Due to the unprecedented expansion of the war on drugs by the Reagan administration started a long period of skyrocketing rates of incarceration. The huge number of offenders incarcerated for nonviolent drug offenders increased from 50,000 to 1980 to over 400,000 by the year 1997. In 1981, Nancy Reagan began a highly publicized antidrug campaign called “Just Say No”, as public concerns arose due to the portrayals by the media about people addicted to a smoke-able form of cocaine dubbed as “crack”. This campaign set the stage for zero tolerance policies implemented in the late 1980’s.
In his article, “Toward a Policy on Drugs,” Elliot Currie discusses “the magnitude and severity of our drug crisis” (para. 21), and how “no other country has anything resembling the American drug problem” (para. 21). The best way to describe America’s drug problem is that it is a hole continuously digs itself deeper. America’s drug issues were likely comparable to other country’s at one point in time, but today it can be blamed on the “street cultures” (para. 21) that continue to use and spread the use of illegal drugs. These street cultures transcend the common stereotype of drug users, such as low income communities in cities or welfare recipients, and can be found in every economic class and location. They are groups of people who have
The 1990’s marked the beginning of a new war on drugs. Drug abuse rates had started to increase, wider variety of drugs became more common, and more people started to use. Not a lot has changed, because drug abuse is still very common in today’s society. In the 1990s, drug usage was bad, however a lot of the drugs in today 's society were not as common. Drug abuse is not just in the big cities,the problem is all over.
Although many things seemed good in the 1980’s, there was also issues plaguing America. The drug epidemic had by then spun completely out of control. The use of narcotics like cocaine, claimed many lives and earned widespread coverage by media and news. Following this Nancy Reagan began the “War on Drugs”, a campaign to combat pre-existing drug usage and prevent future
There was improvement in many areas of the country following the crackdown on prescription drug abuse and pill mills. However, another result of the crackdownwas a diminution in the availability of prescription painkillers and the price for the painkillers on the street became more expensive.The ones who became addicted to painkillers during the pill mill epidemic then turned to heroin. The crackdown of pill mills inadvertently fueled the epidemic of heroin. “Between 2007 and 2012, heroin use rose 79 percent nationwide, according to federal data. Within the same period, the data show, 81 percent of first-time heroin users had previously abused prescription drugs” (Markon and Crites, 2014).
Brought over by chinese immigrants in the 1850’s, opium took off in the United States. Opiates are drugs used to reduce pain and were used in many different medications both prescription and over-the-counter. Morphine came about in 1803 original used for pain in civil war soldiers led to a wave of morphine addiction. Heroin was introduced in the 1900’s to help with morphine addiction. It became big in the 1930’s and 40’s due to jazz culture. Due to street heroin purity improving in the 1980’s heroin usage increased substantially in the 1990’s. (A Social History of America 's Most Popular
Underlying Causes: The increase in the sale of opioids is considered to be the root of the opioid crisis, as the drugs have been proven to be highly addictive. An addiction to prescriptive opioids, however, can lead to an addiction to synthetic, illegal opioids, such as heroine or fentanyl, which are less expensive and easier to acquire. In fact, in their journal article, “Associations of nonmedical pain reliever use and initiation of heroin use in the United States” Pradip Muhuri and associates discovered that “the recent (12 months preceding interview) heroin incidence rate was 19 times higher among those who reported prior nonmedical prescription pain reliever (NMPR) use than among those who did not (0.39 vs. 0.02 percent)” (Muhuri et. al). In other words, abusing prescription opioids significantly raises the chances of abusing illicit drugs, such as heroin. Thus, the increased prescription of addictive opiates has also helped cause the increase in addiction to illegal
In “Lee Robins’ studies of heroin use among US Vietnam veterans”, Hall and Weier examine heroin use amongst Vietnam war veterans and attempt to comprehend the multitude of factors that contributed to their use of heroin. The researchers found that Robins’ study emphasized the importance of setting when analyzing drug use amongst veterans. Robins noted that there were higher rates of drug use in Vietnam because of the availability and price of the drug. Veterans were more likely to use the drug because they wanted to “get high and deal with boredom, homesickness and disturbed sleep” (Hall and Weier 2). She also noted that veterans were less likely to use heroin after they returned from Vietnam. They attributed a lack of use to “fear of becoming addicted, experiencing adverse health affects, being arrested and the strong disapproval of friends and family (Hall and Weier 2). Zinberg’s theory of setting can be applied to this study because physical and emotional location impacts the likelihood of drug use. The use of heroin was more prevalent in Vietnam because it was normalized within society and was used as a means to get by. However, heroin use was less prevalent in the United States because of the hostile and negative setting that exists within the United States. It has been criminalized and demonized by American lawmakers as a drug that produces addiction
