Drug Addiction: a Hobby or a Disease

Jade Johnson November 30, 2010 SA 5005 Social Welfare Policy and Services Drug Addiction: A Hobby or a Disease What is Drug Addiction Whether talking about any drug addiction: alcohol addiction, cocaine addiction, methamphetamine addiction, or even heroin addiction, the pattern is the same, the person tries to escape some physical or emotional pain by taking drugs. This could be a physical or emotional pain, or the discomfort of boredom, peer pressure, and/or lack of social skills. The person finds that the drugs offer temporary relief, so continues to abuse them.

When the person uses the drugs it seems to handle their immediate problem. With continued use of the drug, the body’s ability to produce certain chemicals is diminished because these chemicals are replaced by the drug. The body uses the drug as a substitute for it’s own natural chemicals. Deprived of it’s own resources (and the ability to create them) the body perceives that it needs the drug to function and demands the drug, through physical cravings. The cravings are a way of making the person get more drugs to be able to function at all.

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Drug cravings become so severe that the addict will do almost anything (in many cases, abandoning all previous moral teachings) to get more of the drug. People who are addicted will find themselves doing things they would never have contemplated before. The addict commits misdeeds against family, friends, and themselves to satisfy unrelenting cravings. These misdeeds include lying, stealing, cheating, and just about anything to get the drugs to satisfy the drug cravings. Because of these misdeeds, the person is now entrapped in full blown drug addiction. Waiting will not help a drug addict.

No matter what they say, if they have not quit using drugs by now, they won‘t, not without help. Drug Addiction Statistics Heroin Statistics In 1999 heroin and morphine usage was the reason of 51% accidental deaths from drugs, reported Drug Abuse Warning Network, or DAWN. Heroin is a drug to which it’s easy to get used. It’s taking is an important problem in the US. Statistics shows that over 600,000 people are to be cured of addiction to heroin. Current informal data tell us that people prefer to smoke or to snort heroine because they are sure this form of usage won’t cause addiction to the drug.

Besides the impact of the drug itself, street-solved heroin may have additional components that don’t dissolve completely and result in blood channels’ blocking, this can affect the ability of lungs, liver, kidneys or brain to work. This can be the reason for death of some vitally important parts’ cells. The amount of visits to ED, relating with heroine/morphine usage has grown for 15 percent, from 84,409 to 97,287. The way of taking drugs among individuals has changed in a way. In 1993, 74% of heroin addicts were those who took the drug with a syringe. By 1999, this number has lessened to 66%.

The snorting way to take the drug has grown from 23% in 1993 to 28% in 1999. In 2000, the statistics of DAWN showed that emergency room episodes related with heroine have grown for 15% since last year. In 2001 wholesale prices for this kind of drug in South America varied from $50,000 to $250,000 per kilogram. Wholesale prices for heroin in Southwest and Southeast Asia varied from $35,000 to $120,000 per kilogram, the price for Mexican heroin varied from $15,000 to $65,000 per kilogram. Street heroine costs $10 per dose, but the prices are different in different regions of the country.

The heroin drug-taker has to pay $150 to $250 a day to support his/her addiction to the substance. Crack Cocaine Statistics As the US Sentencing Commission reports, only 5. 5% of imprisoned individuals have a large business in selling the drug. Over 100 years after cocaine was firstly taken a new hybrid of drugs became popular. This hybrid, crack, is spread over the world in mid-1980s because of its low price and the easy way to produce and purchase it. Crack is a derivate of cocaine which is easy to get used to and usually taken in form of smoking.

The word crack, used to name the drug, is due to its crackling when it’s burnt for the concentration of sodium bicarbonate, which is used in its producing. In 2001 2% of surveyed college pupils and 4. 7% of juveniles and young grown-ups (age range 19-28) told they had taken crack cocaine at least one time during their lives. Cocaine strongly influences individual’s nervous system. The impact of cocaine and crack usage is ruined blood channels, high temperature, heart rate and blood pressure. Addicts can feel tiredness, anger and anxiety after using it.

