Public Order And Drug Crimes Essay

1673 words - 7 pages

How does humanity govern its self? The world, as seen today, is an extremely diverse nation with various, backgrounds, traditions, and customs. The aforementioned are informal social controls used to help govern citizens in an unceremonious way. These informal controls developed over time into formal controls, laws, to try and restore harmony within a society and punish those who are in violation of laws. Laws are defined as a set of rules developed by a body of legislation to maintain order and peace of an organized people. Laws can be used as an umbrella to blanket a multitude of subsets, such as, political, administrative, financial, and civil infractions. Public Order crimes can also be placed in to a subcategory of criminal legislation. When defining a criminal infraction there are two sides of the spectrum, the victim and the offender. Drug usage and drug-related crimes have the most relevant association when it comes to violation of federal and state statutes. So what happens when there is not apparent “victim?” Is there a thing as a “victimless” crime? Public order and drug crimes may not seem to have an effect in an instant, but over time it damages our nation as a whole.
In criminology Larry Siegel defines public-order crimes as “crimes which involves acts that interfere with the operations of society and the ability of people to function efficiently” (Siegel). So what is the difference in violating the “law” and committing crimes against “public order?” Public order crimes are often viewed as laws that don’t have an apparent victim. Such crimes may include prostitution, drunkenness and disorderly behavior, gambling, and drug use and abuse. Drug use and abuse is one of the most damaging public order crimes in the United States. Any illegal possession of a drug(s) is considered a violation of the law and can fall into either a misdemeanor or felony category. Drug abuse on the other hand is not clearly defined as breaking the law, but a violation of a moral upbringing. The history of drugs and drug use can be traced back to ancient times. Drugs were mainly used for religious, medicinal, and occasionally leisure purposes. In the past there was no scientific evidence to prove that drugs were damaging in the numerous ways they were used. It was not until the early 2oth century that America began to see a link between drug use and criminal activity. The Harrison Act of 1914 was introduced to help contest against the use of drugs such as opiates and cocaine. According to Richard Davenport-Hines, “By the early 1920’s, the conception of the addict changed from that of a middle-class victim accidently addicted through medicinal use, to that of a criminal deviant using narcotics (or stimulants) for pleasure” (p.14). With the rise of opiate and cocaine use in the United States, The Harrison Act allowed the federal government to regulate and tax the production, importation, and distribution of these dangerous drugs. The main...

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