Home > others > if i have the power to redefine the US’ drug policy …

if i have the power to redefine the US’ drug policy …

The current US’ drug policy basically view consumption of illegal drugs as a moral mistake, an act that consequently impacts the society in a negative way. This view is particularly evident in how the US government categorizes and defines drugs that are based on its “potential for abuse” or addiction, with Schedule 1 being those with highest potential and Schedule 5 with the lowest potential (Federal Drug, p1). Consequently, the punishments for usage of drugs are based on the same thing, with Schedule 1 receiving the harshest punishments possible and Schedule 5 the lightest (Control Substance Act, p1). Whether a drug is placed under which schedules has been highly criticized due to its inconsistencies and its tendency to be racist (Drug Policy, 2008). Not to mention, US’ programs of spraying large amounts of herbicides in the jungles of Central and South America, harming the farmers and natives below who have nothing to do with the drug trade but are left with severe health problems, food shortage issues, and robbing of their cultural heritage (Blumenson, 2002).

This is in contrast to the more liberal drug policy of Netherlands, where in the consumption of drugs is considered a health matter, therefore providing only 2 classifications: hard and soft drugs; with the government focused on health care and prevention while simultaneously directing aggressive enforcement efforts against organized crimes (Netherlands, p1). It may seem, based on these contrasting policies, the Dutch treasure individual freedom more – with their government playing no more than a background role on deciding issues of morality.

To me, a synthesis of these two contrasting drug definitions may better help society deal with the problems presented by drug addiction. I stand on my earlier definition that a certain drug should be deemed beneficial or not based on the context of how its usage aids in the survival or development of a society . This definition focuses on the capability of a certain drug to either be detrimental or good to a person as an individual and as part of a collective whole. It is guided by a principle based on harm prevention rather than frequency of usage, but still takes into consideration the societal impact of drug abuse as well as its health risks to the individual. Such a definition acknowledges that there are drugs that can be beneficial to the society, and that such benefits should be exploited. Also, an approach that centers on harm prevention would also allow more focus in educating individuals about drug abuse, treating those who are suffering from drug abuse, while also refraining from causing pain and violation of personal freedoms of other societies. If it is acknowledged that a society will never be “drug-free” since the usage of drug can be either good or bad dependent on the context of its usage, then the success of drug abuse prevention campaigns will not be measured based on percentage of users in a population, but based on decrease in diseases and deaths caused by drug abuse. Efforts will then be focused in preventing these ill effects to the society, and not on its consumption alone.

  References:

Drug Policy. Facts on File: Issues and Controversies. 11 April 2008. http://www.2facts.com.ezproxy.vccs.edu:2048/icof_story.aspx?PIN=i1300210&term=war+on+drugs

Control Substances Act. National Substance Abuse Index. http://nationalsubstanceabuseindex.org/act1970.htm

Federal Drug Classification. National Substance Abuse Index.

http://nationalsubstanceabuseindex.org/drugclass.htm

Blumenson, Eric. “How to Construct an Underclass, or How the War on Drugs Became a War on Education.” Suffolk University Law School. 1 Dec 2002

http://lsr.nellco.org/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1005&context=suffolk_fp

The Netherlands. Drug Policy Around the World.

http://www.drugpolicy.org/global/drugpolicyby/westerneurop/thenetherlan/

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