According to federal law, low-level crack merchants and those who were seized for the first time for selling crack cocaine can pass 10 years and six months in prison. Ecstasy Statistics In July 2000, 16 boxes including 2. 1 million ecstasy pills, the cost of which is approximately $41 million, were taken by the US Customs Service at Los Angeles International Airport. The examinations show that individuals who have taken ecstasy at least 25 times decreased the contents of serotonin in their organism for a period of a year after the last usage. About 5. 5% of adults, ages 19 through 22 reported they have taken ecstasy this year.

Episodes in emergency rooms related with ecstasy grew all over the nation from 250 in 1994, to 637 in 1997, to 1,142 in 1998, to 2,850 in 1999. Denver, Minneapolis/St. Paul and Texas are the places were the amount of individuals subjected to curing of primary MDMA drug addiction is gradually growing. The most MDMA tablets’ production is concentrated in Belgium and the Netherlands, but some groups tried to found secret MDMA laboratories in CEWG places as Minneapolis, San Diego, and regions of Michigan and South Florida. For juveniles in grades 10 through 12,this year, for increasing level of MDMA usage is already the second one.

The usage of MDMA was 1. 7 percent in 1999 and 3. 1 percent in 2000. Ecstasy addicts surveyed, ages 12 through 25, have already taken other illegal drugs in comparison with the statistics of those who didn’t take it. Marijuana Statistics According to statistics, 141 million people all over the world take marijuana. Among juveniles from ages 12 through 17 the average age of first marijuana usage is 14 years old. The information received has revealed that people who are addicted to effective usage of marijuana lack the same amount of coordination as individuals who have taken too much alcohol.

Normal coordination reflexes, such as driving for an example, are lessened for 41% after using 1 joint and for 63% after using 2 joints. Marijuana contains 421 chemical components, 60 of which are the feature of only this substance. In California marijuana is the largest part of state’ income. Of Canadians, 600,000 inhabitants have been accused of criminal affair just for carrying marijuana. For 65% of people who were imprisoned for marijuana related affairs, the reason of arrest was the carrying of the drug. Over 50,000 of Canadian inhabitants are imprisoned every year for criminal affairs related with marijuana. Society and Addiction

While some individuals are more predisposed to blatant addictions than are others, we are not so concerned with differentiating between people here as we are with suggesting how deeply the addictive pattern of relating to our environment is woven into the fabric of our society. Addiction is indeed a major social problem, and not just for the substantial minority of illicit drug users and the majority using some popular drug or another addictively. Addiction to heroin, cocaine, alcohol, marijuana, cigarettes, coffee, and so on, only scratches the surface of the overall addiction problem in North American and Western society generally.

When Drug Addiction was First Recognized as a Social Problem and it’s Contributing Factors It has become common to point out that when young people resort to marijuana and LSD they are only following the example of their elders, who lean so heavily on alcohol, medically prescribed stimulants, and the daily stimulation of coffee and cigarettes. This analysis is accurate, but does not go deep enough. Why do we have such a drug dependent society in the first place? At least part of the reason is that our way of life does not allow for enough joy and competence.

Some of the social conditions responsible for these deficiencies came into being with the industrialization and bureaucratization of economic life in the 19th century. Today we are fortunate if we are able to find work that we like, rarely can we initiate our own enterprises. We work and live in the shadow of institutional bureaucracies which we can hardly hope to influence, and our physical environment is made up of elaborate mechanical objects which most of us do not understand. And so our most basic contacts with the world are mediated by technicians, clerks, and repairmen.

This is most damaging to us when it is our own bodies that we give over to the repairman. We lose touch with ourselves when we lose touch with the self-regulation of our bodies through diet, exercise, and nature’s healing processes. Instead of being in tune with the natural physical rhythms of a normal human existence, we grow up learning to eat too much, to avoid physical exertion, and to run to the doctor whenever some variation in our biological functioning occurs. And the doctor in turn encourages us, mainly because we want him to, to overuse drugs.

