Drug abuse

Drug abuse is an evident problem in today’s society, particularly in Britain which has the highest number of drug deaths in Europe. This issue causes the destruction of thousands of lives every year, not only those who are taking the drugs, but the surrounding people, friends and family also suffer. The money and means required to supply these drugs is derived from crime which harms millions of others, through theft, fraud, forgery, and other crimes. Despite government attempt of control this predicament has only grown in recent years with drug users increasing.

Something drastic needs to be done about it before something drastic happens. On the Tuesday 1st August 2006, an article was published in The Independent showing new research which the government has taken little notice of as it is highly controversial. It emphasises the punishment system for drug abuse. In this article there is a table representing the drugs available on today’s market, the number of users, the number of deaths caused by the drug and also a point scoring system showing exactly how dangerous it is.

This information shows illegal drugs such as ecstasy and L. S. D. which are both Class A drugs low down in the list in terms of danger. Some legal drugs which appear to be more socially acceptable such as alcohol and tobacco appear more dangerous. This strikes me as suprising mainly because these drugs are far easier to access, more people use them with less dangerous effects and the government is not as strict with regards to regulations with drugs such as tobacco as they are with drugs like ecstasy. The reason behind this is because of the danger rating.

Some legal drugs which are socially acceptable are classed as more dangerous because they cause more deaths than some illegal drugs because they have more users. The article also states that class A, B, C are no longer appropriate. And it also states that the whole legislation system for drug abuse including dealing needs an overhaul. However it is not clear from the articles how the scientific evidence of harm is decided e. g. statistics are missing for Ketamine, Buprenorphine, 4-MTA and Methylphenidate. Therefore it is not clear how the danger rating was calculated. Due to this the information cannot be declared as completely reliable.

The first article stating that “drug classes have little link to dangers” shows that some drugs appear less dangerous and anti-social than the Governments classification system suggest. Such examples include ecstasy, LSD and 4-MTA. Other drugs such as alcohol and tobacco appear to be more dangerous that the Government has said. The second article by Martin Barnes states that the Government has been reluctant to change the laws regarding the classification of drugs because it does not want to offend people who use tobacco and alcohol as there are many users of such drugs.

Furthermore, it does not want to seem lenient on drugs which are currently illegal. These issues could affect the Governments political status and it does not want to lose any votes. These two articles are conveying the same message: Britain needs a more up-to-date system to deal with drug abuse. The old system in place since 1971 is inappropriate for the 21st century and needs to be updated. This old system is inadequate for the demands of modern day society and the policies concentrating on punishment need to be amended.

In the article published on Friday 2nd June 2006 also from the Independent shows a different approach, suggesting that Britain should abolish its tough policy which punishes drug users and help them instead. In Zurich the number of drug users has fallen radically following the liberalisation of drug laws concerning Heroin. Rather than the addicts having to turn to crime to feed their drug habit, the government is eliminating the option of illegal drugs by using substitution treatment, providing them with the drug in order to reduce drug related crime.

The users are also protected because they are not exposed to infection as they are not likely to share needles. As a result of this young people’s attitudes to Heroin has changed because the attitudes associated with heroin has changed from “rebellion” to “illness” and Heroin is not held in such high esteem. This is reverse psychology, when a person is told not to take an illegal drug; they are going to take it. If the drug is illegal they are not going to take it, as there is no thrill from being rebellious and doing the opposite.

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