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Effects Of Drugs On Society Essay, Research Paper


In the United States of America, we, the people value several things, some of which are freedom, expanding and taking care of our families and our financial security. We, the people, take such things for granted. We also discourage some behavior, such as crime, laziness and use of illegal drugs. Drug abuse is one of the most discouraged behaviors in our country. Use of illegal drugs is harmful to the user and all those with whom the user comes in contact. There are over 40 million illegal drug users in the world today and America is the biggest market for drugs. There are more drug dealers in this country, than there are dentists. Illegal drug abuse must be stopped; it hurts our society, hurts us, and, most of all hurts the user. Drug users are parasites, feeding off society’s money, taxes and insurance. Every type of insurance goes up because of drug abuse, including auto, health and homeowners. Worst of all, the crime rate will sky rocket if we let this behavior continue. (Berger, 54) Illegal drugs and their abusers are a plague to society for many different reasons. Drugs have very harmful effects on the user and the people with whom the user interacts. The user is affected in many ways.

There is a lot of controversy over whether or not drugs should be legalized. People will argue to no end on each side. Some people say drugs should be legalized because they have the idea that people are going to do them anyway, so why not legalize it? People on the other side say drugs shouldn t be legalized no matter what the reason because they are harmful for the person that is using them and also for others around the person on the drugs. If everyone in America used drugs how productive would our country be? Our country probably would not be too productive. Drugs slow down the thinking process therefore inhibiting or impairing reading comprehension, memory, speech, problem solving abilities and reaction time. With impaired reading comprehension and speech, communicating would be a very hard thing; and without good communication businesses and organizations wouldn t be very effective. With memory and problem solving abilities impaired who would learn any thing and who would invent any new ideas? If people s reaction time were slowed, roads and highways would be very dangerous places. Basically, nothing would ever get done and the country would come to a halt in technological advances. I haven t even mentioned all the deaths that would result from the use of the drugs themselves. (Harris, 147)

A study in Baltimore showed that a very small number of criminal drug users are responsible for a large part of all crimes. The study focused on a group of only three hundred fifty four male heroin addicts. Over a nine and a half-year period this group of three hundred fifty four men committed a total of seven hundred fifty thousand crimes. Some criminologists estimate that out of all the addicts in America one hundred million crimes are committed each year. When these addicts were on drugs they committed crimes two hundred fifty five days of the year. When they were drug free they committed crimes only sixty five days of the year. Violent crimes are not the only crimes committed by drug users. In the middle class cocaine and crack use is rising. This has led to an increased crime rate among the middle class. But this group commits mostly white-collar crimes such as fraud and embezzlement. (Terkel, 489)

The most popular drug in America, alcohol, is generally thought of as socially acceptable and relatively harmless. But it can have devastating effects. Alcohol might seem very harmless but it can harm the user very easily. Alcohol is easy to obtain and consume. It is taken as a beverage and, since it is legal, it can be purchased at the local corner store. The immediate effects on the user are relaxation and a slight anesthetic effect. Alcohol is a very addictive drug. There are more than 18 million alcoholics in America, an indication of how widespread its harmful effects are. Alcoholics normally drink a lot on mornings and weeknights, at times that separate them from normal “social” drinkers. The alcohol can bring out a violent temper and often, alcoholics abuse, physically and mentally, their friends and family. Drinking makes the drinker feel he is more confident. The drinker thinks he is in control, even if a little high and he might get behind the wheel of his car and go for a drive. Drunk driving is deadly. Hundreds of thousands of people get killed every year due to drunk driving. Other physical effects of drinking are vomiting, passing out and sometimes, if enough alcohol is consumed over a long enough period of time, or if mixed with other drugs, death. (West, 192)

Marijuana is a popular, and illegal, drug. Its largest consumers are young adults. Thirty-seven percent of people between ages 12-17 have tried marijuana. Marijuana gives a slight buzzing feeling of light-headedness. Experimentation with marijuana is dangerous because studies show that 60% of people who smoke marijuana on a regular basis move on to try harder drugs soon after. Marijuana tends to diminish the ambition and motivation in the user. In the long run, it may cause lung cancer and other respiratory problems. (Goodman, 76)

Cocaine is another popular, illegal, street drug. Cocaine is snorted or smoked as ” crack” (a cheaper, and as a result of being so affordable, more addictive way). Cocaine gives the user a sense of well-being and extra energy. Cocaine is one of the most dangerous drugs. In 1995, over 500,000 emergency room accidents were cocaine- related. Cocaine is one of the worst drugs because it causes respiratory illness and kills mucus membranes. (McCormick, 34)

Heroin is the most addictive and dangerous illegal drug on the streets. You’ll become a so- called “junkie” if you use it. It affects the hygiene and personal appearance of the user a great deal, because nothing is as important to the user anymore as where that next hit will come from. Heroin is injected and sometimes snorted. It causes great euphoria, but also nausea and vomiting. Like any street drug, its user does not know what potency he is getting from batch to batch. Therefore, there is always the risk that he will overdose and die. Withdrawal from heroin can cause severe illness and death. (McCormick, 89-91)

Drug abuse leads to all sorts of crimes. Drug addicts need money to support their habits, and all users, addicts or casual users, are careless and reckless when under the influence. Drug users can commit property crimes, such as robbing a house or a store. Drug users can also commit personal crimes, like mugging, armed robbery and even murder. Drug use, itself, can be a crime. It makes innocent citizens scared to walk out of their own homes, in their own neighborhoods. Drug abuse is a plague to society. Drug abuse drains society’s resources by requiring that taxes be spent on funding enforcement agencies, treatment facilities, and on prosecution of drug users and dealers. Drugs hurt future generations of citizens, because drug abuse, particularly of marijuana, is predominantly a problem among teens. Our society is hurt economically because every year millions of American dollars leave this country illegally, invested in places such as Turkey and Colombia, as a result of Americans trafficking in the drug trades of those countries. (McMillian, 247) Drug abuse must be stopped. We should attack the supply and demand. We should keep drugs from entering the country and incarcerate dealers and smugglers. To attack the demand, we should educate people on the risk of bodily harm, mental harm and the damage to relationships with family and friends. Drug abuse is hurting our country by causing increased crime, soaring insurance rates and stealing of tax dollars. If fighting drug abuse were made a top priority, we could probably wage an effective war, through education and enforcement of laws, to stop drug abuse. (Terkel, 102-116)


Burger, Alder. DRUG ABUSE. New York: Chelsa House ,1988

Goodman, Paula M.D. DESIGNER DRUGS. New York:

Franklin Watts, 1988

Harris, Jonathan. DRUGGED AMERICA. New York: Four Winds

Press, 1991

McCormick, Michelle. DESIGNER DRUG ABUSE. New York:

Franklin Watts, 1989


New York: Franklin Watts, 1991

Terkel, Susan Neilburg. SHOULD DRUGS BE LEGALIZED?

New York: Enslow, 1989


Englewood Cliffs N.J: Prentice-Hall, 1984

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