Our reliance on official medicine is an unwholesome compound, made up of one part drug dependence and one part reverence for professionally certified experts. Both of these are crutches, solutions external to ourselves. And now we are even placing the medical profession, in the form of psychiatry, in charge of our spiritual existence, our psychic as well as our physical well-being. The Scope of the Problem and Government’s Response The relationship between addiction and the loss of personal bearing in an institutionalized society extends throughout the modern Western world.

Nonetheless, it is only in America among Western countries that heroin addiction has become an unmanageable social problem. It was only in America that a concerted bureaucratic campaign, involving government, law, and medicine, inflamed the public with fear and loathing of the drug and its users. And it was there that the physiological myth of drug dependence, the idea that the individual’s independent will is powerless before the inexorable action of a drug, was fervently propagated and maintained. Thomas Szasz attributes this costly irrationality to our pervasive ambivalence bout personal autonomy and responsibility. This ambivalence has been especially pronounced in America because of a cultural conflict between the accelerating institutionalization of life which began in the mid 19th century and the ideal of individualism which Americans had believed in as a sort of national creed and had tried, with questionable success, to live up to since the first colonies were founded on this side of the Atlantic. Americans were responsive to opium because it was introduced into the country at a time when some lulling antidote to this growing gap between ideal and fulfillment was very much needed.

Opiates came to be used addictively, and addiction came to be associated with opiates because this most powerful of the analgesics, pain killers, arrived at a moment when Americans were threateningly sensitized to both the allure and the shame of passive submission and escapism. It is worth pondering that the two decades which saw the largest increase in opium importation into the US, 1890-1910, began with the closing of the frontier, symbolic of the death of classic American individualism.

To be aware of the full extent of addiction in America and the Western world generally is to recognize that it cannot be eliminated except by a global change in the quality of our lives, which in turn requires major political and economic readjustments. Short of that, an awareness of the dimensions of addiction can help us deal with it constructively either for ourselves or for others whom we are trying to help. For example, while one addiction may be less destructive or more socially acceptable than another, it is ultimately not the answer to treat one addiction by substituting another.

For instance, government has tried to respond by designing federally funded programs geared toward rehabilitating heroin addicts by substituting one addictive drug for another, methadone for heroin, or dependence on Alcoholics Anonymous for dependence on alcohol. The Effects Drug Addicted Parents Have on Their Children The growing number of children being raised by parents suffering from a drug addiction appears to have become an epidemic in today’s society. As a product of such a household, I feel the need to explore this issue in depth s it has impacted my life in many ways. Drug addiction has genetic and environmental causes. Also, there are serious consequences for children who live in homes where the parents are battling a drug addiction. Children of addicts are at risk of developing serious health, behavior, and emotional problems. Each child within these homes are affected differently and fortunately, some children can and will do well despite the problems. However, I know from experience that although it is possible to succeed and overcome such adversity, it is extremely difficult to do so.

Moreover, if the children within these homes are residing in an environment where failing is the way of life, the likelihood of these children succeeding is very minute. Speaking from my personal experience, I would have to argue that the child welfare system that most governments have in place is the blame for many of the children who have been subjected to these atmospheres. I believe that the child welfare system has allowed these children to remain in the homes of drug addicted parents for many years because of the lack of state funds allocated for state programs that are designed to find placements for children in need of assistance.

In addition, the social workers assigned to many of these cases are trained to direct permanency plans toward reunification. Unfortunately, once a parent has met minimal standards set by a court, the child is sent back home and all state monitoring will cease. As a result, most of those children reunited with parents will re-enter the system before age eighteen and be forced to start the cycle of displacement again. In essence, the drug addicted parents who are parenting poorly and causing adverse effects on their children, are not alone in the development of this social problem.

