Do Anti-Drug Laws Actually Encourage Drug Use?Rehabilitation News
There are endless laws on the books that refer to drug use, possession, and distribution. Individuals who break the law face steep consequences for doing so. While drug laws are put in place to curb drug use, many wonder if they actually cause the opposite to occur. At the Crosby Clinic, we have noticed that there is an increasing number of individuals battling addictions. Simultaneous to the increase is the increase in law enforcement measures toward combating drug use. To understand whether the laws are helping or hurting, we must look at the progression of policies and how they correlate to drug use and crimes.
The Legal System And Drug Crimes
Drug trafficking is one of the biggest contributing factors to drug use in the United States. There is an increasing focusing on anti-drug enforcement initiatives. Although possession is a charge that can earn a person jail time, finding the source of the drugs takes priority over simple offenses.
In considering the pros and cons of various anti-drug laws, it is crucial to look at the statistics.
- Over 50% of inmates are incarcerated on drug offenses
- Individuals arrested for drugs have a 21% rate of being re-arrested for them
- 33% of defendants in federal court were there for drug crimes
- 282,590 adults were arrested for trafficking in 2004
- Between 1982 and 2007, we have seen drug charges increase by over 1,000,000 nationwide
Although most of these statistics could be interpreted to show an increase in drug use, it is more likely that the increased legal efforts have only uncovered more usage and not created it.
Drug Use Statistics In The United States
In 1971, Richard Nixon declared war on drugs, resulting in the inclusion of trial and error methods to purge drug use nationwide. Over the past 20 years, more focus has been placed on raising awareness and creating drug-free citizens from youth rather than punish individuals. We are now seeing some significant changes in drug use across the country, including:
- A decrease from 2.3 Million to 1.6 million users abusing cocaine
- Over 23.5 million Americans seeking drug treatment in 2009
- 2.1 million individuals going to the ER for drug use, showing a 98% increase between 2004 and 2009
In2011, more individuals recognized the rising number of individuals with opioid dependences. This resulted in the funding for awareness, enforcement, and education programs across the United States. In 2016, President Obama signed a bill toward regulating drug use after the CDC declared opioid addiction a national epidemic.
So Do Laws Hurt Or Help?
Drug laws are constantly being developed to discourage individuals from engaging in drug use. Unfortunately, we are still seeing an increase in the number of individuals engaging in drug use nationwide. Drug laws do not directly encourage drug use. On the contrary, people tend to believe that the laws discourage drug use as individuals are aware of the consequences to their actions and are more likely to refrain from engaging in the activities. One thing is for sure – we need to continue making every effort possible to educate our youth and provide treatment programs to those already struggling with addiction.
The Crosby Clinic Can Help
If you are battling a drug addiction, it is crucial to get substance abuse help as soon as possible. Our treatment programs at the Crosby Clinic are effective in educating patients and helping them overcome their addictions. Contact our clinic today at (760) 751-1234 to get help now.