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Drugs and society have a connection in such a way that the users of drugs are the same people who make up a society. In this case, the research paper focuses on drugs, which have a negative impact on the user, and, in turn, the effects equally impact the society adversely. In this instance, society refers to the entirety of social relations between human beings. This paper expounds on the connection that exists between drugs and the social relationships of individuals. Examples of drugs include drugs acting on DNA (intercalations, strand breakers, alkylators, and chain terminators), drugs acting on membranes (channel blockers, formers), drugs acting on neurotransmitters and receptors (opiate and cholinergic receptor), and drugs acting on enzymes. All these drugs have been part and parcel of the society and, therefore, there is a need to understand the relationship that exists between the two.
This paper seeks to analyze the relationship that exists between drugs and society. The abuse of drugs has been a critical issue that calls for the concern of the entire globe. Drugs range from the easily available ones, cheap and have minimal impacts on the user to the most expensive and detrimental ones that profoundly affect the users. According to records, there is no drug more dangerous than alcohol, which is still acceptable by the society though with several cautions. Alcohol consumption seems to be acceptable in the world because of the common knowledge of its process of manufacture and contents. On the other hand, other drugs are unlawful because few people know its contents and how it is produced. Common examples of substances, which fall under the category of drugs (unlawful), include heroin, cocaine, cannabis, tobacco, etc. All drugs, soft or hard, unlawful or legal, cause societal problems to some level. Since time immemorial, there have been several campaigns worldwide that aim to fight the abuse of drugs, especially among the youth. This paper seeks to understand the connection that exists between drugs and society. The study paper will explore various aspects of drugs, who are the users in society, the impacts drugs have on society, and the steps the society has taken to curb the practice. The above sub topics will comprehensively address the connection that exists between the two subjects.
Thesis Statement: The society is intricately involved in drug use and it’s difficult to stamp out drug abuse.
In understanding the relationship that exists between drugs and society people need to have some understanding on reasons, leading to drug use. People engage in the use of drugs for various reasons, ranging from personal believe to group ideas and societal understanding. One of the principal reasons people engage in drug abuse is peer pressure. This is a common occurrence in young people as they abuse drugs so that they can fit in a certain social group. Adolescents, who seek to have an identity, have high chances of being victims of drug abuse as they try to involve themselves with the trend. These are the people who grow up depending on drugs for pleasure and this ultimately defines their identity (Mold & Berridge, 2010). On the other hand, people use drugs for medicinal purposes, and some end up getting addicted. The best category of drugs under this area is the prescription medications. This occurs mostly for the elderly populations, whose bodies are undergoing physical and psychological changes and, hence, have the need to depend on something. Unfortunately, these patients get addicted to the prescribed medications to the extent that they cannot operate normally without the drugs. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) (2002), popular abused prescription drugs include opioids, morphine derivatives and depressants.
The society is not accommodative of the drug users because of the impact of drugs on people’s health, character and social status. In most societies, drug users have the label of being delinquents and poor people who only seek to depend on other people. Labeling of drug users is even for those who have quit using the drugs and this makes it hard for the addicts to recover. In an effort to curb drug and substance abuse by individuals, the Misuse of Drugs Act was enacted, and it has been instrumental in minimizing the vice. The society raised an alarm, concerning the use of recreational drugs, and the related illegal trade. This law seemed to be effective for only a short period of time and, then, the trend went back to the initial vice. Despite the implementation of the Act, the use of drugs has not subsided and instead, there has been a rise in the illegal trade and supply of the prohibited substances. This statistic can be seen from the large number of people, imprisoned for drug related crimes, and the death of some people from the excessive use of substances. Most noteworthy is the side effect of implementing the Misuse of Drugs Act. The rate of crime in society grew by a high margin. It becomes more disturbing, when the offenders of drug abuse serve their sentence term and get released to the society. They receive no support from the society and there are chances that they will fall back to the same felony. In the end, drug abuse practices become a cycle that the society cannot break (Chaffin, Kelleher, & Hollenberg 1996).
Reasons for society’s high alarm on drugs
In the society, most members have a knack for harmful drugs. The best case scenario is the desire people have for alcohol and, the society is accommodating of alcohol use. Unknowingly, people believe that heroin is responsible for high mortalities, but alcohol claims more lives than heroine. According to medics, heroine users possess exceptionally high tolerance levels compared to alcohol consumers. The main cause of death among heroin users is overdose. The relationship between society and drugs comes from the sale and dispensation of the drugs. This is the main reason for the society to be alarmed and label drug use as illegal and unhealthy. The society’s main concern is that lack of restriction on the sale and dispensation of the drugs poses dangers to the whole society and, therefore, the urgent need to ban the use of drugs (Mold & Berridge, 2010).
