Comparative Harms Of Legal And Illegal Drugs

3458 words - 14 pages


There is much harm that comes about due to the use of drugs, legal or illegal. For starters there are many health risks that one takes if he or she abuses the power of drugs. Someone that is addicted to drugs, either legal or illegal, puts an awful strain on their bodies. They also put an awful strain onto their family and friends. Attempts will be made in this paper to compare the harms that occur from the abuse of legal and illegal drugs.
Throughout U.S. history there have been many attempts to control drug use. The first attempt to control drugs in the U.S. came about in 1868. In that year the Pharmacy Act of 1868 was passed (Drugs 78). The act required the registration of anyone that was dispensing drugs, such as prescriptions. Around 1987 the first amounts of cocaine began to appear in the country, it was mainly used as a substitute for opium and a cure for asthma and toothaches (Drugs 78). The next major step to enforce drugs in the country came by the passing of the Harrison Act in 1914. The act though was not a major force to prohibit the use of drugs. It was mainly a means to collect revenue from the sale of prescribed drugs. It also did make it unlawful to poses narcotics unless the drug was prescribed by a doctor (Drugs 79). The next major act the came about to try and enforce drugs was in 1970. It was the Controlled Substances Act and the Controlled Substances Import and Export Act. These two acts created schedules for drugs amended the penalties for violation and also gave strength to the regulation of the pharmaceutical industry. What the federal government meant for these acts to do was act as a model for the states legislation to follow, and more often than not have been followed (Drugs 82). Then during the beginning of the 1980’s the government began what is known as the War on Drugs. During this time many task forces, drug enforcement offices and drug polices began to appear and the focus of the drug control began to come down to punishment rather than treatment.
Lets try to define abuse and what it means to abuse drugs. Drug abuse consists of taking more than the prescribed amount of a medication without the medical advise of a physician. Drug abuse also includes the use of any illegal substance such as marijuana, cocaine, LSD and heroine (Microsoft Drug 1). It is also possible to abuse legal substances such as nicotine or caffeine through excessive use. The word abuse also could be used along side of the word addiction. One is said to be addicted if their pattern of use, or any kind of activity, interferes with their everyday responsibilities in their life, such as their job or family.      
     There are many types of treatment that can be used to try and get the drug abuser off of the drugs. As far as tobacco is concerned one survey found that the majority of former smokers, (approximately 91%), quit on their own, without any professional assistance (Skaar 3). And the...

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