His historical reference to drug uses, medicinal properties as well s technology role in our present age does paint a vivid picture of how government decisions can affect us. Since the article was a bit difficult to follow in the beginning and kept discussing historical and current events, I had to focus on the relevance of what was happening then, now and probably what will happen In the future If our government does not address the pros and cons of dangerous drugs, technology and how not addressing these issues can lead to societal breakdown.
The author, Daniel Patrick Monomania first highlighted the problem with drugs to us In the article as he was on his way to Camp David (military facility) with George P. Schultz, a government official. He was excited about his findings and wanted to discuss the parallels he was drawing about the potential drug epidemic if America did not handle the crisis appropriately. In 1969, the government focus was not on drug use but the focus was on addressing poverty and America’s welfare system. The president at that time had just sent a major legislative program to congress since he wanted to reform the welfare program.
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In the program, “the welfare system was to be replaced by a guaranteed income” (pig. 53). As I analyze what history has taught us, I realized the Iatrogenic factor here was many Americans who were placed on welfare for a long time became dependent on the money and lived for years depending on government assistance. At the time, it seems as a really great way of assisting Americans who had no way of assisting themselves, however, the unintended consequence became evident; people stopped working. The government was now faced with a new problem.
As Monomania explored his findings (report), he was really trying to explain what will be a problem with drugs in our society. At that time in 969, the issues with drugs seems to be a foreign problem. It was not a problem that our government was anticipating and therefore referred to It as the “French connection” and they wanted France to keep the problem out of Americas backyard. The government in France had learned their lesson since a group of teenagers were found dead after they overdosed on what was heroin at that time.
At that time, the author had the foresight to see that soon this will be America’s problem If government does not do something about It beforehand. However, the author’s companion on the plane (an influential person) did not see America having a problem wink that so long as there is a demand for drugs, there will continue to be a supply ,pig. 352. ” Interestingly, this became true and we all know what those consequences lead to in our society and we have our long struggles with drugs and drug uses to prove it. The drug epidemic began in poor communities where lots of the citizens were on welfare and they had depended on drugs to pass the days.
The government response ranged from incarceration, treatment with a milder version of heroin (methadone) and mental institutionalizing. The result of this negative approach is still a national problem today. As we know the problem is not a poor or minority’s problem, it is also affecting the rich. It was only recently we lost a well- known actor from heroin overdose. His name is Philip Seymour Hoffman. Today, the government and its citizens are still paying the consequences for the decisions that our government made in addressing the issues relating to drug trafficking and use in America.
Thus as the author begins to address the issues related to drugs his reference about the government’s approach ring truth “The truth in either event is that we were mostly asserting what we did not know and would need to learn” (pig. 53). The author’s reference to technology is relevant but I will address the issue of technology later on as I respond to his summary. The history of drug use represents lessons that were long been seen but obviously overlooked by doctors as well as pharmaceutical companies.
The earlier efforts by government to regulate drug use or alcohol consumption began with some regulations on Jamaican rum. Since distilled liquor was used in social events, the government approaches in regulating the trafficking of the “distilled liquor” was by levying heavy fines on the general tariff bill. He cost of importing Jamaican rum was costlier than distilled liquor here in America. Again, at the time, the government was mostly dealing with the abolition of slavery and again the issues around alcohol consumption were minimally dealt with.
Distilled spirits in earlier America was part of bringing Americans together during times of unity. It was a time to earn easy money and have an all-around good time pig. 354). People enjoyed alcohol in the morning for breakfast as well as a celebratory thing. The government knew that drinking alcohol or distilled liquor caused some deiced issues but again, the government saw it as a problem that did not largely affected society since distilled liquor had some medicinal properties and doctors relied on it to cure some ills.
However, as times progressed, apart from the abolition of slavery, the government attempts with dealing with distill liquor was by passing a sequence of amendments to the constitution. Major issues concerning “high proof” drugs later began to surface a century later. It is noted in the article that similarly lust as beer and wine are naturally fermented, people began experimenting with rains and other stimulants that were more potent. Many of these substances gave rise to the stronger drugs that are currently used today such as cocaine from the coca plant and morphine from opium.
Now, what does technology has to do with “hat is happening with drugs? Many of these high proof drugs were produced in laboratories. Many of these attributes appeared in nature and were used from poppy and coca plant (pig. 355). The first crucial technological event was noted in organic chemistry where German universities experimented on these products and defined them in organic chemistry. As we know, Morphine which has medicinal taught us a hard lesson with the drug. It was first used by our soldiers for coping Ninth the Vietnam War which give rise to the hypodermic needle.
