Drug Related Crime Term Paper

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Drug-Related Crime

Many people who have never been involved with or exposed to illicit drug use or distribution, probably glamorize the term drug-related crime to mean the movie like violence that occurs under the auspices of organized crime, such as that seen in popular organized crime television and movies. ("Organized Crime") Yet, it is clear that this is not really the face of drug-related crime, especially in the ground war on drugs, if you will. The reality is that drug related crime is not the stuff of fables and is often associated with issues that are a much less glamorous and far more socially and personally damaging. Though there is international drug crime, especially with regard to importation of drugs to the country and large scale drug sales among what can only be referred to as gangs, that must be addressed, "In recent years, Hispanics, Chinese, and other groups have gained a foothold in organized crime through the sale and distribution of drugs in U.S. cities." ("Organized Crime") Yet, frequently drug related street crimes, including domestic violence, assault and battery, petty theft, burglary, armed robbery and other such crimes are also often what you would call drug-related crime, and a have a far more reaching effect on the culture than other forms of drug crime. One particular drug, that seems to be driving the current state of drug crime is methamphetamine, and it is seeking its victims among everyday people, who often transform their lives with the sole purpose of getting high again, through the powerful pull of the highs and deep lows of the drug itself.

Working as a bouncer in a rock 'n' roll bar in San Antonio, Atkins needed something that would give him an extra lift for the late-night hours. "Initially I started using it on a Friday night and would stay up for the entire weekend until Sunday. I would not, in fact, do it again until the following weekend." But soon a cycle that is hauntingly familiar to millions of meth addicts began to emerge. The days when Atkins wasn't using the drug became shorter, while he stayed up for longer periods of time. "Before I knew it, I was staying up practically all of the time and sleeping only here and there," he says. "I had become a total user and had all of the negative personality traits that go with addiction." He was in a state of grogginess when he wasn't high. He had out-of-control rages and couldn't concentrate on anything except the drug. He was stealing to pay for his habit. (Boulard 14)

Truly, today the kind of crime that is effecting, law enforcement and communities, is the kind of drug crime that is associated with this cycle. Everyday people, who once cared for their children and were loving to their friends and partners are now enmeshed in methamphetamine use so heavily that they are committing crimes almost nightly to support their habit. This new breed of crime has taxed the criminal justice system, changing the climate of drug related crime to one that includes extreme traffic violations, armed robbery, rape, murder, domestic battery, theft of chemicals, manufacturing of meth which brings a whole slew of environmental and health issues along with it and is flooding the system with new criminals and dependant children with unknown health problems and no place to go. (Boulard 14)

California has been particularly hard hit: "Meth is just completely out of control here," says Senator Jackie Speier. "Right now about 85% of methamphetamine in the nation is manufactured in our state. Last year we had more than 1,900 meth labs cleaned up by law enforcement at a cost of nearly $3 million. You really have to wonder how much worse it is going to get before it gets better." (Boulard 14)

One issue that has recently come under fire, and has been a very effective tool against drug crime, is the seizure of assets and properties, owned by the individual or individuals involved in the crime. It was a rather effective tool, allocated by the supreme court that created a situation for drug criminals that made it much more difficult for them to return to a life of crime upon release from prison. Yet, very recently asset seizure has come under fire and has created a situation where hard won drug cases are being dismissed on the grounds of double jeopardy.

Hanson 16)

More than 10% of all arrests and about 20% of all incarcerations involve drug law violations. (Most of the 1.5 million annual drug arrests are for simple possession, while the majority of the 325,000 people behind bars on drug charges are there for dealing.) Drug-related arrests are up 50% over the past 10 years, and drug-related incarceration is up 80%. (Boyum, and Kleiman 19)

Drug incarcerations often include only the arrests and detentions that are directly associated with drug violations and do not take into consideration the many individuals who are arrested and incarcerated doing cursory work to obtain drugs, such as theft, identity crimes and those who are arrested committing violent acts against their domestic partners and/or children in rages that are induced by drugs, or in some cases the physical lack there of. The reasons for victimization are many and include the crimes one commits to obtain the illicit substance but also the secondary association of the violent crimes often committed by those who are lacking the present ability to seek more drug.

The kinds of policy changes that might assist law enforcement and the community in its bid to reduce the effects of drug related crime on the community are many but in the following quote there are several far reaching policy changes that could help reduce the kinds of evasive crimes that are at the heart of the over-taxation of the communities where these crimes are committed, and they include a change in the way that alcohol as well as illicit drugs are dealt with in society.

A policy changes still offer the possibility of significant reductions in drug-related crime -- raising taxes on alcohol, forbidding alcohol sales to the minority of drinkers most prone to breaking the law under the influence, expanding drug treatment and in particular opiate maintenance therapy, and redirecting drug law enforcement, prosecution, and sentencing to minimize trafficking-related violence by targeting the most flagrant markets and the most violent dealers. (Boyum, and Kleiman 19)

It is clear that drug crime holds a wide and strong pull on the communities in which we all live, and more and more, especially with the ease of production with regard to meth these drug related crimes are becoming more evident in rural communities, though still significantly less hit that urban communities drug crime has invaded even the most idyllic of locations in the United States, and frequently such communities do not have the resources to deal with them and when they do people are still placed in danger and especially children and those who have to clean up the physical mess involved in manufacturing this drug that almost anyone can learn how to make in the kitchen sink with a slew of toxic chemicals and some over the counter medications.

Snell 50) One of the most essential issues with regard to this trend is the eradication of the raw materials used to make meth, in some states such policy changes have already taken effect, as in Oregon the once easily obtained meth making drug pseudoephedrine has been made a prescription only substance, this is after two plus years of it being locked behind the pharmacy counter, and obtained only with picture ID and subsequent policy changes have given pause to agencies and judicial, legislative organizations in a bid for national awareness of the problem. ("Meth's a Global Problem"… [END OF PREVIEW]

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