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Health Science in Regards to Drugs and Alcohol
Legalization of drugs
When Colorado and Washington legalized the use of marijuana for recreational purposes, issues related to legalization of all drugs became subject of public debate. Those who voted for legalization of Marijuana in these two states argued that legalization of these drugs would generate revenue, deter black market activities, and check against lose of tax resources used by law enforcement agencies (Will, 2012). These younger and liberal voters averred that drug enforcement unfairly targeted minority groups and that the current laws led to greater crimes because of the demand for illegal drugs.
Those of opposing view opined that criminalization of recreational drugs could help lower rate of use and abuse hence decrease in addictions and problems associated with it. Opponents of legalization of drugs were older and more conservative. The current policy detailing the war on drugs has failed to live to expectations (Will, 2012). The government should focus on treatment of drug related cases, rehabilitate drug addicts, and educate people on the effects of abusing drugs as opposed to enforcing the current policies that are costing the taxpayers a lot of money.
The number of Americans imprisoned for drug related offenses is significantly higher than those imprisoned for property crime. America currently spends five times more money in jailing drug dealers than it did towards the end of the 20th century. It is pointless taking low-ranking street corner dealers to prison where they are going to spend three years and get released (Fareed Zakaria, 2012). If such a dealer does a $200 transaction, he shall have made damage to the society worth $100,000. When such low ranking dealers are released from prison without the possibility of getting employed, they get back to business because they can only deal drugs. Dealers have got nothing to do with hooking non-drug users to drugs because future addicts are normally initiated by their friends, siblings, or acquaintances (Will, 2012). The government spends obscene sums of money in trying to slow the flow of drugs to the street-level dealers compared to what dealers who connect the cartels to the cartel customers earn. Criminalization of drugs like cocaine increases its retail price. Contrary to popular belief that when prices are higher a few people would be willing to consume cocaine, the reverse has been experienced.
Drug peddling cartels have massive resources that can be used to compromise enforcement initiatives. It is therefore pointless criminalizing drug use. On paper it will appear like Cocaine or other recreational drugs are out of streets while in actual sense they would be doing rounds in streets in full glare of law enforcement agencies (Will, 2012).
Twenty-five percent of drug peddling cartel's revenue is earned from marijuana. If it is legalized, it is possible that a massive $10 billion will be taken from bad hands. The only unfortunate thing is that these bad boys will still get money from peddling cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamines. It is therefore pointless legalizing certain drugs while you criminalize the rest. The legalization of marijuana for medical purposes is semi-legalization. This has bred cynicism with law. It never came as a surprise that in 2010, those who were opposed to legalization of marijuana in California were marijuana growers (Fareed Zakaria, 2012). They feared that legalization of marijuana would eat into their profit margin. Legalizing marijuana use has public health consequences that are worth paying for if the government is serious about throwing cartels out of business and cutting costs of enforcement.
Advertisement of prescription drugs to the general public
Prescription drugs should be advertised to the general public as has been the practice over the past years. It is in the United where direct to consumer advertising of prescription is legal. This happens under the watchful eyes of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). When such drugs are advertised, consumers get informed about the potential medical conditions they may be having and the drugs they can use to treat such conditions. A consumer is well versed on medical issues will most likely contact his doctor to discuss his medical condition. These advertisements are a boon to the public health sector (Food and Drug Administration, 1999).
It should not be misconceived that when one sees an advertisement on television then he will rush out to buy the drug being advertised. It should not be lost on us that users of prescription drugs can easily access the services of physicians, pharmacists, and product packages. Besides, users can also access internet websites and medical literature that can educate them about prescription drugs (Food and Drug Administration, 1999).
Prescription drug advertisement has helped demystify the stigma that is associated with many health conditions. It has helped the patients appreciate the health issues that they are faced with. They subsequently discuss their health problems openly with their health service providers. Every person ventures into business to make profit and direct to consumer advertisers of prescription drugs should never be left out. Drug makers make $4.00 for every $1.00 spent in direct to consumer advertisement. The profits accrued from advertisement are used to develop life-improving medications. Such monies are invested in research which is a very crucial aspect of drug manufacturing. For prescription drug manufacturers to recoup their Research and Development expenses and remain competitive against generic drug manufacturers, they have to engage in direct to consumer advertising (Food and Drug Administration, 1999).
Fears that are raised with advertisement of prescription drugs are uncalled for because prescription drug advertisements are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act compels manufacturers, packers, and distributors who advertise prescription human and animal drugs to disclose in the advertisement information related to the product uses and risks that abound. For prescription drugs, the Act requires that the advertisement outlines the side effects, contraindications, and the effectiveness of the drug in question. The print advertisements must ventilate each of the risk concepts on the package labeling. Advertisements through television, radio, or telephone communications must disclose major risks associated with such drugs in audio or visual parts of the presentation (Food and Drug Administration, 1999). The adequate provision requirement compels sponsors of broadcast advertisement to present a brief summary for dissemination of the approved or permitted package labeling.
Prescription drug should be advertised because advertising is a form of speech that is protected under the First Amendment. Any legislation that prohibits advertisement of prescription drugs directly to consumers violates the citizens' constitutional rights. By the virtue of the fact that doctors, hospitals, and healthcare insurance providers are allowed to advertise their services directly to the consumers of their services, it therefore follows that drug companies be allowed to advertise their brands directly to the consumers (The People's Pharmacy, 2013).
The DARE program should not continue because it has never lived to its promise of educating school aged children and youths on the effects of drug abuse. Despite the fact that this program brings on board the services of education and law enforcement agencies its effectiveness has elicited a lot of debate. The program has been there for quite sometime considering that it was developed in 1983 when drug use rates among the school going children kept increasing. At its formative stage, its curricula basically reviewed existing prevention program especially the Project SMART (Jarlais, Sloboda, Friedman, Tempalski, McKnight & Braine, 2006). It is mind boggling that the program has spread and is used in 80% of United States school districts but its effectiveness remains a myth. Meta-analysis of myriad DARE evaluations has shown no long-term positive effects. This is something that raises a lot of questions. It does not matter that no review of research studies on DARE has concluded that the program is effective in reducing illicit drug use among the vulnerable population (Jarlais et al., 2006). The fact that DARE curricula was not included in the National Registry of Effective Program of the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention and the Exemplary and Promising Safe, Disciplined and Drug Free Schools Program of the United States Department of Education is an indication that it has not been that effective. The failure of the DARE program cannot be blamed on the cutting of federal funds for the DARE program. The program was not that effective.
The DARE program is looked at in the perspective of widespread diffusion without evidence of effectiveness, it is imperative that the diffusion is followed by an extensive evaluation research. If the research gives firm evidence of its effectiveness, additional diffusion should be done while existing programs are maintained. However, evaluation research done on DARE program to ascertain its effectiveness have always given contrary results. Besides, there have never been extensive evaluation researches to ascertain the effectiveness of the program (Jarlais et al., 2006). The government's resolve to cut federal funding on this program was an indication that this program was experiencing some problems. The brains behind this program should have been bold enough to either modify…[continue]
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