Dec 13, 2017 in Research

Perspective on Drugs, Alcohol and the Criminal Justice System

Drugs, alcohol and crimes are among the most urgent and depressing problems in the world. Hundred millions of lives are shattered by these poisonous substances. They do economic, social, and political damage to the producing and consuming nations. Several decades ago, the United States declared a War on Drugs, the notion refers to the attempts of the federal government to interdict and end the manufacture, sale, import, and use of illegal drugs. The War on Drugs was officially declared in 1971 by President Richard Nixon. At that time, drug abuse was considered as the major enemy in the United States. At the turn of the 20thcentury, the situation with drugs, especially the drug market, was almost unregulated. Medical remedies, which contained heroin and cocaine, were sold without any medical prescription and any notice about the drugs to the people who bought them. The same things happened to alcohol. A lot of attempts were made to abolish the production and selling of it. However, history shows no successful results.      

The use of drugs and alcohol by young people may cause many risks including health, personal, academic, relationships, safety, and the risk of addiction. One of the most significant risks is the connection between drugs, alcohol, and crime. High level of crime has been related to the amount of illegal drug use and business. Violent crimes have also increased due to clashes between dealers. However, it is believed that the relationship between alcohol, drugs and crime is very complex and multifaceted. A crime means to buy, possess, use, manufacture, or distribute illegal drugs. However, killing, fighting and other rude activities are crimes, which are mostly committed under the influence of alcohol or drugs. 

“A Brief History of Alcohol”

Alcohol is considered to be a drug, which is in the centre of many hot discussions concerning its abolition. In spite of the fact that it has a long history, there are no facts that may tell humanity about the specifics of alcohol’s discovery (Harvey & Inciardi, 1995, p.95). Beverages do not have the same relative strengths; however, standard portions of the alcohol provide the same amount of ethanol to the consumer.

Alcohol is characterized by quick absorption into bloodstream and it does not need digestion. Consequently, everybody responds differently to it. The effect of alcohol on the brain becomes evident in approximately five minutes after being consumed. Its effect is not intoxicating until the blood carries it to the brain. Alcohol absorption is facilitated by an empty stomach. It is held in body tissues and then it is broken down. Ethanol is metabolized by our liver and exhibits the toxic effects (p. 96). Alcohol has some nutritional value and contains calories. Mixed drinks have a high caloric content and may lead to fattening in case the consumer does not reduce other food intake.

 Alcohol has a negative effect on our brain. It interferes with the communication pathways, and can affect the way the brain works. Moreover, it affects our heart, liver, nervous and immune systems, and can cause a variety of diseases. However, there are a lot of discussions related to the alcohol use as the drug has been used in medicine (p. 98).

“Gateway to Nowhere: How Alcohol Came to be Scapegoated for Drug Abuse”

The “gateway” theory of drug use was incorporated by Barry McCaffrey as an integral part of the drug policy in the U.S. light drug user usually progress to heavy users, but this association does not usually establish a causal connection. It is believed that the dominant trend among the modern youth is to reduce the use of illicit drugs and to stabilize drinking. The gateway theory is counterproductive in case we consider that in some cultures alcohol is introduced at an early age and leads to the adolescent coercive treatment (Peele & Brodsky, 1997, p.100). There are a lot of reasons why people use these poisonous substances including economic and social circumstances, a public order and breakdown of moral standards (p. 104). The level of young binge drinking rises when students leave home to study at the college or university. However, this level declines after assuming adult roles.

It is obvious that drugs do not make people use them or any other drugs. But, it is true that drug users typically drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes, and use other drugs. More than half of people who experience drinking problems at an early age, display unhealthy drinking habits in the adulthood. At the same time, people who have had some experience with alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana tend to try “hard” drugs. However, these common generalizations show any relevance.

“Getting Huge, Getting Ripped: A Qualitative Exploration of Recreational Steroid Use”

The use of steroids is considered to be a national epidemic. It was in the 1950s when American athletes started to use anabolic steroids, but since 1980s, the bodies of athletic government began to monitor and sanction illegal supplementation. Professional athletes take them to keep up with the competition, improve or sustain abilities, have salary incentives and endorsements. Therefore, it is difficult to understand why armature athletes put their health at risk partaking steroids.

The study of collegiate athletes, adolescents, and professional users of steroids show that frustration is the key motivator for the steroid user. A lot of men would like to have a competitive bodybuilder appearance. They believe that hard workouts and a good diet may get them such a look. However, they become bewildered that years of training do not meet their expectations. That is the main reason why adults begin to use steroids (Petrocelli, Petrocelli, & Huge, 2010, p. 120). Hence, steroids are treated as street drugs in the U.S., which are used by an array of individuals.

“The Evolution of Drug Taking and Drug Seeking in America”

Drug problems are associated with the beginning of the 21st century in spite of the fact that coca leaves, opium, marijuana and other organic substance are known to exist thousands of years before (Inciardi & McElrath, 2010, p. 4). It is almost impossible to learn all about drug taking as the drug abuse patterns are constantly changing and shifting. Drug abuse fashions and fads come and go, leaving a lot of unanswered questions. Some of the drugs just disappear from the drug scene; however, a lot of them are still reinvented, rediscovered, repackaged, revitalized, recycled, and become a part of the drug landscape. As soon as new drugs appear, there are constant political and media claims and calls for a strengthening of the War on Drugs and other policies, which may lead to the reduction of drug use. A short drug history of America is as follows: 1930s – appearance of marijuana; 1950s – invention of heroin; 1960s – LSD; 1970s - appearance of amphetamines, powder cocaine and other prescription drugs; 1980s - the beginning of the crack epidemic; 1990s - a resurgence of prescription drug abuse. The problem with drug use appeared long ago and can not successfully be solved due to a variety of reasons.

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