Introduction of crime Essay Example

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Title: Criminalization of Drug Abuse, Applying and Assessing the Usefulness of a Social Harm Approach.

Criminalization of Drug Abuse, Applying and Assessing the Usefulness of a Social Harm Approach


Drug abuse is a setback and a challenge for those affected including friends and family members. It should however be handled as an ethical and medical problem rather than a criminal issue. Drug prohibition should be handled in a similar manner to alcohol prohibition. The problem of criminalizing and decriminalizing particular forms of behaviour can be perceived from several points of view. The main issue to consider when handling the criminalization of drug use is the impact that criminalizing or decriminalizing would have. The most common point of view is the ethical perspective which is characteristically different from other points of view. If certain behaviour is regarded as morally unacceptable, then its punishment is considered as necessary (Chatwin, 2003). In general criminalization of drugs serves more harm than good in the modern jurisdictions.

Failures of criminalizing of drug use

One of the notable failures of criminalization of drug use in the fight against drugs is drug prohibition. In the U.S. for instance, the federal drug laws are contradicting according to the laws. The federal authority holds powers which have been delegated. It thus has no absolute control over the control of drug use. Although the federal government has shown control over alcohol prohibition, it is difficult to liken this to drug use prohibition. Another negative effect of drug prohibition is that it leads to high levels of crime. Drug addicts are compelled to indulge in criminal activities in order to finance their drug abuse ordeals. Police records in the U.S show that half of the property crimes committed in the country are attributed to drug users. In addition, since drugs are prohibited, players in the drug deals cannot seek the assistance of the courts in settling their disputes (Costa, 2008). When black market contracts are violated, they normally lead to some form of violent retaliations.

Criminalization of drugs enhances HIV spreading

Report published in the Science Daily (July 13, 2010), revealed that strict laws criminalizing drug use and drug addicts increases the increase in HIVcases and other severe harms connected with the illegal market. Some of the countries most affected by this include Russia and Ukraine, which enforce harsh drug laws and maintain opposing to evidence-based harm lessening strategies such as opiate exchange therapy and needle exchange plans. Take for instance, Russia which prohibits opioid substitution treatment. The country has only 75 needle and syringe programs for all the drug users estimated to be two million. It has one of the highest increasing HIV menace in the world. A focused emphasis on the criminalization drug use is an obstacle to HIV prevention. Mathematical models reveal that the country could effectively reduce the incidences of HIV infections if it allowed the application of opioid exchange treatment (Costa, 2008).

Social harm approach in war against drugs

A contracted meaning of harm reduction focuses on those strategies, programs and intercessions that inquire about reduction of the adverse health and social penalties of drug use without entailing an individual to terminate drug use. This last definition identifies that many drug users are reluctant or incapable of abstaining from drug abuse at any specified time , and that there is a necessity to offer them with options that lessen the ills caused by their sustained drug use to themselves, to others, and to the society, including , infections, overdose, impure litter, and spread of infectious diseases. This move does not prohibit suspension of drug use in the longer term and can serve as a link to treatment and psychotherapy services. Social effects of drug abuse drugs erode the social life of the fanatic, breaking his family, friendships and specialized relationships, without intrusion, the drug addict can move on unaccompanied, with the drug bas his only comrade (Costa, 2008).

Social effects of drug abuse

These are financial constrains, reliance on drugs of choice, can result to financial strain and that is devastating. Buying drugs becomes more vital to the drug devotee than daily tasks.

Isolation: Seclusion is the most regular social effect of drug abuse. The drug addict ultimately maintains a bond only with his drug of preference. Relations are affected. They become dysfunctional, as the inter-reliant identifies the effects of the drugs (Barrett, 2010).

Family:The family can be disbanded children can contract emotional matters and trust can be crushed. Harm lessening, it must be strained, neither commemorates nor allows psychoactive drug use, but rather appreciates that it cannot be eradicated. Harm lessening does not disown asceticism but rather distinguishes that there are other methods to lessen the damage of drug use. It does not disclaim government’s duty to convey appropriate information but rather maintains that government oratory and strategy exhibit regard for the health and wellbeing even of the people who maintain their drug taking ordeals unlawfully. In addition, it demands not that police desist from drug enforcement but that they work together with public health officials and even drug users to condense drug-related harms. There is not, and cannot be, any eventual solution to U.S drug problems. What harm lessening offers is a practical and humanitarian method for minimising the harm linked to drug use and unproductive drug control strategies (Harcourt, 2000).

