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Laws About Intoxicants Are Confusing

24 February 2016 Written by 

At the intersection of humans and drugs, our society stands at the secondary intersection of security/safety and health. What goal is most beneficial for us all? For most people, the idea of drugs is synonymous with danger and illegality, and for good reason. Substances of all kinds are potent and often unhealthy and the culture/behaviors behind them are often unhealthy or dangerous as well. Everybody, students included have easy access to these substances.

Punishment Has Been The Societal Response

Incarceration rates for drug offences, often hidden in the numbers for non-violent crime rates, are the largest component of our jail/prison populations. Furthermore, our incarceration numbers are the highest in the world (around 2.2 million), [1] where non-violent offences take up 50-90 percent of the prisoner population, from state prison to federal prison respectively. There seems to be little question of fulfillment in drug law enforcement’s performance; the numbers show the criminal justice community has done all it can to fight the war on drugs.

How Can Substance Use and Abuse Become A Health Issue

The issue of public and individual health is not currently a factor in drug use and government policies. Some forms of drugs are unhealthy at any level of use. Similarly, jail time is unhealthy for those incarcerated for drug use or mental illness, especially when those inmates receive no treatment or education. The designation of illegal and legal substances does not actually relate to health, since alcohol and cigarettes and prescription medicines, which are legal, account for the highest mortality rates. Laws relating to illegal substances have not promoted responsible use for legal substances. So it’s confusing, especially for students who wonder why are these laws are still in effect. Perhaps drug laws have other purposes beyond citizen health, safety, and well being. 

Laws To Regulate Intoxicants Haven’t Worked 

We come back to the intersection between security and health in the issue of intoxicant use. What action do we take? From fear and nothing else comes stagnation. People in prison and unsafe drug use in the community. How can we be safe and secure. When the desire for health transcends fear, the opportunity for growing and learning suggest an overcoming. Completely accepting a society of drug prohibition and punishment without education does the opposite of promoting safety both for substance abusers and the community in which they live. Consequently, the seemingly epidemic nature of drug abuse/addiction seeks a different solution. We suggest, with proper research and education, drug abuse and addiction may be mitigated.

[1] www.prisonstudies.org World Prison Brief (WPB)

Reach Out Recovery Exclusive By: Noah Baslaw

Read 910 times Last modified on Wednesday, 09 November 2016 14:40
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