Drugs - Archenemy, Panacea or Just a Scapegoat for Hidden Interest? (2020 words)

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We have seen throughout this course that drug use is often associated with some type of social, political and/or public health-related problem. Yet the nature of the problem is hotly debated. On the one hand, some argue that some aspect of drug consumption is the primary problem. Within this group, some take a broadly defined conception of drug consumption, arguing that illegal as well as legal drug consumption is problematic, and indicative of problems related to our social-psychological environment (eg. economic marginalization or consumerist attitudes to dealing with stress). Others take a narrowly defined conception of drug consumption, arguing that the legal-illegal distinction is justified and that the real problem is illegal drug consumption. Here, attitudes differ over how to reduce illegal consumption (eg. debates over “supply-side strategies” that criminalize production, transport, sales; “demand-side strategies” that criminalize users; strategies that conceive of drug consumption as a “mental health” or “social-economic” rather than criminal problem

On the other hand, some argue that the primary problems associated with the drug industry are produced by the current set of U.S. drug policies and that they are especially problematic for specific social groups, class and communities. Here, some argue that U.S. drug war policies are well-intentioned but simply misguided, emphasizing the need to demonstrate the negative impact of drug war policies so as to inform policymakers to modify (though not fundamentally alter) their drug war strategies. Others, in contrast, argue that the drug policies themselves were made with alternative aims and objectives (eg. industries attaining lucrative government contracts; politicians creating an image to appeal to their electorate).

In your own words, identify what you see as the greatest set of problems associated with drugs and/or the drug war. Using at least 2 sources used during this semester (articles, books, films), formulate an argument as to why you think this set of problems is particularly troublesome and how we as a society should best respond to this set of problems. Make sure that you clearly articulate what the specific problem, which social group or groups are most affected, why that is, and what you believe the source or cause of the problem is.

Your paper should be 6-8 pages long, typed, double-spaced, and with absolutely no spelling or grammatical errors! All authors must be properly cited (choose whatever format and stick with it). Feel free to use other sources not used in the classroom in addition to the 2 from class, as long as they speak directly to issues raised by the other works cited and as long as they are properly cited. Do not add a cover page, but make sure you have a citation page.

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We are witnesses of many directions of public discourse concerning drugs. The one most talked about certainly pertains to the use and abuse of illicit drugs, the war on drugs and drug lords, the policy maker's attempt to make Americans feel safer and politician's attempts to ensure the next electoral victory, usually by promising to be tougher on drugs and/or crime. Illicit drug users are usually criminalized and, to a lesser degree, their drug use is medicalized into addiction perceived as a medical condition. There is another, entirely separate course of public discussions pertaining to our use of legal drugs, or medications. And it is this part of the discourse that this paper will attempt to analyze in more detail, its courses and its extremes, as well as its possible consequences.

After a dark age of mostly ineffective traditional remedies largely based on superstition, or, in best case scenario, careful age long observation of trial and error, modern science has finally brought us reliable, effective and safe medications or prevention for most of the diseases that used to take the largest toll. As a society we have now become complacent, even unthankful, with the public discourse often giving a lot of attention (and, surprisingly, even credence) to increasing movement of anti-vaccination and anti-medication....
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