Drug Addiction and Crime
Over the last several decades, the U.S. has been aggressively involved in a war on drugs. Part of the reason for this, is because of the adverse effects that it is having on the lives of various individuals and their families. At the same time, it has been causing the crime rate to increase exponentially. A good example of this can be seen by looking no further than city of Juarez, Mexico (which has been serving as ground zero). As, there were a total of: 25 thousand drug related murders, while the police and military are battling various cartels that are backed by an $8.6 billion industry in marijuana sales alone. (“Drugs and Crime,” 2010) This is troubling, because it showing how the current policy is not working with: the total amounts of crime and usage only continuing to rise.
As a result, a new approach needs to be taken that will address these problems by: reducing the number of addicts and the underlying levels of crime. To determine this we will examine possible solutions for these issues. This will be accomplished by taking a realistic approach that can be implanted as well as looking at the role that: the church, family, community and nonprofit organizations are playing. Together, these different element elements will provide the greatest insights as to the overall challenges that are being faced when dealing with these issues. Once this occurs, it will offer specific insights as to how these problems can be effectively resolved. This is the point, that the underlying scope of these challenges can be successfully addressed.
The Current Policy and its Long-Term Affects
The current approach that is being taken is to go after those individuals who are involved in: the sale, distribution and usage of illegal drugs. These different elements have meant that large criminal enterprise have quickly been emerging to meet the demand for a host of different products. Over the course of time, this has caused a number of large cartels to emerge that are running their businesses based on: violence, intimidation, extortion and bribes. This has undermined many different governments in various regions of the world.
Evidence of this can be seen by looking no further than Columbia. Where, over the past 30 years they have been receiving tremendous amounts of foreign aid and military support to effectively battle these groups. As, the government has used nearly every single measure conceivable to prevent the flow of illegal drugs to: the North America and Europe. However, a shift has occurred with even more continuing to be exported to these markets despite these efforts. As, there are a number of substances that are increasingly imported from the Latin America to include: cocaine, marijuana, opium and heroin. This is troubling, because it is showing how the current policy is continuing to fail. In spite of a host of initiatives to: stem the flow and billions of dollars being spent to tackle these challenges. (Carduso, 2009)
At the same time, it is causing the underlying amounts of violence to increase dramatically. In the case of Columbia, war on drugs is averaging around 5 thousand murders per year. This is because many of these cartels will often fight with each other for dominance of: key routes and they will more than likely engage government forces on a regular basis. These different elements are important, because it is showing how the current approach in the war on drugs in not working. As, it has created increased amounts of: instability in the region and it is having an adverse impact on the way of life for many communities in these countries. Once this occurs, it can undermine any kind of efforts to stabilize the economy, with many poor regions being heavily influenced by these cartels. This means that ordinary people will begin to become involved in this industry, instead of seeking out normal careers that will build their lives over the long-term. At which point, the cycle of violence will continue with: these organizations having an endless amount of recruits. Over the course of time, this will add to the instability of a host of governments in these areas. This is problematic, because it will cause a number of civil wars to emerge in nations that were considered to be relatively stable only a few decades earlier. (Carduso, 2009)
A Realistic Approach that can be implemented
As a result, a new strategy needs to be implemented that will address these issue, while being able to create some kind of policy that has greater amount of flexibility in the future. This is the only way that the war on drugs is able to be won, given the fact that the current policies are not working. Once this occurs, it means that the overall amounts of violence will decline and a variety of governments will be able to effectively dismantle the large cartels.
