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Drug Related Crime: A Distinction Between Crimes Rooted In Prohibition And Crimes Caused By Drug Use

2938 words - 12 pages

The concept of drug related crime is defined as a causal connection, which can be established between drug consumption and crime commission . However the two principal aspects of drug use which are connected to crime can be distinguished as :1) Crimes, which are directly related to drug use, or2) Crimes, which are rooted in policies of drug prohibition.Drug related crime is a dynamic social occurrence, however it is limited in its causality to particular types of crimes and drugs .It must also be emphasised that caution be exercised when drawing a concluding implication of the nexus between drug use and crime. This is because the nexus is also often used to tangible effect in order to support government policy and the need to "get tough on drugs". Thus the concept of drug related crime can be used as a "two way street" which may be manipulated in a direction, favourable to those who support the argument for drug prohibition and those who oppose it. Consequently one can never accept a statement pertaining to drug related crime on face value, as underlying aims seek to be furthered. Also one must be critical in the use of the term drug related crime as the term does not clearly define the specific nature or range of such crimesTo understand the development of drug related crime and aid in critical perspectives, it is prudent to analyse the historical development of drug prohibition.Opium was the first drug to be prohibited in Australia . Opium probation was not the result of a call to morality against any harmful effects; rather it was the result of racial bias against the Chinese, who threatened economic security by undercutting Australian labour costs and an attempt to protect white women from molestation at the hands of the opium smoking Chinese .Governments at that time orchestrated moral panics in the community in an attempt to achieve support for the introduction of opium prohibition to control the Chinese by criminalising their exclusive habits .Another primary cause of introduction of drug prohibition in Australia was the pressure the USA and the UN placed upon Australia to conform to international prohibition laws, which have vastly intensified .Australia's subservience is particularly evident in the 1953 prohibition against the importation and manufacturing of heroin. The Commonwealth government sought to justify such a radical move at the time by emphasising the need to counter the perils of heroin addiction . The prohibition was introduced despite the failure to commission any study as to the harmful effects and the non-existence of any wide spread drug addictions.Manderson best summarises the development of drug prohibition, by arguing that :There is no simple or overarching reason for the development of drug laws in Australia. But there is one clear message: no matter what we are told, drug laws have not been about health or addiction at all. They have been an expression of bigotry, class and deep-rooted social fears, a function of...

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