Everyone agrees that something must be done about the tremendous physical and emotional health problems that drug abuse causes. Concern about the abuse of drugs is so widespread that recent polls indicate it to be one of the most serious problems in today’s world, threatening the security and freedom of whole nations. Politicians, health experts and much of the general public feel that no issue is more important than drug abuse. America’s other pressing social problems- disease, poverty, child abuse and neglect, and corruption- often have a common element; that is drug abuse. The use of illegal drugs such as cocaine, crack, heroin and marijuana cause extensive harm to the body and brain. Yet, even after knowing this many people want illegal drugs to be legalized in every aspect.
The last thing we need is a policy that makes widely available substances that impair memory, concentration and attention span; why in God’s name foster the uses of drugs that make you stupid? The campaign for drug legalization is morally disgusting.The number of people who are addicted to illegal drugs or are users of these drugs is quite shocking. Drug abuse is clearly an injurious and sometimes fatal problem. The leaders of the international economic summit in Paris in July 1989 concluded that the devastating proportions of the drug problem calls for decisive action. On September 5, 1989, President Bush called upon the United States to join in an all-out fight against drugs.
The United States Congress reports an estimated 25 to 30 million addicts of illegal drugs worldwide. Not all users are addicts, but some of the 26 million regular users of illegal drugs in the United States are addicted. Reports of child abuse to New York social services tripled between 1986 and 1988 and most of the cases involved drug abuse. Approximately 35 percent of the inmates of state prison were under the influence of illegal drugs at the time they committed the crimes for which they are incarcerated. In some parts of the country, that percentage is as high as 75 to 80! Another fact that hits people hard is that out-right deaths from illegal drugs have quadrupled in the last ten years! The proportion of 19 to 22 year olds who were at risk from using illegal drugs rose from 44 percent in 1980 to 69 percent in 1987.
Among 17-18 year olds the shift over the same interval was from 50 percent to 74 percent (Williams 226)! The abuse of illegal drugs is very threatening to America’s future. These drugs are the cause of many problems and crimes. Among these many drug users exist some people who continue to resist drugs and have been called the real heroes of the drug war (Hyde, 372). Although, drug abuse is a serious and threatening problem today, it can be brought under control with acceptable means. The use of illegal drugs such as cocaine, crack, heroin and marijuana have been proved to cause unbelievable damage and harm to the body and brain. As well as we know, AIDS is a deadly disease which people are very frightened of today. When parents bring a child into this world the main concern is that the child be healthy.
It is an impossible deed for a drug addict female to give birth to a healthy child. Babies who are born with the AIDS virus should thank their mothers who were drug addicts and brought them into this world to pay for their own mistakes! According to Patrick Emmet, author of Drugs in America, when cocaine is smoked, it is absorbed into the lungs and carried to the brain in about 8 seconds (152). It depresses the breathing center in the brain and increases the risk of death from heart failure or overdose. Doctors believe that when a pregnant woman uses crack, the drug can trigger spasms in the blood vessels of the fetus, restricting the supply of oxygen and nutrients, in turn causing problems in development. When a pregnant woman takes large doses of cocaine, the placenta may tear loose, killing the fetus and putting the mother’s life in danger. Even one use of crack can cause serious damage to fetus or to a breast-fed baby.
Heroin is another illegal drug that causes great harm and can be life-taking too. When heroin is used it reaches the brain via the bloodstream and is transformed into the depressant morphine. Heroin produces feelings of euphoria, mental confusion and drowsiness. In addiction to many other effects on the body, it depresses respiratory function (168). Thousands of heroin addicts die from overdoses each year. Heroin users are also at great risk of getting AIDS from the used of unclean needles. An estimated 60 percent of heroin addicts in New York City carry the virus, and needle sharing among addicts represents a major potential route for the spreading of the AIDS virus. According to a National Research Council report in 1989, nearly 70 percent of the heterosexual adults infected with the AIDS virus got the virus through an intravenous connection.