I believe that society’s most vulnerable group of individuals, children, have been neglected by government as it relates to this social problem. Laws that directly relate to “The War on Drugs! ” The Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970 It is my belief that congress has been regulating the importation and manufacture of drugs since the early 1900s. Criminal penalties for unauthorized possession of drugs began with the Narcotics Act of 1914 (the Harrison Act). In 1951 the Boggs Amendment instituted mandatory minimum entences and eliminated parole or probation after the first offense. The Narcotic Control Act of 1956, known as the Daniel Act, increased the minimums. The increase in drug use during the 1960s resulted in numerous long sentences and led the federal government to reexamine its punitive approach. In 1965 Congress enacted the Drug Abuse Control Amendments (DACA). DACA established a Bureau of Drug Abuse Control (BDAC) within the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW, later Health and Human Services).

The law created misdemeanor penalties (that is, generally speaking, a penalty not more than one year in prison and/or fine) for illegal manufacture and sale of certain depressants, stimulants, hallucinogens, and other drugs that had not been covered under the Harrison Act and its amendments. The HEW thus gained responsibility for curbing the abuse of the newly prohibited “psychedelic” drug called LSD. The Federal Bureau of Narcotics (FBN, an agency of the Department of the Treasury) retained authority over many other drugs, including heroin, cocaine, and marijuana.

Many applauded the emergence of a multifaceted approach to the drug problem. But those who were committed to the criminal justice model of drug enforcement (generally, favoring the benefits to society of strict punishment over the benefits to the criminal of efforts at rehabilitation) were not satisfied. In February 1968 President Lyndon Johnson called the laws “a crazy quilt of inconsistent approaches and widely disparate criminal sanctions. ” He asked Congress to pass tougher laws and to create a powerful organization to enforce them.

On April 8, 1968, Congress abolished the FBN and the BDAC and created a new Justice Department agency, the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs (BNDD). Even after the creation of the BNDD, however, there remained other federal agencies involved somewhat in drug regulation. President Richard Nixon proposed that Congress reduce the confusion over policy and the duplication of effort by federal agencies by combining disparate regulations into a single statute. Congress complied by enacting the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970. Nixon signed the bill on October 27, 1970, and it became effective on May 1, 1971.

The Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970 is a United States federal law that, with subsequent modifications, requires the pharmaceutical industry to maintain physical security and strict record keeping for certain types of drugs. Controlled substances are divided into five schedules (or classes) on the basis of their potential for abuse, accepted medical use, and accepted safety under medical supervision. Substances in Schedule I have a high potential for abuse, no accredited medical use, and a lack of accepted safety. From Schedules II to V, substances decrease in potential for abuse.

The schedule a substance is placed in determines how it must be controlled. Prescriptions for drugs in all schedules must bear the physician’s federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) license number, but some drugs in Schedule V do not require a prescription. State schedules may vary from federal schedules. The legislation sought a balanced approach to the nation’s drug problem. For example, Title I of the Comprehensive Act dealt with education, treatment, and rehabilitation funded by the state. This provides guidance to those addicts in need of assistance. Major Features of the Act

Title II, of the CSA was the heart of the new statute. This established five schedules that ranked substances by balancing potential for abuse against medical usefulness. Drugs on Schedule One, including heroin, marijuana, and LSD, were deemed to have a high potential for abuse but no accepted medical use. Penalties were tied to the schedules, and violations were also ranked, with, for example, simple possession receiving a lesser punishment than possession with intent to distribute. Finally, Congress responded to criticism of mandatory minimum sentences for drug violations.

Possession of a controlled substance for one’s own use (that is, without an intent to distribute) was made a misdemeanor. Judges were given the discretion to place first-time, simple possession offenders on probation. This portion of the act directs consequences to those directly and indirectly involved in the distribution and trafficking of both illegal and legal narcotics intended for illegal use. The Controlled Substances Act (CSA), Title II of the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970, is the legal foundation of the government’s fight against the abuse of drugs and other substances.

