Trends in Drugs Use
Drugs and drug abuse in America entails a long history, being a long-standing social issue for almost two centuries. The medical fraternity, on its part, stands accused through some unscrupulous medical practitioners introducing some of the myriad of drugs as over-the-counter prescriptions. Christopher Columbus’ maiden encounter with Native Indians of ‘the New World’ initiated him to the already present use of tobacco.
The most prominently used/ abused drug is Marijuana; it was initially utilized for medicinal purposes before the American Civil War, through the cultivation of plantations until its ban in the year 1937. Cocaine is also another ancient and popular American drug. Its popularity is traceable to Europe, with its initial introduction being through the Coca Cola Company (1886). Concurrently, was the then U.S. Army Surgeon General’s endorsement of the product for medical use as anesthesia (Goode, 2007).
Looking further, the unregulated sale of its variants of medicinal tonics was best shown in the glamour and glitz of Hollywood until its ban in 1914. Heroin use, popular during the 19th century, was evidently preferred by women in their prescriptions for a variant of feminine problems. Utilized widely as a painkiller during the American Civil War, its foothold in America continues to expand. As espoused through the occurrences and life in Harlem; the Beatnik subculture and its utility during the Vietnam War, heroine use continues on an increasing pace.
Other drugs of prominence use/ abuse include the Methamphetamine and LSD, with the former being widely utilized in America’s medial arena since the early 20th Century. As central nervous system stimulant, its abuse was rampant during its legalized era. During the Hippie Movement, in addition to the interactive relationship of present sub-cultures, aided by the ‘golden age era euphoria’, the drug gained more prominence. The above and others not mentioned entail the variant of drugs and substances abused not only in America but also globally (Current State of Drug Policy: Successes and Challenges, 2008).
With time, drug use has fluctuated because of the presence of newer manufactured drugs. Drug abuse cases have increased over the years and are directly attributable to the twin presence of over-the-counter sale and group identity-based distribution/sale. Through state and federal laws, the introduction and later implementation of the above has aided in the overall limitation and prohibition of drug possession, sale and use, in the overall instance reducing the levels of drug abuse.
The article Current State of Drug Policy: Successes and Challenges by Ncjrs.gov best exemplifies the abovementioned facts; the increase in certain drug/ substance abuse vis-à-vis the decline in abuse of other substances (Current State of Drug Policy: Successes and Challenges, 2008). The second article America’s War on Drugs: Is Legalization an answer, talks of the huge economic costs, which American taxpayers incur on an annual basis. Begun by President Nixon in the 70’s, this strategy entailed a concerted effort at fighting the prominence of drug flow, sale and abuse in the U.S (War on Drugs - Is Legalization an Answer, 2011).
Despite the ambitious ideals behind this policy, contemporary critics lament the resultant effect of about a half of prisoners and judicial system time and resources being linked to drugs. From the variant of choices available; these as pertaining to drug-policy avenues the different measures taken seem not to bear fruit. Policies relevant to the prevalence and abuse of drugs require focus to be on the reduction of crime either by zero-tolerance vis-à-vis free-market approaches. This entails either the total prohibition or engendering of drugs as crime reduction methods (War on Drugs - Is Legalization an Answer, 2011).
In conclusion, both articles are of the similar view that drugs and drug abuse has been, is and continues to be a major issue of concern, not only in America but the global community at large. From medical use to relaxants, drugs will continue to exist, and it is the different policies which will be enacted, which will reflect either positively or negatively in the resultant consequences.