) which is already present in the body in excessive amounts. This abnormal release will trick a person’s body into repeating this behavior to achieve the same feeling again which leads to addiction. When too much dopamine is used irregularly a person’s body will adapt to the chemical response from the drug and stop producing the needed amounts naturally. This in return will eventually lead to the user’s inability to achieve the same happiness as before they used said drug without continued use and higher amounts of the drug as the person becomes used to the dosage they have been taking leading to addiction as well. The word drug is the first thing that requires definition when attempting to explain drug abuse however “to some, attempting to define the word drug might seem absurd since it is such a commonly used word in our everyday lives (Lyman & Potter, 1991).” More specifically some people consider drugs to be what are found on the streets however the term actually encompasses everything from Tylenol to scheduled drugs, and illicit drugs. As difficult as it is to define drug abuse there are many people who struggle with understanding how people can become addicted to any drug in the first place. To a person who has never been addicted to a drug looking at an abuser they become fascinated with the idea that this is a choice and would require only simple changes in the lifestyle or decisions a person makes to change this path.

History of substance abuse

Long before drugs were labeled or classified as dangerous they were around as people found in drugs a way to fell different. They have been around as long as man has been on earth in forms of opioids, marijuana and alcohol. Drugs have not always been controlled substances and there was a period in time a person could grow or make many of these early drugs right in their own dwelling with nobody’s judgment. In older times it was often even common for things like chloroform and cocaine as well as many other surprising concoctions (Lindsey, 2014). These were sometimes given by prescription from a doctor however doctors were few and far between and often self-proclaimed resulting many times in homemade remedies that were often stored in liquor bottles marked “cure”. With the fact that all medicinal bottles whether homemade or pharmaceutically produced were similar to another eventually cause for concern arose and in 1907 the first regulation was put into place by the pure food and drugs act of 1906 which stated, that any medicine meeting the requirements by law at the time must be properly labeled if it contained serious chemicals like heroin, cocaine or chloroform with a label that stated the chemical and amount of the chemical and as these laws grew the word cure on the label of medicines was changed to remedy. The medicines were produced to help people handle whatever was ailing them at the time and routes of administration varied from drinking, rubbing on ointment, inhaling the substance or eating them. Many of the substances were natural consisting of herbs, mushrooms and fungus therefore there were no laws regulating these at the time. Looking back through history is a clear indication of the usage of drugs without much regulation until the 1900s which shows how long this has been a problem that is misunderstood (Schmidt, 2004) .During this time in history some drugs were used during religious ceremonies to induce hallucinations and trances. These drugs helped religious ceremonies and there conductors achieve the possibility of seeing visions, help stifle pains during mutilations that were required, they were given to soldiers before battle to prepare them for pain and killing and overall to help with pain relaxation or whatever was required at the time. Although now we look at this drug use and assume it would never be acceptable it has been concluded that these uses were not actually very hurtful until people designed a way to increase the effects by making these drugs even stronger than before. One of the first drugs to achieve this increase in potency was no surprise, alcohol and more specifically homemade wine which people found a way to increase the mixture to 14-16 percent of alcohol by volume and eventually this number was able to reach 100 percent. With alcohol being the first drug modified for mankind’s abuse it becomes the representative for addiction and drug abuse throughout history. Following not to long after people found a way to increase other potentially mind altering situations by changing the potency of naturally occurring plant and animal substances to produce the ultimate high. Strangely enough alcohol is still legal today but is moderated by the government however some of the other once normally taken derivatives are found to have no medical use and are now considered illegal substances.

Risks of illegal drug use

With a long history of use it is no wonder that drugs are still a serious problem today. Although regulations have been put into place to change this and consequences are grave with illegal usage people continue to use drugs with no consideration for the risks. All drugs even legal drugs like prescription medication, Marijuana (in some states) and illegal drugs like cocaine and methamphetamine produce drastic and life changing effects on a person’s body that are often not talked about enough. Marijuana has a list of short term effects that point to the reason people become addicted to this drug including lowered reaction time, resulting depression and even risk of heart attack as it can cause higher blood pressure. The long term effects are even more devastating. Marijuana can lower a person’s ability to resist infection like colds which are common because it suppresses the immune system. However some states are legalizing it with the intentions of helping people with immune system disorders. Cigarettes cannot be sold without a warning label including the side effects on a person’s lungs when they choose to light one up, however marijuana also has the capacity to cause major devastation to vital lung fibers with no warning applied. There are other serious long term affects but the point that should be made with this drug is that even prescription or legal use of certain drugs can cause serious long term damage to a person’s body (Paul, 2015). Alcohol is another legal drug however many people do not see it as a drug. There are people who are alcoholics that will completely talk down to a person on any other drug while not realizing that alcohol is damaging and changes the way a person’s brain normally reacts as well. Short term side effects of alcohol are mood changes and impairment. Long term side effects include cirrhosis of the liver, brain damage and kidney damage. Although this is not a complete list of the effects the ones that are listed are bad enough to earn alcohol a spot next to what are considered dangerous drugs. Methamphetamine has become a huge problem today and many people do not even know how deadly it is until it is too late to turn back. Short term effects from this dangerous drug believe that you have more energy than you actually do causing a person to do more than they usually would with the energy there body actually has to put out. This unusual expenditure of energy causes the person to have what is referred to as a crash when the drug wears off which if it is severe enough causes both physical and mental destruction. Extended use of methamphetamine derives the user of their ability to sleep which causes a list of side effects that can eventually lead to convulsions resulting in death. The harm on a person’s body that cannot be fixed as continued use of this drug happens include blood vessel damage, lung damage, kidney damage, strokes and in all cases premature expiration. The damage to a user’s brain is also irreversible as it causes devastating memory loss and mood swings but in all cases death is the end result making methamphetamine shoot to the top of the list when it comes to dangerous and addictive drugs.

