Drugs, Crime and Prohibition
Do drugs really cause crime, or is it our governments way of controlling the communities? Many people blame drugs for every problem in our society, but is it the true evil in our society? No one person can answer that question. There are only opinions and supposed theories on this issue. We have been taught over the years that drugs were bad and that they only affected the poor and less fortunate, and turned them into crazy criminals, but this isn't true to any extent. The laws controlling and prohibiting drugs are the true reasons. Would our crime levels decline if drugs were legalized to some extent, or would we just increase the destruction of our country? Over the past fifty years, prohibition has been proven to actually increase crime and drug use instead of its intended purpose, which was to extinguish the use of illicit drugs in the United States. We constantly here of prison over crowding, and why is that? Most of our prisons are filled with drug offenders, ranging from use to distribution of supposed illicit drugs. What is our country coming to? The purpose of this research paper is to view the advantages and disadvantages of the legalization of illicit drugs in the United States. I will examine each side of this major problem plaguing our fine country from past to present. People wake everyday to their normal and monotonous life without even thinking about what they are doing. They do not realize that they have been conditioned by the government and its laws to obey and follow the supposed norm of society. What is the norms of society, and who set the guidelines for them? No one can explain how these norms came about, they only know that they must follow them, or they could get in trouble with the law. We are going into the twenty first century, and we still follow laws that were passed hundreds of years ago. Why is this? We are a highly advanced country, but we spend time, lives and money on abiding by laws that were around before the automobile was even invented. I will begin with the history of our drug control policies, which have failed miserably, and examine the drug-crime connection. Policy History Drugs have been in this country since the beginning of time in some shape or form, which was used for personal and medicinal use. Usage of marijuana has been reported to date back to the founding of Jamestown (1). George Washington himself cultivated and used to relieve the pain of an aching tooth. Opium was accessible to anyone who wanted to purchase it, as Tylenol is today. People were able to obtain these drugs at any pharmacy or grocery store that stocked them. It was socially acceptable to use and sell drugs, but the addictive properties were not known at this time in history. In the beginning of the twentieth century, the Progressive movement wanted some form of drug regulation (1). There were a few factors that affected the change in public opinion. First, the US acquired the Philippine Islands, which gave the US a legal supply of opium to supply addicts. Second, was the concern over the affects that drugs had on people. Journalist at that time, who were highly influenced by the government, published many fictional articles about crazy drug addicts, who raped and killed because of their drug use. Third, drugs were associated with blacks and Chinese immigrants, and this caused panic through the white communities( 1 ). In the early 1900's, President Roosevelt appointed three men, Rev. Charles Brent, an Episcopal bishop, Dr. Hamilton Wright, and Charles Tenney, a China missionary, to represent America at The Hague International Opium Convention of 1912. At this conference, the modern movement for abolitioning narcotics trafficking was began with the US involvement in the Philippines (2). Although there was regulations abroad, there was no legislation protecting the United States. In 1913, New York Representative Francis Harrison introduced two bills into Congress. One was to...
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