Drug Policy Reform

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Drug abuse is a major problem that impacts negatively on its users and the society at multiple levels. In one way or another, substance abuse affects members of the community taking a tremendous toll on the society at large. The cost incurred to reduce the effects of substance abuse and addiction in the US alone surpasses the cost of treating terminal illnesses such as diabetes and cancer. Substance abuse costs the nation at least $484 billion per year. This cost includes healthcare expenditures, costs associated with accidents and crime, and lost earnings. Cumulatively, diabetes and cancer cost the country $400 billion annually. Furthermore, many Americans perceive drug abuse as a significant public health problem because many medical conditions…show more content…
However, the political promise of response is far-fetched. America urgently needs a drug policy reform because the current policies are failing. An ideal drug reform law is one that is grounded in evidence-based research and health and safety concerns. Dr. Carl Hart has spent almost his entire career studying the effects of drug use on the brain. According to Hart, adopting a fear-based approach to counter substance abuse and addiction is misleading and often results in a excess of other harmful effects. His assertion can be validated against a backdrop of rising drug-related violence, increase in HIV-AIDS endemics and prison overcrowding as the government tightens its grip on drug traffickers, users, and perpetrators of drug-related crimes. The US government has focused its efforts on the criminalization of drugs. Maybe it is a high time for the government to reconsider punitive drug policies that have yielded little results in a period spanning more than three decades. The government should build on the current decriminalization models that have already posted better outcomes. Decriminalization refers to the process of appealing policies and laws that define drug use and possession. This can be achieved by implementing alternatives to punitive punishment at the low level, non-violent perpetrators in…show more content…
However, it is also crucial to take the conversation to the abuse of prescription drugs such as opioids. Forty-five people die each day from an overdose of prescription painkillers. The US is the largest consumer of opioid medication. The prescription of opioid medication has quadrupled from 1990 to 2016. These statistics are frightening thus sparking the attention of those in the healthcare industry, policymakers, and the public. Several policies have been proposed to combat and slow down the endemic abuse of drug overdoses. However, for all the talk about ways of dealing with opioid abuse, there appears to be a limited discussion of the commonsense solution to preventing it from spreading. A popular policy has been a mandatory prescription of narcotic drugs for medical uses. However, it is better to address this problem from a different standpoint. Patients should not be viewed as the problem. Rather, they should be part of the solution. It should be a joint responsibility of healthcare practitioner and patients to ensure that medicine is taken as prescribed to avoid the deaths that are associated with its overdose (Volkow et al. 2065). Federal intervention also goes a long way in curbing the rising cases of prescription drug abuse. For example, the Tactical Diversion Unit of Idaho has put up a spirited fight by investigating and prosecuting defendants who have unintentionally diverted prescription drugs for
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