Term Paper: United States

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[. . .] The reasoning behind 100 is also because it's easier to split it into percentages and that amount will provide enough variety over time to satisfy my research question. I need to know just how effectively specific legal restrictions and punishments can affect the decline of substance abuse; this takes time and takes a fairly large number of people to sample.

To identify the variables, or factors, that will determine the success of legal punishments in curbing substance abuse can be selected through research of methods of punishment and the success rate over time. If, for instance, probation with drug testing proves successful over time with 100 people sampled, (i.e. went through drug testing during probation), then that can be a variable that will determine the success of legal punishments in curbing substance abuse. Drug testing, coupled with probation, would be the specific independent variable, and the person who is recovering from substance abuse would be the specific dependent variable. So testing and punishment could be inferred, for this example, to be the successful deterrent if, and only if, the rate of substance abuse decreases after probation period ends and drug testing proves negative for illegal substances.

In terms of law enforcement, it is far more active than in the past which aids in the decrease of substance abuse in terms of population to drug ratio. There are a growing number of drug users, but the population is also increasing at high rates as well. "Law enforcement has, of course, been the primary means by which society has attempted to control drug abuse in the past and at present appears to represent the principal effort for the future also. Arrests for drug offenses have increased dramatically during the past few years, from 31,752 in 1960 to 134,006 in 1968 and over 230,000 in 1969. Such arrests of persons under eighteen rose from 1,688 in 1960 to 33,091 in 1968 and over 57,000 in 1969." (Dealing With Drug Abuse -- Summary and Recommendations 2012) Evidence has shown that the stricter drug laws have led to more arrests and more people in rehabilitation treatment centers than ever before regardless of population to drug use ratio. These, although demonstrative of the amount of people on drugs; has shown positive results in slowing down substance abuse.

There is also a model of success for the curbing of drugs coming into the country, which leads directly to a decrease in substance abuse by operation, "Panama Express." "Over the past 10 years, the operation Panama Express has resulted in the seizure of over 500 tons of cocaine worth an estimated $10 billion. Authorities have arrested more than 2,000 international drug traffickers and transporters, mostly Colombians. Additionally, pending capture at open sea, transporters have dropped to the bottom of the Pacific Ocean another 391 tons of cocaine worth another $7 billion." (FBI -- A Model for Success in the Drug War, 2012) For the purposes of the sample, the 100 people's background into substance abuse and how they were apprehended could all be factors in determining the success rates. For the sample to prove successful, the 100 people would have to say their drug use has decreased; and the laws enforced by police and the government aid in lessening potential reuse.

Data Analysis: "War on Drugs":

While analyzing data in relation to this study, it is crucial to identify variables and measures that would eventually be used for critical data analysis and techniques of collected data. The project, which focuses on providing a description and assessment of the performance of legislation against substance abuse in the United States, will then be determined through the quantitative research approach.

The data analysis will be hinged on the main research question and its sub-questions. The main research question, what is the success rate of legal restrictions and punishments on substance abuse in the United States in the past five (5) years, will be best illustrated through a scorecard or in statistical terms, an "index" that helps determine all variables related to the independent variable being identified. Success rate, as a measure of success performance of legal restrictions and punishments on substance abuse in the United States, will then become the dependent variable. As a dependent variable, success rate will be composed and determined from different independent variables, which could be any of the following: determination of legal restrictions and punishments on substance abuse in the United States, implementation of legal restrictions and punishments on substance abuse, and success rate of cases committed under each legal restriction and punishment on substance abuse. Success rate will be those cases of individuals arrested and/or committed under each legal restriction and punishment, and the rate of successful rehabilitation based on parameters set by the law (i.e., assessment after a specific period of successful rehabilitation, or post-rehabilitation assessment) (Smith, 1988, p. 127).

To determine the variables for the success rate, a meta-analysis would be the recommended approach to determining the measures that will be used for the quantitative study (Babbie, 2007, p. 330). This means going through relevant literature related to indices on performance or success rates of legal restrictions and punishment on substance abuse. Since the time frame of the study is in the past five years, literature in the past ten (10) years would be a good foundation from which the researcher would be intimate with all literature concerning the quantitative assessment of performance factors influencing successful rehabilitation and implementation of legal restrictions and punishments on substance abuse in the U.S. Once identified, measures and indicators that will be used for the Success Rate Index of Legal Restrictions and Punishments on Substance Abuse in the U.S. will be checked for validity and reliability through correlation analysis. Further, the scoring system will have a weighting system wherein factors will be ranked according to their importance, based on the results of the meta-analysis. Factors with high importance will be given bigger weights, while those with less importance will be assigned smaller weights. This scoring system will be used as a standard form during the data collection stage, wherein each legal restriction and punishment on substance abuse will be identified, surveyed, and analyzed based on the score card (Smith, 1988, p. 127). Further analysis that can be used is regression analysis, wherein drivers of success rate or high performance of a legal restriction or punishment will be identified through a statistical analysis of the measures used in the scoring card and actual data on success / performance of each restriction and punishment in the past five years.

While it is useful (and wise) to take a study of the 100 persons, who are willing to be measured on the success rate of legal restrictions and punishments on substance abuse in the United States in the past five (5) years, the ongoing war against drugs and drug trafficking in the United States will be endless. Of course, with the data collected, it will become clearer about what tactics will work best in hopes of, somewhat, maintaining and lowering the incredibly high reports of drugs, drug trafficking, and deaths due to drugs in the United States, there will never be a definitive victory over these instances. Success rates for the authorities will consistently be rising, as they become keener on the whereabouts of the most sought after drug suppliers in the country; however, at least the data retrieved from this study will show that if progress is continually made in the efforts to lower drug rates in the country, then success will be in the hands of the authorities, as seen in operation "Panama Express."

It is fascinating, especially now, to see the work and progress against the war on drugs in the United States by local and federal authorities. If the government continues to be persistent in "cleaning up" the streets of all the towns and big cities across the country, they should find that they will have continued success, especially when referring the data collected from the literature and samples in this study -- specifically, in the fight against methamphetamine.

References

Babbie, E. (2007). The practice of social research. CA: Wadsworth. Smith, M.J. (1988). Contemporary Communication Research Methods. CA: Wadsworth.

Dealing With Drug Abuse -- Summary and Recommendations. 2012. Dealing With Drug Abuse - Summary and Recommendations. [ONLINE] Available at:

http://www.druglibrary.org/schaffer/library/studies/dwda/dwdsum.htm. [Accessed 28 April 2012].

FBI -- A Model for Success in the Drug War. 2012. FBI -- A Model for Success in the Drug War.

[ONLINE] Available at: http://www.fbi.gov/stats-services/publications/law-enforcement-bulletin/february2011/drug_war_feature. [Accessed 28 April 2012].

Fussell, H., Janice, H., Lewy, C.S., & McFarland, B.H. (2009). Clinical perception: A study of intimate partner violence vs. methamphetamine use as presenting problems. Psychiatry: Interpersonal & Biological Processes, 72(4), 382-392.

Office of National Drug Control Policy. (2006). Pushing Back Against Meth: A Progress Report on the Fight against Methamphetamine in the United States. White House Drug Policy. Web. https://www.ncjrs.gov/ondcppubs/publications/pdf/pushingback_against_meth.pdf

ORAU. (2010). Qualitative and quantitative research methods. CD Cynergy. Web. http://www.orau.gov/cdcynergy/demo/content/activeinformation/tools/toolscontent/soc_qual_quant_chart.htm

PBS. (2011). The Meth Epidemic. Frontline. Web. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/meth/

Piper, Bill.… [END OF PREVIEW]

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