There have been arguments in the society on whether legalization of drugs use and sell would bring about any differences. The response to this argument is always that the statistics will remain the same with minimal variances. Legalization of drugs will mean people can buy drugs but only through legal sources. Advocators of this ideology believe that buying from legal sources will remove key criminal resources, and hence, significantly trim down crime levels (Courtwright, 1991). Having in place laws that allow the sale and use of drugs would cut off any curtails, which deal with the illegal drugs, and hence, make it known who and where the drugs are found. On the other hand, legalization of drug use in other countries such as Holland has not yielded many results, with illegal sales of cannabis still on the rise. The reason behind this trend is that those individuals making money through the sale of banned substances continue ruling the market. Such persons not willing to give up their businesses, and they continue to support the black market.
Another school of thought contends that legalization of drug sale will only provide a leeway for criminals to find other ways of making money, for instance, money laundering. Further argument by society, concerning legal drug markets, is that people may develop and sell more dangerous and potent drugs than those already existing in the market. For example, drug dealers may start selling fentanyl instead of heroin, which is stronger and lethal just because there is a free, legal market. Recent developments reveal that the society already knows how to manufacture more potent opiates than those already on the market. From these observations, it is evident that the fight against banned substances is tough. The impact of drugs on the society should be considered.
Impact of Drugs on the Society
Drug and substance abuse affects the society in several ways, and this ranges from economic impact to social impact. The impact, drugs have on society, enormously defines the relationship that exists between the two. In reference to the seriousness of drugs abuse, the importation of illicit drugs in the US comes second after the import of petroleum. This means that the drug and substance business is a weighty one and the dealers keep increasing day by day. According to NIDA, drug abuse has an economic impact of up to 67 billion dollars per year, a very high figure. This is a high cost, and it comprises costs, associated with crime, medical costs, drug abuse treatment, social welfare programs, and time wasted from work. Drug use is a crime and the government together with the society invests lots of funds in trying to contain crime (Mold & Berridge, 2010). There are several departments set up to counter drug related crimes, and the personnel, working under these sections, require funds to work effectively. In the event, there were no drug related crimes than this expenditure would not be incurred, and hence, cost cutting by the society and government. Citizens, abusing drugs, need medical attention, and this brings about medical costs, which the society has a communal role of covering. People check into hospitals with cases of drug overdose. The costs, incurred in treatment and rehabilitation, is overwhelming. The doctors and nurses in charge of these people require maintenance, which is under medical costs. In addition, the society has set up several social welfare programs, which aim at rehabilitating drugs victims. The operation costs of these social welfare programs are from the government, and the society provides the man power to support the programs. All these costs add up to economical impacts, which come from people, abusing drugs and substances, which eventually cost the government and society.
Another notable impact of drugs on the society is the social and legal impacts, which cover the principal part. Most noteworthy, the presence and use of drugs increase the crime rates in any society. According to studies by United States National Institute of Justice, crime and drugs tend to interrelated. Most drugs addicts have a tendency to engage in criminal activities as they need to finance their addiction (Kelley, 2006). Most drug users are poor, and for them to access funds to support their drug habit, they engage in petty crimes, and eventually get tied to massive crimes. These crimes are the ones, which pose dangers to the security of any society, and hence, an alarm for the ban of drug use.
Drugs have an impact on the mortality rate of the society. Most people, who use drugs, have either lost their lives or become incapacitated such that they end up being dependent on the society. In 2003, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention accounts for more than 25,000 people who have succumbed due to drug related effects. Further reports show that 123,235 adults are living with HIV, which was contracted through intravenous injection of drugs. In this case, the survival of these HIV victims is minimal, compared to those who contract the disease through other means of transmission. Citing the Hazleden Foundation records, drugs and alcohol account for close to 52% of all traffic fatalities. This is according to road casualty statistics that indicate that a majority of victims test positive for drugs. For instance, marijuana users increase their chances of getting involved in road accidents by at least 2- 4 %. In the United States alone, 47% of all women, diagnosed with HIV, are injecting drug users and another 19% contract the disease through sexual interaction with injecting drug users. This means that society loses several potential work forces to drugs, and in the event, they end up being psychotic (Rose, 1996).