These pills, such as xanax and oxycodone allow people for short periods of time to withdraw from the harsh reality faced today. “Between 1997 and 2002, sales of oxycodone and methadone nearly quadrupled” (Okie). Around 15 years later and the prescription pill problem is continuing to skyrocket. Since prescription pills are dispersed out to anyone by doctors, many people do not realize that it is as much of an illicit drug as cocaine and heroin is. “Misinformation about the addictive properties of prescription opioids and the perception that prescription drugs are less harmful than illicit drugs are other possible contributors to the problem” (NIDA). When people take these synthetic heroin pills, they do not feel as though it is a drug addiction as much as it is a way for them to deal with pain, over-stimulation, and as a tranquilizer. Today, we are currently facing an epidemic with drug addiction and continuously trying to solve the problem with a war on drugs. “The U.S. spends about $51 billion a year enforcing the war on drugs, and arrests nearly 1.5 million people for drug violations, according to Drug Policy Alliance, a drug policy reform group” (Ferner). Since the United States spends so much money on this epidemic, the numbers should start to go down, but it is instead doing the opposite. It is easy to figure out the numbers through doctors, “Increases in prescription drug misuse over the last
In “How About Low-Cost Drugs for Addicts?” (1995), Louis Nizer argues that drug addiction is a serious problem and we are losing the ability to gain control over drug addiction. Nizer suggests the government should create clinics that provide drugs free or at nominal cost and be staffed by psychiatrists. The benefits of the new approach will push the mob to lose the main source of its income, the drug dealers will run out of business, and the police or other law enforcement authorities would be freed to take care of other crimes. Nizer also believes that free drugs will win the war against domestic terrorism caused by addicts. On the other hand, Nizer provides some of the opposing arguments that providing free drugs would consign a person to
Sam Quinones’ Dreamland is a commentary about the opioid problem in America. Quinones draws attention to how in the twentieth century opioids were seen as addictive: “[D]octers treating the terminally ill faced attitudes that seemed medieval when it came to opiates” (184). In the 1970s, Purdue Pharma stated that opioids such as morphine were not addictive substances. After this study was released, many doctors began to view opioids as a viable option for pain relief. Throughout the rest of the book, Quinones explains the shift from doctors never prescribing opiates to prescription opiates being used to treat any sort of pain: chronic back pain, arthritis, severe headaches, etc. Pain became the “fifth vital sign” and with everyone wanting to
Essentially, the war on drugs has demonstrated to be an exorbitant expense. The federal government in 2002 alone spent $18.822 billion in the form of expenditures such as treatment, prevention, and domestic law enforcement (CSDP, 2007, p. 54). However, given that the drug war has garnered meager results, this investment may be interpreted as a waste of taxpayer dollars. Alternatively, the money that has been allocated to arrest and detain drug offenders may also be a source of contention. CSDP (2007) “Of the 1,846,351 arrests for drug law violations in 2005, 81.7% (1,508,469) were for possession of a controlled substance. Only 18.3% (337,882) were for the sale or manufacture of a drug” (p. 23). Therefore, the individuals who are likely to enter the already overcrowded prisons may be users and the actual not distributors themselves. Thus, prison space that is intended to be reserved for murders and sexual predators is instead being occupied by substance
While the “War on Drugs” was based on political motives, (that is not the full story) as the “war on drugs” in hindsight proved itself to be a social containment strategy and ultimately a “war” on black and brown surplus people (). To understand the War on Drugs one needs to understand the cultural landscape that made the war on drugs advantageous. Ronald
This is a summary taken from “Saying Yes” by Jacob Sullum; Chapter 8; “Body and Soul”. An ever-present theme in Sullum’s book is what he calls “voodoo pharmacology”—the idea, promoted in large part by the government, that certain drugs have the power to hijack people and enslave them in an inescapable prison of craving and compulsion. Sullum seeks to show that this idea is a myth, that only a tiny percentage of illegal-drug users become addicts, whereas the vast majority of people who use illegal drugs live normal, productive, loving lives. The book is filled with valuable insights derived from deconstructing government statistics about drugs and drug use. Sullum shows how even the most vilified drugs, such as heroin and crack cocaine, are
Some may not be too familiar with the war on drugs and the effects it has had on the society we live in. The war on drugs was started by the Nixon administration in the early seventies. Nixon deemed drug abuse “public enemy number one”. This was the commencement of the war on drugs, this war has lasted to this day and has been a failure. On average 26 million people use opioids. The U.S. leads all nations in opioid usage. Another 8 million use cocaine in the U.S. this number is 3rd overall across all nations. These statistics have lead me and many others to believe the war on drugs is anything besides a success.