Drug Abuse Prevention and Control
The deep, energetic and sonorous voice of Whitney Houston that graced our ears will truly be missed. She was found dead in her house as a result of cocaine overdose. She was about 48 when she died. So will young Mac Miller and Lil Peep- talented celebrities who died of accidental fentanyl overdose at a very young age. Their stories, we heard due to the status they have achieved in the society. There are millions of other young people all over the world given to illegal drugs misuse and overdose who die daily due to drugs. Deaths caused by illegal drugs have been estimated to be about 200,000 yearly for injecting drug abusers.
Some of the dangers associated with illegal drug use include overdose, addictions, criminal behavior alongside a myriad of side effects. Illegal drug users or drug abusers pose a threat to themselves and to the environment at large. Seeing the big dangers associated with illegal drug use and the increase in number of illegal drug users, several measures have been taken by different countries to curb this menace. The United states government adopted the Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs law which provided different measures such as compulsory treatment and severe punishment for drug related offences including death penalties for some categories of Drug trafficking.
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For example, Malaysian government recently declared death penalty for drug traffickers. Under the Malaysian law, if a person possesses as small as few ounces of marijuana and half an ounce of heroin, the person is declared a trafficker. Other countries such as Vietnam, Saudi Arabia etc. have zero tolerance for illegal drug users. Also, several establishments and non-governmental organizations have launched campaign against drug abuse and illegal drug use.
However, jail terms and prison sentences have proven ineffective in the control of illegal drug use. Criminalization approaches to drug use has mostly exacerbate the problem rather than solving the problem. Recidivism, which is the tendency to relapse into the previous state, has been confirmed in most illegal drug users who serve jail terms. Studies carried out in 15 states showed that one-quarter of the prison inmates released returned to the prisons for other crime related offences including testing positive for drug use. In fact, illegal drugs are sold in prisons despite the security and controlled environment prisons offer. It seems more like the very things the offenders are being punished for are what they are being exposed to in prison cells. Some other post prison trauma such as living with the stigma of being an ex-convict, difficulty in getting a paid employment, difficulty in reuniting with their family or loved ones cause some of the illegal drug users to fall into relapse.
Drug abuse and addiction is one of the key disadvantages of illegal drug use. It has been confirmed that chronic addiction associated with drug abuse is actually an illness that requires help, treatment and care. The emphasis should be placed on drug counseling/psychotherapy and education of individual drug users. The combinations of these two approaches have proven to be more effective than criminalizing illegal drug users. It should be noted that drug abuse as a result of illegal drug use is a health concern and if it is addressed as a health concern, people should not be jailed because of their sicknesses. Furthermore, keeping drug users in prison is quite expensive for the government.
The longer the sentences, the greater the bill. It was discovered that in 2008, the United States government spent 47 billion naira on corrections. These monies could be diverted into building a structure for psychotherapy/drug counseling and drug information centers. Drug users come out better and benefit more from programs like this. In addition, integrating drug education into school curriculum would go a long way in prevention or reducing the incidence of illegal drug use. Early child education and awareness is important