According to research studies on drug abuse, few people, who use cannabis, die but, on the other hand, they have greater chances of becoming psychotic. For this reason, people propose for the society to legalize cannabis, but, the paramount question is whether it is possible to have a nation that allows the use of certain drugs. As indicated earlier, some drugs are medicinal, but, the users tend to abuse them to the extent that they have a negative effect on their lives. The perfect example of such a drug is a psycho stimulant, which has a therapeutic impact on children, suffering from deficit hyperactivity disorder (Rose, 1996). In this case, it acts as a cognitive enhancer, which increases their concentration span, permitting them to concentrate better. In addition, the psycho stimulant drug helps the pilots to calm their nerves and ensure optimal performance. Unfortunately, when other people get hold of this drug, they misuse and abuse it to the extent that it becomes a health hazard. This proves that legalization of illicit substances with useful properties is not plausible.
The above social, legal, and economic impacts of drugs to the society indicate the relationship that exists between the society and drugs. In further understanding of the subject, the reasons as to why the society fears the presence of drugs amongst its members should be analyzed. The greatest fear of the society in relation to drugs is that there is minimal awareness on the adverse effects of drugs. There is the risk of consuming impure drugs since illicit drugs do not conform to standards. No society member is aware of the production process of drugs in supply, hence, the highly publicized campaign do not address this issue (Clunies, 1996). The drug users seem to be unconcerned about the content substances they consume and focus more on the immediate effects the drugs have on the mind.
Society’s concern on drug use
Society is split by the drug culture. For instance, there are several cases of stereotyping drug addicts, and often this complicates their reintegration into the society. The society’s key concern is mainly on the social and health problems, linked with drugs use. The government diverts funds for upkeep of drug addicts. It is a disturbing issue to the society, when the government declares that there are no sufficient resources to help deal with drug problems, including tobacco and alcohol. Of the total funds, set aside for dealing with drug addiction problems, 70 and 90% of the funds goes to the criminal justice system (Musto, 1991). There is widespread support for funds to be channeled to rehabilitation programs of drug addicts. Equal attention needs to be paid to recovering drug addicts as arresting drug dealers and users. In addition, the funds can be used to educate young people about the effects and dangers of drug taking.
There are scholars in the society who have the capacity of developing safe drugs that maybe useful to drug users. The big question the society still asks is how safe are ‘safe drugs’? With the advancement of chemistry, thousands of different molecules can be manufactured in three dimensional space but they will all have different impacts, resulting from receptor specificity. It is evident that people can produce many variants of diverse drugs, so they can invent drugs, which have fewer side effects (Musto, 1991).
Another relationship that exists between drugs and society is the impact of the nature of society on the use of drugs. Characteristics of the societies, in which young people stay, play a significant role in influencing aspects of their drug use behavior. Different researches report on the various factors, involved in describing higher levels of hard drug use, cannabis, and delinquency amongst young people. For example, there are higher levels of drug use in societies, which face socio-economic deprivation, physical disorder, and social stress. Composition of the population also highly contributes to the level of drug use in societies. Majorly, acceptability and availability of drugs in societies increase the chances people engaging in drug and alcohol abuse. In reference to data from the American National Youth Survey, residing in societies with high perceptions of disorder was a significant risk factor for people, using drugs. Disordered societies provide a ground, on which young people can initiate, establish, and maintain drug use as such areas lack potential social controls with regard to standards, relating to drug use. It is, therefore, the role of the society for set guidelines and rules, which will not accommodate drug use and abuse (Kelley, 2006).
It is evident that there exists a strong bond between drugs and society, which is inseparable. This relationship mainly concerns the adverse effects of drugs on the society. Illicit drug use impacts on the economy, social aspects and health of the society. In accordance with the characteristics/culture of society, the society sets some guidelines and rules, which are helpful in curbing drug and substance abuse amongst its members.
The society needs to be accommodating and optimistic of the drug attitudes. Moreover, drug addicts need adequate support to quit their habits. Drug addicts need social and emotional support from the members of the society. Rehabilitation programs should be accessible to drug addicts. There is a need for the society to come up with ways, in which drug use can be minimized and these ways need to involve every citizen. Every society has drug users and, therefore, any program, which aims at curbing drug use, needs to involve every member of the society. For instance, the school syllabus needs to have courses that teach the effects of drug abuse and use. This will ensure that mobilization of drug abuse starts at a tender age for every individual. The social welfare programs need to be accessible to every person and be well equipped for their quick recovery.