War on Drugs

Discussion of the problem

Drug abuse and addiction has evolved as a global problem affecting the young and the old. Large sections of people are turning to drugs as a way of running away from the specific problems. The fact that addiction may be unexpected is a further struggle as people get used to certain illegal substances. It implies that some people become addicted to drugs out of accidental means. In fact, some indirect instances when one absorbs the substance passively will also present an addiction crisis. The implications of drug and substance abuse must also not be overlooked as individuals grapple multiple forms of psychological, social, and physical challenges. The psychological results will often manifest with suppression of the capacity of the individual, mostly intellectually. The victim will also tend to experience emotional pain. The social issues imply isolation and withdrawal from society. On the other hand, physical results may be demonstrated in terms of poor health. However, there is a further crisis regarding the foundations and methods of dealing with drug abuse. A glimpse of the existing statistics regarding the spread and vulnerability of the drug addicts reveals primary void regulation (Félix & Portugal, 2017). The relevant parties including the state, activists, and the medical professionals have failed in the role to fight the universal epidemic. In fact, specific policies may be incentives as opposed to solutions to the global problem.

Discussion of the policy enacted to address this policy

The current policies and the framework that has been used over the years entail the criminalization of drug abused and trafficking. Since the issues at hand is a universal problem, most countries have certain harsh treatments for the offenders (Kilmer, Midgette & Saloga, 2015). It may be in the form of prison time, community services, or both.  The unifying factor is that countries are keen on dealing with the individuals that enhance the usage of drugs. America is often the leader in the establishment and implementation of drug-related policies. A freedom model reigned since the commencement of the 20th century. It largely involved the over taxation of narcotics. The move was meant to reduce the usage and sale of the drugs. On the other hand, the government was keen on improving the rehabilitation of the victims of drug abuse. The punitive model took over a few decades down the line. It was meant to establish stricter rules and punishment to the offenders (Gale & John, 2017). The government offered more resources to see through the course that would extend indefinitely. It also appeared to criminalize the victims as seen with the constrained access to medical care. The number of arrests also witnessed an unprecedented rise. The situation has been the same for many countries where any kind of involvement with drugs is tantamount to breaking the law. It explains why America hosts a large section of inmates as drug offenders.  The punitive policy is also manifested with the often harsh penalties and sentences. The legal system appears to be subjective regarding the war of drugs. They remain over emphasized on punishing the offenders instead of delving deep into the problem.

Discussion of the history of the policy

The most conspicuous drug policies trace from as early as the 1900s. The commencement of the legislative agenda began to take shape on multiple grounds. Firstly, it was necessary to establish the various kinds of drugs and their implications (Kay, 2001). The move would help to identify the substances that were most harmful to humans. Even those that were deemed safe for use would have to be regulated to discover the appropriate proportions. Secondly, drug use and abuse increasingly took a humanitarian and political turn. Countries were increasingly gaining interest in the substances primarily due to the rising demand.  Besides, the traders were increasing defining certain social and economic standards. For instance, some peopling were relying on drugs alone to fulfill their financial needs. In this case, they would cause major disruptions in the economy and in the various markets (Hughes & Stevens, 2007). Thirdly, the necessity for regulation regarded the need to address the deteriorating health conditions of the users. On the other hand, it was necessary to define the place of the state and the law regarding the use and trade of drugs. By the 1970s, most states, including the United States had already agreed that it was necessary to establish the war on drugs. They did so by illegalizing most of the narcotics and also established blanket punitive measures for the offenders. Little was done to cater for the addicts, and they had to settle for private rehabilitation. 

Discussion of attempts to solve the problem

While there has been a spirited fight to address the drug problem, most of the scholarly work and actual statistics reveal that the punitive policies are ineffective. The tough enforcement laws often lead to the opposite as seen with the deterioration of the use and trade of drugs (Laqueur, 2015). However, most states continue to appreciate that criminalization of drug use does not address the problem at hand. On the contrary, it only ignites the antagonism between the state and the offenders. In this case, the appreciation that the criminalization of drug use is no longer working is the core of the attempts to address the underlying epidemic. It has ignited a universal approach targeted at the decriminalizing drugs. The policy presents multiple benefits so far. Firstly, it will greatly reduce the cost of punishing the offenders (Berk, 2013). Most governments have predominantly spent too much on establishing and implementing the various punitive measures. It is also resulting in a reduced population in the cells. It has also been possible to control public perceptions regarding drug use.  The current perspective has led to reduced stigma as the victims can easily see medication or rehabilitation.

Discussion of policy proposal to “fix” this policy

The policy proposal is largely effective especially regarding the shift to the decriminalization process.  Even though the extent of vulnerability is still large, at least most countries are appreciating the need to shift to the sensitive approaches (Jesseman & Payer, 2018). It will go a long way towards the implementation of long-term policies that prioritize the offenders and more so, the victim. Traditionally, the focus on punitive laws only welcome antagonism between the state and the offenders. It also welcomed other forms of criminal activities. On the contrary, the new policies will welcome partnerships between the various parties of interest. The government will regard the victims as the most important references regarding the implementation of various laws. As long as everyone feels free to see treatment or rehabilitation, it will be easy to establish a lasting solution as opposed to standpoints.


Berk, B. (2013). Effective Substance use Prevention: Why it matters, what works, and what the experts see for the future. Community Prevention Initiative.

Félix, S., & Portugal, P. (2017). Drug decriminalization and the price of illicit drugs. International Journal of Drug Policy39, 121-129.

Gale, M. S., & John, A. (2017). Prevention of Drug Use and Treatment of Drug Use Disorders in Rural Settings.

Hughes, C., & Stevens, A. (2007). The effects of decriminalization of drug use in Portugal.

Jesseman, R., & Payer, D. (2018). Decriminalization: Options and Evidence.    

Kay, A. (2001). The Agony of Ecstacy: Reconsidering the Punitive Approach to United States Drug Policy. Fordham Urb. LJ29, 2133.

Kilmer, B., Midgette, G., & Saloga, C. (2015). Back in the national spotlight: An assessment of recent changes in drug use and drug policies in the United States. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution. Google Scholar.

Laqueur, H. (2015). Uses and Abuses of Drug Decriminalization in P ortugal. Law & Social Inquiry40(3), 746-781.

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