This law is a consolidation of numerous laws regulating the manufacture and distribution of narcotics, stimulants, depressants, hallucinogens, anabolic steroids, and chemicals used in the illicit production of controlled substances. The act also provides a mechanism for substances to be controlled, added to a schedule, decontrolled, removed from control, rescheduled, or transferred from one schedule to another. The CSA has been amended dozens of times since is original enactment. In 1974, Congress enacted the Narcotic Addict Treatment Act of 1974, which allows practitioners to dispense narcotics for detoxification and similar purposes.

Other amendments to the CSA have established federally funded prevention and treatment programs, including drug awareness education programs. Proceedings to add, delete, or change the schedule of a drug or other substance may be initiated by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), or by petition from any interested party, including the manufacturer of a drug, a medical society or association, a pharmacy association, a public interest group concerned with drug abuse, a state or local government agency, or an individual citizen.

When a petition is received by the DEA, the agency begins its own investigation of the drug. The DEA also may begin an investigation of a drug at any time based upon information received from law enforcement laboratories, state and local law enforcement and regulatory agencies, or other sources of information. Arrests and incarceration in the United States The United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world. A very large portion of people who are incarcerated are imprisoned for drug-related crimes. In 1994, it was reported that the “War on Drugs” results n the incarceration of one million Americans each year. Of the related drug arrests, about 225,000 are for possession of cannabis, the fourth most common cause of arrest in the United States. In 2008, 1. 5 million Americans were arrested for drug offenses and 500,000 were imprisoned. In the 1980s, while the number of arrests for all crimes was rising 28%, the number of arrests for drug offenses rose 126%. The United States has a higher proportion of its population incarcerated than any other country in the world for which reliable statistics are available, reaching a total of 2. million inmates in the U. S. in 2005. Among the prisoners, drug offenders made up the same percentage of state prisoners in both 1997 and 2004 (21%). The percentage of Federal prisoners serving time for drug offenses declined from 63% in 1997 to 55% in 2004. The US Department of Justice, reporting on the effects of state initiatives, has stated that, from 1990 through 2000, “the increasing number of drug offenses accounted for 27% of the total growth among black inmates, 7% of the total growth among Hispanic inmates, and 15% of the growth among white inmates. In addition to prison or jail, the United States provides for the deportation of many non-citizens convicted of drug offenses. Federal and state policies also impose collateral consequences on those convicted of drug offenses, such as denial of public benefits or licenses, that are not applicable to those convicted of other types of crime. Marijuana constitutes almost half of all drug arrests, and between 1990 and 2002, out of the overall drug arrests, 82% of the increase was for marijuana. Sentencing disparities in the United States

In 1986, the U. S. Congress passed laws that created a 100 to 1 sentencing disparity for the possession or trafficking of crack when compared to penalties for trafficking of powder cocaine, which had been widely criticized as discriminatory against minorities, mostly blacks, who were more likely to use crack than powder cocaine. This 100:1 ratio had been required under federal law since 1986. Persons convicted in federal court of possession of 5 grams of crack cocaine received a minimum mandatory sentence of 5 years in federal prison.

On the other hand, possession of 500 grams of powder cocaine carries the same sentence. In 2010, the Fair Sentencing Act cut the sentencing disparity to 18:1. Crime statistics show that in 1999 the United States blacks were far more likely to be targeted by law enforcement for drug crimes, and received much stiffer penalties and sentences than non-minorities. Those same statistics also show that such events were far more likely to take place in areas with high minority crime: low income housing neighborhoods and city projects.

