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Substance abuse remains one of the major social problems affecting many citizens in different corners of the world. The American government has been using powerful measures and laws to deal with the problem. The “War on Drugs” campaign has been implemented in an attempt to deal with this social issue (Cooper, 2015). However, the campaign has produced mixed reactions from different theorists and sociologists. The main area of concern therefore focuses on the effectiveness of this fight against illicit drugs in the United States. This discussion explains why new programs should be implemented in order to substitute this campaign.
Statistics in the United States show clearly that “more citizens are dying annually due to continued use of illicit drugs” (Cooper, 2015, p. 3). Studies “show that over 44,000 citizens died in 2013 after overdosing various illegal drugs” (Cooper, 2015, p. 6). This single fact shows clearly that substance abuse remains a major dilemma in the country. The efforts put in place to deal with such illegal drugs have therefore failed to produce the best results. This is true because “new cases of drug abuse and use are reported every single day in the country” (Cooper, 2015, p. 4).
The government also “spends over 50 billion dollars annually to support this campaign” (Buxton, 2015, p. 9). According to different sociologists, the crusade has continued to favor incarceration. Most of the imprisoned people come out unreformed (Buxton, 2015). This malpractice has led to increased cases of recidivism. As well, incarcerated drug traffickers acquire new skills and competencies from their respective prisons. This social problem will therefore continue to take new shapes every day.
It is also notable that the fight against illegal drugs has been applied disproportionally in this country (Buxton, 2015). For instance, most of the targeted individuals are usually from low-income populations or minority groups (Cooper, 2015). The decision to target these groups has raised numerous ethical and legal questions. Most of the targeted persons are usually innocent. This strategy also affects the economic and social wellbeing of these minority groups. This fact explains why Ethan Nadelman believes strongly that the fight is disastrous, ineffective, and heartless (Nadelman, 2014).
Cooper (2015) goes further to explain why “the issue of drug abuse should be treated as a social problem” (p. 7). This argument explains why drug abuse is a health crisis affecting many citizens. That being the case, every proposed strategy should support the wellbeing of the affected persons (Buxton, 2015). The important thing is to use a powerful strategy that can deal with this social problem. The government should therefore support the health needs and social welfare of every affected population.
In conclusion, the American government has lost this war on illicit drugs (Cooper, 2015). This failure has been caused by the continued use of inappropriate methods and practices. New strategies should therefore be identified in order to deal with substance abuse in the United States. Every affected individual should be supported using appropriate programs. New campaigns should also be promoted in order to discourage more people from using such illegal drugs (Buxton, 2015). Drug abusers should also get the best social support from the government. Such measures will support the needs of many abusers and eventually break the channels of drug trade.
Buxton, J. (2015). Drugs and Development: The Great Disconnect. Web.
Cooper, H. (2015). War on Drugs Policing and Police Brutality. Substance Use and Misuse, 50(8), 1-12. Web.
Nadelman, E. (2014). Why we need to end the war on drugs. Web.