Now that we know that distilled spirits and “high proof” drugs can no longer be ignored by the government or politician then we are faced with how to deal with a problem that is now a societal and human issue. As Rudolph Birch the eminent nineteenth century pathologist said “Medicine is social science, and politics is nothing but medicine on a grand scale. ” Therefore, as we examine this statement, the question owe becomes how we address an issue that is now on our “front lawn” as opposed to our earlier approach of not having the French bringing Heroin into our “backyard. Do Nee see this as a crime problem or a public health problem? At that time when famous doctors and psychiatrist were using these powerful drugs to treat serious medical issues and psychological ills, we did not fathom that this drug issue would become a public health problem of which we are still paying the price today. At the turn of the century, Psychiatrist like Sigmund Freud used cocaine to treat his friend ho was suffering from Morphine addiction. At that time, cocaine seemed like a less harmful drug to prescribe as opposed to being in a dream- like state.
However, we know the severe consequence for using cocaine. It is a public epidemic and can disrupt people’s lives and destroy families. Today, doctors use Morphine to treat patients who are suffering from cancer and serious chronic diseases. It seems like drug use when regulated can be useful in society however, if it goes unregulated, the people in society suffers whether it is from personal use or underground trafficking. There are some politicians who feel that we need to propose policies where citizens Nil have “free availability of almost all chemical substances that are or can be ingested in one form or another. Today, we are struggling with the same issue where some politicians have put up legislation to legalize cannabis (marijuana). Some states have already passed the use of such drug for medicinal purposes. These drug policies range from state to state and based on the politician and legislative leaders’ ideology, these drug laws are passed. Other states will pass laws that are very strictest and will mandate that it is a criminal offense to have it. The drug problem Nee face today is not an easy one. As we examine our social policies today.
We are in a position to view how government have passed laws which have unexpected consequences for its citizens while other time policies can heap its citizens cope with Issues that are not too easy to handle. However, we first need to review what we are seeing how what we are seeing affects our decision. As Dry. Norman Zinger has helpfully described the drug problem and how we should see it and respond to it as society. He said we should see it in terms of a triangle which is” Drug, Set and Setting. If we view it is this manner, we are then better able to analyze the drug, see the crisis it may cause and then come up with substantial treatment for the people Involved. He stressed the importance of us seeing of us knowing the chemical interactions of these drugs and how it affects the individuals who take it. He also said that we should consider the social or (anti-social) context as the two issues are merged together (pig. 357). He stressed the importance of knowing and we should aka it Just as serious as any other epidemic outbreak and should be given serious research and careful attention.
Unlike what is happening now in our society where supported as if they have been infected by a serious epidemic. He referenced historical cases where we our soldiers came home from war and self- medicated on morphine but left wandering our streets and refused little or minimal support. In the area of research, the question becomes as to why we have little or no research in this area. The author examined the behaviors of doctors who were refusing to treat with opiates to reduce pain. “Is it our Puritan Moralist in America where we frown on the pleasure and recreation provided by intoxicants? If it is then in some ways even our doctors today see the use of certain drugs as aversive behavior. If this is the case, then there would be very little motivation for the same highly professional individuals to conduct research in this area. The issue of drug and its use whether legally or illegally did not go away of politicians or members in society. However, drugs seem to pair itself with some form of pressing societal problem. In 1988, the AIDS epidemic had exploded onto the scene and the government needed to address the issue urgently. Not only were poor citizens were infected but famous stars such as Hudson was affected.
AIDS were transmitted through drug needles. The country needed to act quickly because its citizens were dying not only from an epidemic but the drug issue was a part of it. The president at that time established an Office of National Drug control Policy. This was one of the first serious attempts again to address the drug problem. The issue of serious research was again addressed and ere the medical profession began to look closely at possible opiate and manipulate them to see how they can block or reverse the effect of drugs such as morphine and heroin (pig. 359).
It is ironic that such a serious epidemic (AIDS) caused our government to look at the serious issue of drug use. The results of such research lead to the making of such drugs such as Malone which was approved for use in 1971 and is used today in medical emergencies. Later on the same drug but longer acting was approved and is used to block effects of opiate challenges. Although there re some controversy around the use of the drug, addiction problems still exists for drug users. Many drug users still continue to struggle and the government still continues to treat the problem as always.
Most drug users are currently stigmatize not only for having AIDS but using drugs. Do we still need another epidemic to address another serious drug issue? Today, the treatment of drug related issues depend on the party and who is in power. Our past Republican president has requested substantially less money from congress to address and his Democratic counterpart in congress gave one-third of what he asked for then. In the Clinton era, the present started a plan of “treatment on demand” where the person was expected to take themselves off the street and find a site for treatment.
We know that this did not work so we are back to where we started or even worse in an economic downturn. Many of our prisons are filled with people who are incarcerated because of drug use or trafficking. Clearly, many of the past Drug policies are responsible for our society’s regression (pig. 362). Therefore, as we examine our government attempts at solving our drug epidemic and crises, we need to learn from those stakes and take our policies seriously. Many drug users relapse and require treatment over and over.
It is becoming a costly public health problem and should be treated seriously. We have a lot to draw on to develop policies that can benefit our political party in power; he is progressive and constantly promotes progressive ideas. Ere Obama administration is Democratic (liberal) and he tend to push these issues so I’m hopeful about our future as it relates to our current drug issues in America. Clearly, we have a long way to go in addressing our drug laws and promoting progressive research.