Essay drawing on ethnographic studies on drug use

Topics: Illegal drug trade, Drug, Heroin Pages: 6 (2704 words) Published: June 7, 2015
Essay drawing on ethnographic studies on drug use, critically discuss the propositions for drug policy outlined by the global commission on drug policy.

All around the world there has been a marked increase in drug production, trafficking and usage. The war on drugs initialised in 1971 by Richard Nixon had a primary objective to stop drug use altogether. Weatherburn, D. (2001). Reports the war on drugs has been a failure in its own rights. People still use drugs. The global commission on drugs has put forward a new set of recommendations to help reduce the harmful effects of drug taking and the illicit drug trade. Firstly, a short review of the current reasons why the war on drugs has failed will be completed. Then using ethnographic drug studies drawn from several different sources, this essay will critically discuss each of the recommendations put forward by the global commission on drugs, specifically focusing on why these recommendations have been made and what effects they hope to have on the current illicit drug trade. Finalised with a conclusion from the arguments made. Has the war on drugs failed?

The war on drugs is a failure in its own rights. Drug use and trafficking is still rising despite the majority of law enforcements effort being aimed at drug users. According to Miron, A.J. and Waldock, K. (2010). An estimated $41.3 billion would be saved from enforcement and incarnation costs if illicit drugs for personal use were decriminalised. Enforcement is also aimed towards users rather than organised criminals, which massively undermines users’ health and safety and human rights. It further fuels crime by increasing drug prices making it more attractive for potential criminals and harder for users to buy encouraging them to commit crimes. The unstable, vulnerable environments created by unregulated drug markets are easily exploited by drug producers and undermines economies. According to Kitchen, N. (2012). the war on drugs has been an ongoing failure yet it is still been allowed to continue so this essay will discuss the recommendations put forward by the global commission on drugs and what outcomes they will have on the harmful effects of illicit drugs. The recommendations made by the Global Commission on Drugs (2014). are Put peoples health and safety first

End the criminalization and incarceration of people that use drugs Refocus enforcement responses to drug trafficking and organised crime Ensure access to essential medicines and pain control
Regulate drug markets to put governments in control

Critical Discussion
Put peoples health and safety first
Current methods of law enforcement are targeted mainly at the end users of drugs. The users that are addicted and solely purchase drugs for personal use. They look at the outcomes of policing such as amounts seized or arrests made, rather than looking at the processes used to reduce the harmful effects of drug use. Bourgeois, P and Schoenberg, J. (2009). Witnessed the positive effects of numerous different approaches to reducing the associated risk of drug use. These included mobile abscess clinics, mobile methadone clinics and mobile psychiatric clinics all attended by non-judgemental staff that saw the user as an individual requiring treatment. They also noted that the current way of approaching drug users created a permanent social underclass, leaving these users vulnerable to police harassment, judgemental or ineffective rehab treatments and poor medical support. The cost of alternative preventative treatments such as mobile abscess clinics are less expensive than the inevitable outcome of many users having to attend an emergency room at a later date. It has been suggested through this study that ongoing support, preventative treatments and understanding medical staff have a higher success rate in helping individuals become rehabilitated and stay rehabilitated and are less expensive than the current...

Bibliography: Bourgeois, P and Schoenberg, J. (2009). Righteous Dopefiend, Berkeley, University of California Press
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Dixon, D & Maher, L. (1999). Law enforcement and harm minization in a street level drug market, policing and public health vol 39, issue 4
Global Commission on Drugs (2014)
Greenwald, G. (2009) drug decriminalization in portugal: lessons for creating fair and successful drug policies CATO press
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Kitchen, N. (2012). Governing the war on drugs, LSE ideas. Retrieved from p 4-7
LesterGrinspoon, M.D.& James B
UNODC world drug report, (2011). Retrieved from:
Weatherburn, D
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