What makes combatting illegal drug use so difficult?

Since the negative effects of drugs gained more notice and laws were put into effect to monitor and in some cases ban drugs dubbing them illegal to be used or sold in America, there has long been a battle about how this could be enforced effectively. The first law enacted in the United States that prohibited the use of narcotics was when San Francisco passed a law in 1875 making it illegal to smoke opium in what were referred to as opium dens. Since this act many more attempts and laws have been put into place to attempt to combat the misuse of illegal and prescription drugs in an attempt to save the people of this country from a certain unhealthy lifestyle that these drugs produce. When attempting to enact these laws an approach was usually taken to bring back a sense of morals and right and wrong. The attempts were lost through these campaigns that usually picked a minority and put the white race as a higher morally valued race that had to battle the war on drugs even though this could be furthest from the truth as drugs do not discriminate on which victim they shall decide to overtake. The war on drugs has not often been an overall war on all drugs but instead seems to come in waves focusing on one drug of importance at a time. The campaign against opioids started first in the 1870s while the depression was a serious problem followed by the ant cocaine crusades which so happened to be at the same time the south was enduring racial issues. These issues continued to arise throughout history as the country suffered on issue or another and then in the 1940s there was a ten year sense of accomplishment until in the 1950s another outcry for tougher laws was heard around the nation. Time has shown the toughest of drug laws and lenient approaches however in the current day there is a new argument that arises concluding that laws on drugs are an infringement on individuals by the government who some are claiming do not have the right to take away from a person’s choice to make a decision in their own private life with their own body (Pekannan, 2015). Since this approach it is important to look at drug laws again and take a new approach that perhaps even focuses more on intervention through education than trying to eliminate the use of drugs by making impossible promises to eliminate drug use through excessive laws and promise to combat drugs, crack down or toughen the laws.


The misuse of drugs is a serious problem in our country and contrary to popular opinion it can affect anyone who gets caught in an addictive situation. The short term effects of most drugs are not very apparent to the user making it more difficult to realize that anything is impacting them negatively at all. Researchers have discovered that the long term effects of drug use is a chemical change in a person’s brain which then causes addiction and inability to effectively stop using the drug. In fact a person who uses the drug and becomes addicted will soon require more of the drug to achieve the same effects. With a long history of substances being used dating back as far as we can follow mankind it leaves one to wonder why this is a problem now and wasn’t then. However history tells a story of human’s greed being there downfall as they created the more potent versions of once fairly safe natural drugs that we see causing addiction today. Because of these changes laws were put into place and crime rates rose when people broke these laws to achieve there next high. When laws were broken tougher laws were enacted and famous slogans arose committing to a war on drugs which were short lived as people began to realize this was more harmful than helpful. The best approach to ending the use of drugs that cause such devastation to so many Americans is to consider rehabilitation and awareness. The awareness needs to be brutally honest as the effects of using drugs are never sugarcoated and almost always lead to a premature death for the addict who is suffering. Ads on television today brutally depict this reality that many people suffering now needed to see before they decided to try drugs even once. Only time will tell if this approach will make a difference but it is necessary for the survival of mankind.

References,. (2015). Short- & Long-Term Side Effects of Crystal Methamphetamine on the Body- Drug-Free World. Retrieved 18 January 2015, from
Leonart, M. (2011). Drugs of abuse (1st ed., pp. letter from administrator,1-10). Drug Enforcement Administration. Retrieved from
Lindsey, B. (2014). Medicinal Bottles. Retrieved 18 January 2015, from
Lyman, M., & Potter, G. (1991). Drugs in society (pp. 61-124). Cincinnati, Ohio: Anderson Pub. Co.
paul,. (2015). Short- & Long-Term Effects of Marijuana - Negative Side Effects of Weed - Drug-Free World. Retrieved 18 January 2015, from
Pekannan, J. (2015). Drug-Law Enforcement Efforts. Retrieved 18 January 2015, from
schmidt, k. (2004). History of drug abuse. Retrieved 18 January 2015, from

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