Yet, when you look even further beneath the surface, it is clear that there are a large number of criminal enterprises from various regions around the world that have become involved in the trafficking of illegal drugs. A few of the most notable locations include: groups based out of: Asia, Europe and Africa just to name a few. The reason why, is because the underlying profit margins are so large that there a wide variety of substances are transported around the world to achieve this objective. To include: marijuana, crack / powdered cocaine, methamphetamines, heroin, opium, ecstasy and PCP. This is problematic, because it means that these issues have made the situation even worse, with a variety of criminal gangs competing against one another (which is causing the underlying amounts of crime to increase). (Zabransky, 2007, pp. 156 — 180) (“Fact Sheet ADAM II Report,” 2008)
One of the most obvious approaches is to decriminalize these different substances. As, this will directly address: the supply and demand issues, while dramatically reducing crime. The reason why is because decriminalization will allow government to: regulate these substances and many communities can begin focusing on how they can deal with the large number of addicts. At the same time, it will take away any kind of profit motives for these large groups in: production, distribution and sales. Once this occurs, the number of arrests by law enforcement for drug related offenses will decline and it will improve the quality of life in many areas that are currently known as drug havens. This will have positive ripple effects on numerous governments by: giving them the power to increase their tax revenues. (Cussen, 2006, pp. 39 — 48) (“Drugs and Crime,” 2010)
However, the big challenge moving forward is how can some kind of workable solution be implemented that will effectively tackle these different challenges. Where, you do not want to conduct some type of blanket decriminalization of various substances. Instead, you want to focus on finding a way of being able to control the availability of these substances and ensure that the civil rights of the community is protected. (Cussen, 2006, pp. 39 — 48)
The best approach in accomplishing this objective is to have governments working in conjunction with a host of: church, family, community and nonprofit organizations. As, they can focus on how to address the problem on the local level by: providing some form of treatment with various kinds of funding that could be implemented through national and state governments. Under this kind of program, a percentage of the tax revenues that are received from the sale of illegal drugs are used to support individuals who are addicted to these substances through: having effective monitoring and treatment of their activities. (Cussen, 2006, pp. 39 — 48)
For example, the police could be used as a way of interdicting with addicts by: bringing them in and having these groups meet with these individuals. They will offer them the chance to seek out some kind of treatment. If it is determined they do not want to become involved in these programs, the person is allowed to continue with their activities. However, once they become involved in some form of criminal activity such as theft (because of their drug use), the court can order them into treatment and have these organizations report to them about the how these individuals are progressing. At the same time, the sale of these substances could be restricted to locations where the government will sell drugs at select locations (with tight controls on who is allowed to engage in these kinds of activities).
This is important, because if this kind of strategy can be utilized it will help to reduce the flow of illegal drugs. While, intelligently attacking the problem through: going after the end markets by dealing with the demand from users. This is the point that the underlying crime rates will decline by taking away the profit motives of large criminal enterprises. Once this occurs, they will begin to focus on other activities outside of the sale of illegal drugs, which will reduce their power, financial support and their ability to continue with their activities (as they are severely weakened). (Cussen, 2006, pp. 39 — 48)
The Role of the Church, Family, Community and Nonprofits
Like what was stated previously, our focus will be on those organizations that are through: the church, family, community and various nonprofits. The basic idea here is to have each one of these groups effectively reach out to various addicts and offer them a way of effectively dealing with their addiction. This is significant because, this kind of basic approach has been used consistently throughout the course of human history to address these kinds of problems. Evidence of this can be seen by looking no further than a direct reference from 1 Corinthians 10:13 with it saying, “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” (“The Holy Bible,” 2007) As a result, the change in policy that we are advocating is intelligently dealing with these issues, while remaining in line with some of the basic ideas of the Judeo Christian philosophy. This giving these organizations the chance to remain in line with these objectives, while following some of the practices that have been used throughout history to deal with these challenges.
The basic approach that we are advocating is currently being utilized by many different groups on the local level to deal with these issues. A good example of this can be seen by looking no further than, the Most Excellent Way program that was started in 1986. Originally, this was designed to provide the local community of Jacksonville, Florida; with some kind of effective addict interdiction and treatment programs. This was accomplished by: offering counseling / services and working with these individuals to find new ways to deal with their addiction over the long-term.
