Drugs on the Economy History Capstone Project

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S. Department of Justice, 2010). Opiates were the primary drug of choice followed by marijuana and stimulants. A half of the admissions were taken to ambulatory facilities as opposed to residential facilities. Drug users react adversely to drugs including non-fatal overdoses. These individuals have to go to the hospital for medical attention. Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) in 2006 posited that out of 113 million hospitals ED visits, 1.5% cases were due to drug abuse or misuse hence causing a massive strain on the healthcare systems (U.S. Department of Justice, 2010).

Cocaine, marijuana, heroine and stimulants abuse prompt these ED visits. The 2007 DAWN survey of 63 metropolitan areas indicated that 12.1 deaths per 100,000 persons were because of drug use. Their records also reflected drug related suicide. Indeed the number of drug related suicide deaths per 100,000 persons ranged from less than one in jurisdictions like Chicago, Minneapolis and others to 6.2 in 100, 000 in Fargo and North Dakota (U.S. Department of Justice, 2010). The Center for Disease Control and Prevention records indicate that non-natural deaths rates attributed to motor vehicle accidents were 15.1 per 100,000, non-transport accidents 24.4 per 100, 000, suicide 11.1 per 100, 000, and homicides 6.2 per 100, 000 (U.S. Department of Justice, 2010).Download full Download Microsoft Word File
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TOPIC: Capstone Project on Drugs on the Economy History Assignment

The consequences of drug use also bring the users' families and the greater community into perspective. The 2002-2007 SAMHSA data posit that approximately 2.1 million American children live with one parent who either abuses or is dependent on illicit drugs (U.S. Department of Justice, 2010). The United State Department of Health and Human Services in 1999 estimated that substance abuse contributed to putting children under foster care. A number of states have since come up with legislations meant to protect children from consequences of drug production, trafficking and abuse (U.S. Department of Justice, 2010). E1 Paso Intelligence Center (EPIC) in 2009 received reports that 980 children were affected by methamphetamine laboratories. Children also loose their lives in random gun-fires associated with drug activity. Some are abused by their caretakers under the influence of drugs or are involved in drug trafficking (U.S. Department of Justice, 2010).

Drug abuse also weighs on criminal justice system. Resources are wasted at the time of arrest, adjudication, incarceration, and post-release supervision process of an ex-convict. However, the development of drug courts and other diversion programs that break the drug addiction and crime cycle in different jurisdictions has helped reduce resource wastage associated with drug abuse. In this case participants are subjected to continuum treatment services with some strict judicial monitoring. Once they are through with treatment the charges against them may be dropped.

The FBI records indicate that 12.2 per cent of more than 14 million arrests in 2008 were due to drug violations (U.S. Department of Justice, 2010). Over the past 20 years, drug related arrests have spiraled. In fact, 4 per cent of homicide arrests in 2008 were attributed to drug abuse. The data obtained from Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS-2007) indicate that 20 per cent of state prisoners and 53 per cent of federal prisoners are imprisoned because of violation of drug laws (U.S. Department of Justice, 2010). This is also true of 27 per cent of individuals under probation and 27 per cent on parole.

The 2008 Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring II (ADAM) data indicate that median percentage of male arrestees who tested positive in the 10 ADAM II cities for any drugs was 67.6%, a decrease compared to 2007's 69.2 per cent (U.S. Department of Justice, 2010). Jail inmates, save for this statistics, depended or abused cocaine, marijuana, opium among other drugs. Fifty-five percent of these inmates used these drugs a month before they were arrested. These findings were also echoed by 2004 BJS reports that showed that 17 per cent of state prisoners and 18 per cent of federal prisoners committed crimes to get money they can use in buying drugs (U.S. Department of Justice, 2010).

