Drug Use, Policy, and Management

Drug Use, Policy, and Management

Drug Use, Policy, and Management

Drug Use, Policy, and Management

Synopsis

Drug use is a deeply embedded characteristic of contemporary society, and includes illegal substances such as heroin, cocaine, or marijuana as well as those that are currently legal, such as cigarettes and alcohol. This study begins by defining drugs and explains use, addiction, and abuse. It then reviews the classes of drugs and discusses the social context and reality of how they are used. The historical background of drugs and drug use is examined with a cross-cultural perspective. An important aspect of the book is the examination of the drug treatment services that are available. Finally, the book reviews the "War Against Drugs," raises quetsions about present policies, and makes recommendations for future efforts.

Excerpt

Crime and violence, police action and court activity, property confiscation, media attention, massive allocations of federal, state, and local resources, and other factors lead to the conclusion that the drug problem attracts more public concern and attention than any other social issue. Whether illegal substances such as marijuana, heroin, and cocaine or legal substances, including cigarettes and alcohol, drug use is a deeply embedded characteristic of society.

In terms of illegal drugs alone, the U.S. federal government has spent $110,000 million -- or $110,000,000,000 -- over the last ten years to fight the problem. State and local governments are reported to have allocated a comparable amount; and massive sums have been spent by communities, businesses, schools and private individuals attempting to address drug use. "The conservative total from all efforts adds up to close to $500,000 million. This figure does not count the indirect cost of drug use measured in human suffering, increased violence, and lost lives," nor does it include the damage done by cigarettes and alcohol. Additionally, it has been estimated that illegal drugs have cost more than $300,000 million in health care, incarceration, accidents, and litigation during the 1990s. Such a commitment (i.e., $800,000 million spent over the last ten years) translates to a cost of $29,630 per hard-core addict per year, using the government's estimate that there are about 2.7 million hard-core addicts in America. In terms of U.S. 1997 population census information, nearly $300 per year is being spent on the drug problem for every man, woman, and child in America to convince the public that there is "an abiding willingness on the part of the government and the people to fight back."

The numbers associated with the drug issue are overwhelming, and understanding the extent of the problem is not made any easier by drug policy makers and experts who explain the problem in different, often contradicting, ways. Take . . .

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