Over the years, this program has been so successful that the majority of people were able to see an improvement in their personal lives through this approach. As the series has expanded to a number of different regions around the world including: Europe, Russia, Mexico and the Philippines. This is significant, because it is highlighting that if this basic philosophy can be embraced. There is a realistic possibility that these groups can effectively conduct some kind of intervention on larger scales. Once this occurs, it will allow these kinds of organizations to effectively deal with demand through: reaching out to addicts. (“Drug and Alcohol Addiction,” 2011)
A second example of the potential effectiveness of this approach can be seen with West Care. This is a community and family-based nonprofit that was started in 1973. Their focus is to reach out those individuals who are suffering from drug addiction by: intervening when someone it is impacting the lives of their community and family members. This occurs, when the police become involved after an initial arrest, based upon a host of different incidents ranging from: drug addiction to domestic violence. The basic idea with this strategy is to find those individuals who are suffering from drug abuse once they begin to become a part of the criminal justice system. As, they are offering in and outpatient counseling / support to help these people overcome their addiction. Once this occurs, there is the realistic possibility that the person can avoid jail time and has a chance at being able to rebuild their lives. This approach has been proven to be so successful that they can deal with a host of issues, as the program has been expanded to a wide variety of states around the country. (“About Us,” 2011)
When you step back and analyze these different organizations, it is clear that this kind of strategy could have a major impact on addressing those issues that are affecting local communities. Though: working the illness addicts are suffering from vs. treating them as criminals. This is the point that the issues of demand can be effectively addressed by: focusing on how it is contributing to the underlying problem. This is in line with traditional Judeo Christian philosophy by: effectively reaching out to these people through: setting the example. Evidence of this can be seen in 1 Timothy 4:12 with is saying, “Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.” (“The Holy Bible,” 2007) This is significant because, it is illustrating how the basic approach that we are taking is based on historical principals to effectively tackle the problem on the local community level. Once this occurs, we can be able to deal with these challenges by addressing the issue through: the levels of supply and demand of the market. This will reduce the adverse impact that this is having on: governments, communities, families and individuals (through lowering crime rate along with intelligently tackling the problem). As large criminal organizations will have no way seeing sizeable profit margins (which will force them to go into other areas to achieve their objectives).
Clearly, one of the biggest challenges facing many governments and communities is that they are not effectively dealing with supply and demand issues (when it comes to the sale as well distribution of illegal drugs). The reason why, is because the status quo is ignoring these two basic principles (which is contributing to the underlying problem). As, large cartels have emerged that have found a way to continue with their operations. This is despite the fact that billions of dollars are spent each year in going after these organizations and their customers. Over the course of time, the net effect of this approach has made the problem more severe with: it contributing to an increase the amount of crime on the international and local levels.
As a result, there must be some kind of blanket decriminalization with the government playing a central role in the distribution of these products. This will deal with the supply side by: keeping prices low and taking customers away from key cartels. At the same time, a tax could be used to fund various addiction intervention and treatment programs. This is the most effective way to achieve this objective through working with church, community, family and nonprofit groups. If this kind of strategy can be utilized it will dramatically reduce crime rates and improve the quality of life of many locals. This is the point that some kind of headway can be made in addressing this issue through intelligently focusing on the root causes of the problem.
About Us. (2011). West Care. Retrieved from: http://www.westcare.com/
Drug and Alcohol Addiction. (2011). Live Baptist Church. Retrieved from: http://olivebaptist.org/Addiction/
Drugs and Crime. (2010). Everything Addiction. Retrieved from: http://www.everythingaddiction.com/addiction-society/drugs-and-crime-the-impact-of-drugs-within-societies/
Fact Sheet ADAM II Report. (2008). White House Drug Policy. Retrieved from: http://www.whitehousedrugpolicy.gov/pdf/adamii_fact_sheet_2008.pdf
The Holy Bible. (2007).
Carduso, H. (2009). The War on Drugs is a Failure. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved from: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123535114271444981.html
Cussen, M. (2006). Legalize Drugs Now. The American Journal of Economics and Sociology, 12, 39 — 48.
Fry, Smith, Bruno, O’Keefe & Miller (2007). Benzodiazepine And Pharmaceutical Opioid Misuse And Their Relationship To Crime.
Klein, A.R. (2009). Practical Implications of Current Domestic Violence Research: For Law Enforcement, Prosecutors and Judges.
Zabransky, T. (2007). Methamphetamine in the Czech Republic. Journal of Drug Issues. 37, 156-180.
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