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Drugs refer to natural or synthetic substances, which can alter the body functioning, perception or emotional state of an organism. There are beneficial and harmful drugs. For example the drugs we buy from the pharmacists to cure various ailments are beneficial. However, illegal drugs like cocaine, heroin, and marijuana are illegal and we should be tackle them (Seddon et al, 2003, p.824).
Abuse of drugs has caused very many marriages to break down hence passing on the problem to the innocent children who may not have knowledge of what is going on. This is usually caused by secret financial dealings in order to fund the habit, criminal consequences because of addiction and marked change in behavior. The abusers may turn violent when high or moody due withdrawal symptoms when they have not acquired the supply. This leads to several other associated costs like ambulances, police, and court appearances.
Education wise, absenteeism becomes the norm when drugs take control of lives of individuals. This absenteeism can be by the student who has the problem or by children of addicts. This is because parents who are abusing drugs are very much likely to neglect their children. If a student is addicted, there is a possibility that they will steal from their classmates to fund the habit or even end up introducing their colleagues to drugs. Crime also soars because the addicts need to fund their habit. There are other incidental costs as well because of maintaining the police force, courts, and medical care. In addition, many addicts lose their jobs due to their inability to perform the roles expected of them by their employers. Apart from that, they can be sacked because of stealing and poor personal hygiene. In addition, there are several health concerns and many people have died because of drug abuse (McKeganey 2007).
In the past, the government of Britain and the labor party thought that the war on drugs could be won by simply allocating millions of pounds to the fight against drugs. However, this came to a naught with many of those taken into care relapsing back to abuse after ending their terms in these institutions. With 330000 users of heroin and crack cocaine costing Britons 15 bn pounds a year it is no laughing matter noting that 13.9bn of this is accounted for by crime the administration used to treat the4 abusers with kid gloves like 'victims' but that as changed.
Although many people had argued that abuse was stabilizing, the realization that 50% 16 year old kids have now tasted some illicit substances or the other aroused Britons from their slumber (Nutt et al 2007, p 1052). Unlike in the past when the role was mostly in the hands of the police officers, now that role is equally on the shoulders of parents, peers, and teachers. The current requirements oblige schools to deliver drug education In key stages of the children's development among other measures.
CURRENT POLICY AND ITS IMPLICATIONS
The home ministry rolled out a major government policy on drugs on 8 Dec; 2010. It sets out a fundamentally different approach to preventing use of drugs within the society and how to help people recover from drug and alcohol dependence. The new drug policy puts more pressure on addicts to seek medical help and hence overcome their craving and dependency on drug use. Unlike in the past policy, the new policy aims at providing a more holistic approach by addressing issues which affect addicts apart from treatment, for example securing for them employment and housing.
In addition, it is aimed at reducing demand for the drugs while taking a very strict approach in hunting down those involved in drug supply both locally and internationally. This new policy puts power and accountability in the hands of the local society to tackle drugs and their related harm within their localities. The coverage of the new strategy includes health, education, housing, and social care, which are confined in England, policing and criminal justice system in England as well as Wales and finally the work of the department for work and pensions, which will cover all of the United Kingdom. With majority of these abusers being adults, it had been recommended that greater use of residential rehabilitation would do but this misfired.
However, the government's new approach of tackling drugs to build a better Britain seems to be bearing fruits. Its main aim is to build a healthy and confident society free from the damage and destruction, which is usually caused by the drug abuse. Its four main facets are firstly, to aid the youth resist drug abuse hence help them to achieve their maximum potential in the society. Secondly, the enforcement agencies aim at protecting the community from criminal induced antisocial and criminal behavior. Thirdly, there is the treatment of people with drug problems to help them overcome them, live healthy and crime free lives, and hence contribute to the development of the society. Finally, there is emphasis on stifling the availability of drugs within the society. To realize this objective, the police work in partnership with other statutory and voluntary agencies that is committed to the curbing of drugs (McKeganey 2007 p.566).
There as been calls for down grading of legal status for marijuana and elimination of jail terms. The proponents of this change are calling it depenalization, not decriminalization in order to reduce the opposition surrounding it. However, soon use of marijuana for medical purposes will be the norm. The other day a drug enlightenment program adopted from the USA was introduced and there has been positive change. The programme is a police-education collaboration. It aims at enlightening the students on the impact of drug abuse with the hope that this will lead to behavioral change in the long term. Apart from dare, which is mostly led by the police, we find another program called "the police box -learning for life' program which has been very successful especially in the Grampian region (McSweeny et al., 2007, p.479). It involves a teacher and police officer collaborating to deliver the resource materials to the students and it can be delivered through out the year. It differs with other programs in a number of very fundamental ways.
First, a law enforcer at his or her own request supports the teacher. Secondly, the resource is integrated into the National Curriculum so that it can be delivered the whole school year. Thirdly, the program can be best described as life coaching because it does not deal exclusively with the drug problem. Learning for life has received a number of very positive reviews by many people who argue that there is a need for a more comprehensive program integrating other areas of personal and social education if the youth will be able to cope with every day challenges. Most methods used in the past to fight drugs did not involve parents and were mostly school based. However, we should realize that parents own drug problems can lead to their passing on these behaviors to their children.
In addition, it is important to note that most of the time a parent is the first person a youngster will report to if having any concerns pertaining to drug abuse (Nutt et al ,2007, p.1050) . Some programs, which involve parents and their children completing tasks jointly at home, have been found to be very successful especially in the USA. For example the ''keep a clear mind program'' .Through employment of a cognitive - behavioral approach to drug education, it has helped to nurture millions of drug dependence free young people. Unfortunately, there are few programs focusing on the role of the British parent in the war against drugs. The most outstanding program I came across so far is PRIDE (parent's role in drug and safety education). It aims at promoting the security of children by enhancing their enlightenment as pertains to the dangers of drugs and medicines (Mcintosh et al 2007, p. 380).
However, we should realize that most individuals do not start drug use voluntarily. In fact, if u listens to almost any addict to whichever drug, they always point a finger at another person whom they blame for introducing them to these habits. That is why in the fight against drugs, peer educators have been groomed in their target communities and armed with enough knowledge to pass on what they have learnt to their colleagues at the grassroots (Nutt et al., 2007, p.1050). These peer directed methods have been found to pass on the information successfully and aid people of diverse ages to make informed choices in their lives. The implication of this new initiative on where we are fighting crime together is that when everyone is involved in a given strife it is much easier to win in the end. Also by forcing addicts to change, their ways or risk loosing some of the state benefits they enjoy will give them the needed impetus to realize that by refusing to change they risk loosing benefits like state housing or welfare (Mcintosh et al 2007, p. 380). On the side of the government, it has done more than help itself by passing part of the responsibility to the electorate like the teachers, policemen and parents, this is because they wont be quick to blame the government for failing in the war on drugs because they are also part and parcel of it.