Key principles of a social harm reduction approach

There are key philosophies of harm reduction as sketched by the CCSA national policy working group (1996), they include:

Pragmatism: A diverse level of drug use in the community is to be expected. Restraining and controlling of the drug-related ills could be a more sensible and practicable choice, at least in the short term, than attempts to do away, with drug use completely.

Humane values: No upright decision is made about an individual’s decision to use drug substances, despite the level of use or manner of ingestion. This does not entail consent of drug use. Rather, it admits respect for the poise and rights of the person.

Focus on harms.The degree of an individual’s drug employment is of minor significance to the risk of problems resulting from employment. The main concern is to lessen the risk of unenthusiastic results of drug use to the person and others. Harm reduction neither leaves out nor deduces the enduring handling goal of asceticism. In a number of cases, decrease of level of use may be one of the most successful forms of harm cutback. In others, variation of the method of application could be more sensible and successful.

Balancing costs and benefits:Some sensible processes of reviewing the comparative significance of challenges associated with drugs are their linked troubles, and costs/benefits of control are implemented in order to centre resources on main issues. This study goes beyond the instant objectives of the addicts to include wider societal and community concerns. Maher & Dixon (1999) noted that this coherent move allows the impacts of harm cutback to be measured and compared with other interventions. Intervention at all in practice, the amount of factors to be analyzed in both the short and long term complicates such evaluations.
Priority of immediate goals: The immediate wants are given priority. Accomplishing the most urgent and sensible goals is normally seen as first ladder towards risk-free drug use.

Conclusion and Recommendations

Drug misuse is a setback, for those implicated in it and for their kinsmen and associates. However, it is normally handled with as an ethical and medical rather than as an illegal action, a setback for the health specialist, not the attorney general. Federal republics and congress ought to handle drug issues the same manner the U.S handled alcohol prohibition. The 21st amendment did not essentially permit the vending of alcohol; it simply cancelled the federal ban and went back to the numerous nations’ authority to lay down alcohol policies. States took the chance to table different liquor regulations that were in harmony with the partiality of their people. Later than 1933, three nations and several of counties sustained ban. Supplementary states chose a variety of methods of banning alcohol.

Parliament should pull out from the fight against drugs and leave the states lay down their own strategies with deliberation to present unlawful drugs. The states should be well counselled to handle bhang, cocaine, and heroin the manner in which most states handle alcohol issues: it should be approved for certified outlets for such drugs. Drug vending to minors, like alcohol sales to minors, ought to be banned. With such a strategy, parliament would admit that our existing drug strategies have aborted. It would re-establish power to the states, as the creator predicted. It would bank taxpayers’ money. In addition, it would grant the states the authority to test with drug strategies and may be invent rules that are more triumphant (Chatwin, 2003).

Revoking of bans would seize the huge profits derived from drug deals and obliterate the drug linchpins that terrify parts of our cities. It would condense crime even more radically than did the revoke of alcohol ban.


Rolles, S., 2010, An alternative to the war on drugs’, British Medical Journal July 2010.

Barrett, D., 2010, Security, development and human rights: Normative, legal and policy challenges for the international drug control system, International Journal of Drug Policy 21(2) (2003) pp 140-144.

Chatwin, C., 2003, Drug policy developments within the European Union Destabilisingeffects of Dutch and Swedish Drug Policies, British Journal of Criminology, 43 pp 567-582.

Costa, A., 2008, Making drug control “fit for purpose”: Building on the UNGASS Decade.’ UN Office on Drugs and Crime, Retrieved from


Harcourt, B. E., 2000, The collapse of the harm principle. Journal of criminal law andcriminology

Maher, L & Dixon, D., 1999, Policing and Public Health. Law Enforcement and Harm Minimization in a Street-level market, British Journal of Criminology, 39, (4) pp 448-512.

Greenawalt, K., 2005, Legal enforcement of morality, Journal of criminal law & criminology pg 710–725.