Statistics from 1998 show that supposedly there were wide racial disparities in arrests, prosecutions, sentencing and deaths. African-American drug users made up for 35% of drug arrests, 55% of convictions, and 74% of people sent to prison for drug possession crimes. Nationwide, African-Americans were sent to state prisons for drug offenses 13 times more often than other races, even though they only supposedly comprised 13% of regular drug users. Singapore’s Death Penalty for Drug Trafficking

If you are flying into Singapore’s gorgeous Changi Airport, you might hear a message like this before you land: “We would like to remind you that Singapore does not tolerate illegal drugs. The penalties for using and trafficking in illegal drugs are severe and may include the death penalty. ” Highlights of Singapore’s drug policies The Misuse of Drugs Act in Singapore allows the police to search anyone they deem to be suspicious of drug use or trafficking without a warrant. Police can demand a urinalysis, and the failure to comply carries an automatic presumption of guilt.

A conviction for trafficking of drugs (which means anyone carrying a certain amount of drugs such as more than 500 grams of cannabis, 30 grams of cocaine, or 15 grams of heroin) carries a mandatory death penalty. Thanks to these laws, in 2004, Amnesty International calculated that Singapore had more executions per capita than any country in the world. In 2005, a young Australian was executed for carrying 400 grams of heroin despite rallies and protests in Australia against the execution. In 2009, 1883 people were arrested on drug charges.

This represented a modest decrease of 2% and allowed the Central Narcotics Bureau to claim that it had drug use under control. Obviously, people continue to use drugs in Singapore. Their prohibition approach is diametrically opposed to that, for example, of the Netherlands, which uses an approach referred to as “harm reduction. ” Those who believe in harm reduction take the approach that drug use will always happen, drug users should be treated not as criminals but as people with social or medical problems, and drug maintenance offers a safer and more beneficial overall model for society than prohibition.

For example, the Dutch would treat heroin use as an illness and provide rehabilitation instead of treating them as criminals and providing incarceration. The Singapore position is that the drug penalty for trafficking is a deterrent and saves many lives. In a much discussed current case, a 22 year old Malaysian, Yong Vui Kong was sentenced to the death penalty in 2008 for having 47. 27 grams of heroin (the mandatory penalty for over possession of over 15 grams). His lawyers filed an appeal in March 2010 and a the appeal was denied on May 14.

Recently, in response to questions at an open dialogue sessions, Law Minister K. Shanmugam defended Singapore’s policies in a recent article in The Straits Times. According to the news report, he considers cities that have needle exchange programs (an example of harm reduction) have “given up on it” and he cites the “number of lives that have been spoilt” as a result of drugs. He claims that parents are glad that their children do not have access to drugs in Singapore.

In response to criticisms of the Singapore’s policies, he is quoted as having said “You won’t have human rights people standing up and saying: ‘Singapore, you’ve done a great job, having most of your people free of drugs. ’ You won’t hear about how many thousands of lives are lost to drugs in other countries” or how many lives have been saved in Singapore thanks to our drug laws. The article mentions that Singapore is an air and sea hub in South Asia near other drug centers and without its strict drug policy it could have been “swamped” with drugs.

The Minister added, “Yong Vui Kong is young, but if we say ‘We let you go’, what is the signal we’re are sending? ” Some think this policy is in keeping with other mandated bans such as spitting and chewing gum, and certain DVDs such as “Borat,” “A Clockwork Orange,” and “South Park. ” However, prostitution is legal in Singapore, though brothels, pimps, and public solicitation for sex are illegal. Of course, not all Singaporeans agree with the death penalty for drugs as you can see from the sidebar picture.

The harshness of the drug penalties in Singapore seem to be a sharp contrast to those in the North America, but the U. S. also bans drugs and has mandatory sentencing laws, but not the death penalty. This is called the “War on Drugs” in the U. S. Many claim this “War” has contributed, if not directly caused, the waves of violence that are rampant in Mexico and some U. S. cities today and the ban itself causes more harm than the drugs. However, not even the most fervent drug warriors have suggested the death penalty would work in the U. S. At least not yet.