The U.S. Public Health service predicted about a threefold increase in the cumulative total of reported cases of AIDS among addicts between 1989 and 1991. When marijuana is smoked, about two thousand separate chemicals are produced, and many of the chemicals do not readily pass through the body. Some are stored in fatty tissues of the brain, lungs, and reproductive organs, where they remain for a long time. In a book titled, Drug Policy and Intellectuals, Stephen Thomas points out that one of the areas of great concern about the effect of smoking marijuana is the changes in the reproductive system (156). Heavy marijuana smoking reduces the level of testosterone, the principal male hormone. It may delay sexual maturation in teenage boys and may possible reduce sperm counts.
The use of marijuana also has negative effects on the menstrual cycle of females. Marijuana use during pregnancy increases the risk of death of the fetus and of abnormal offspring. Some other effects of marijuana are sedation, depression, hormone changes and brain damage. It is certain that the smoking of marijuana leads to as much as a 50 percent short-term increase in heart rate and a possible decrease in blood supply to the heart. It is crystal clear that the use of these illegal drugs causes permanent and serious damage to the body, brain and to innocent babies. Sometimes this deadly “sickness” stops at distorting bodies and brains, but often goes to snatch the lives of their users (Thomas 189). Richard Williams explains in his book, Illegalizing Drugs, that the use of illicit drugs causes the user to engage in violent acts. The need and craving of these drugs forces the user to commit crimes such as robbery or murder. They hurt themselves and innocent people usually become victims of such cases.
These drugs are addictive which may cause brain damage in the habitual user, and may cause the user to engage in violence or self-destructive acts. Dealers arm themselves with automatic weapons to protect themselves (124). Even the drug abusers of the sixties had a slogan, Speed Kills. Young drug dealers have a good supply of guns, and they do not hesitate to use them. The streets of many inner cities are bloody battlegrounds where crack wars are fought. Bathrooms in shelters for the homeless are transformed into part-time crack houses. Thomas writes that crack pipes are hidden under mattresses next to the beds of people who are only down on their luck (125). Last year one residential area in New York, more than one hundred people were killed and most deaths were drug related.
The use of illicit drugs alters the brain’s thinking, acting and responding capacity, which results in violent and self-destructing acts. Innocent people are injured or killed simply in order to continue the distribution and the use of these isgusting and correctly illegal drugs (78). After being altered with the effects of the use of illegal drugs on bodies, brains, societies and nations, some people are brave enough to come forward and campaign for the legalization of illicit drugs will reduce the number of addicts and users, crime and deaths (Hyde 29). I disagree with this theory because that is exactly what it is- a theory. Sure, we don’t know what’s going to happen in the future, but we can use our statistics and be somewhat logical. If illegal drugs were to be legalized, millions of Americans were to be enticed into addiction by legalization.
The pushers would cut prices, making more money than ever from the ever-growing mass market. They would immediately increase the potency and variety beyond anything available at any government-approved narcotics counter. Crime would increase if these drugs were legalized. Crack produces paranoid violence. More permissiveness equals more use equals more violence. Alcohol which is now legal, but was once illegal is proof that after legalizing it more alcohol-related crimes and car accidents have occurred. Millions of people, including and increasing number of teenagers, are dependent on what has been called the most dangerous drug on earth: alcohol. Dr. Stephen Cohen writes in his book, The Alcoholism Problem, “The harm that comes from Drug X (alcohol) is much greater than the harm from heroin from all respects” (151).
Why should we believe that the legalization of illegal drugs will reduce the number of users of these drugs? Actually, it’s quite logical these drugs would be easily available if legalized, and the number of users will increase because there won’t be any breaking of laws that will end imprisonment. Illegal drugs should be kept illegal to secure the lives of those who are not addicts. The drug problem in our nation today is overwhelming, but can be controlled by numerous strategies. Reducing the supply of foreign that are causing serious problems in the Unites States is an important part on the war on drugs. Another way the drug problem could be controlled is if drug dealers were punished more severely.
Whipping posts, the death penalty, and long jail sentences might be a start. The following suggestions were made at a meeting at a meeting of the Senate Committee Drugs and Crime held on April 4, 1989, to reduce the drug problem: put more police on the streets, both to arrest drug dealers and to give people a visible sense of hope; increase the number of prosecutors so that arrests are meaningful: increase prison capacity, perhaps by using army bases that are being phased out; increase drug education in schools; help the coast guard interdiction; and learn more about drugs from health authorities.