Drug abuse impacts productivity. Premature mortality, illness, incapacitation and imprisonment occasioned by drug use or possession reduce national productivity. Public money channeled to health care and criminal justice system because of drug related issues can be used in other sectors of economy to improve the people's living standards. In the year 2005, an estimated 26,858 deaths were registered (U.S. Department of Justice, 2010). These deaths were unintentional or undetermined intent poisoning. Ninety five per cent of these poisonings were attributed to drugs.

A person enrolled in a drug rehabilitation center or admitted at a health care facility for drug related issues is obviously removed from the labor force especially when they become incapacitated. TEDS data indicate that 1.8 million individuals were admitted at state-licensed treatment facilities in 2007 for either illicit drug dependence or abuse (U.S. Department of Justice, 2010). This translates into an enormous lose of productivity. Those incarcerated for violating drug laws in state and local correctional facilities translate into 620, 000 people excluded from the workforce (U.S. Department of Justice, 2010). These guys behind the bars are not productive at all.

Loss of productivity can also be given the perspective of drug-related absenteeism and drug related unemployment. The 2008 NSDUH data indicate that 19.6 per cent of unemployed adults are current users of outlawed drugs (U.S. Department of Justice, 2010). Approximately 8 per cent of full time employees and 10.2 per cent of part time employees were current users of the outlawed drugs.

Methamphetamine production and outdoor cultivation of cannabis impact the environment. Methamphetamine is produced by flammable materials and this therefore implies that improper storage and disposal of these substances can lead to explosions and fires in the laboratories. Toxic chemicals that result from its production if improperly discarded can cause extensive environmental damages. The California Department of Toxic Substance Control in 2009 incurred costs to the tune of 776, 889 dollars in trying to clean up 232 methamphetamine laboratories and dumpsites (U.S. Department of Justice, 2010). Cultivation of cannabis on public land leads to contamination and alteration of watersheds. Its cultivation also leads to diversion of natural water courses. Toxic chemicals smuggled from Mexico for purposes of growing cannabis contaminate ground water and pollute watersheds other than killing fish and other wildlife.

How decriminalization of drugs like marijuana stand to lessen the burden on tax-payers

American prison system weighs heavily on taxpayers. The American prison population currently stands at 1.6 million and that is for those behind bars according to the December 2010 statistics. A survey conducted in 1999 pointed that 60,000 individuals were in prison because of marijuana related use. Their stay in prison cost the tax payers a total of $1.2 billion (Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2011). This figure does not reflect the resources spent on those who had their probation and parole revoked for marijuana use.

The criminal justice system spends an average of $7 billion or marijuana related proceedings (National Academy of Sciences, Institute of Medicine IOM, 1999). Marijuana related charges are more than violent crimes which include assault, rape, robbery and murder. This is unacceptable. Between 1991 and 2000 marijuana related arrests doubled. Meanwhile cocaine and heroine related arrests decreased by a third. A total of 700, 000 people are arrested on marijuana related charges annually.

Decriminalization of marijuana would lead to freeing up of already exhausted resources and save the government millions of dollars. Funds devoted for prosecution and policing of marijuana are wasted and should instead be channeled towards containing deaths that are attributed to alcohol and tobacco usage. It is mind boggling that resources should be spent on prosecution and policing of marijuana when in every five minutes an individual loses his life due to alcohol related causes.

Decriminalization of marijuana cannot in any way lead increased use of marijuana but will lead to lower levels of its usage as evidenced by countries that have decriminalized use of marijuana. Restriction of marijuana use lead to increased use of marijuana. This is in line with the 1997 Connecticut Law Review. In fact legalizing marijuana use can lead to job creation at this time when jobs have become so scarce.

The consumers of marijuana in the United States are approximately 60 million (Easton, 2009). They buy marijuana at an average of $5 per cigarette. This translates to $110 billion in a year. If the government can legalize use of marijuana they stand to earn revenue that is currently being enjoyed by criminal gangs. In Canada the government sponsors production of marijuana and finally cash in on it. The revenue earned marijuana can be used initiating development programs that benefit the citizens. Some of the resources can be used in initiating other policies. This can help many states that stare bankruptcy in… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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