Drugs: the love of money is the root of all evils
Most people hold the false belief that they are unable to live without money; therefore, they condition their lives from early childhood to gain wealth by whatever means possible. This conning into the love of money has resulted in various forms of evils such as stealing, kidnapping, and illegal use of drugs, which have destroyed many lives and families. Among these, illegal use of drugs is one of the most discouraged habits in the Western society because of its widespread effects. In order to gain wealth, most people have propagated the use of drugs. The abuse of drugs is a dangerous problem in this century. Drugs have become a component of the lives of most people who depend on them for such things as pleasure, depression, and medical relief. Currently, there is much controversy regarding the use of drugs.
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A drug is defined as "any substance that modifies biological, psychological, or social behavior (Gaines and Miller, 527). Nevertheless, in popular terminology the term drug denotes a more specific connotation. When individuals talk of the "drug" problem or the war on "drugs," or "drug" abuse, they are in particular referring to illicit drugs. More specifically, they are referring to illicit psychoactive drugs that influence the normal brain functions and change consciousness or perception. It is important to note that nearly every drug that relates to the criminal justice system is considered psychoactive. The use of drugs is a controversial topic because at times the line between licit and illicit drugs is difficult to draw.
Hanson, Venturelli, and Fleckenstein note that the society's attitude regarding the use of drugs, as established by culture and tradition, affect our initial perception and use of a particular drug (55). Some cultures around the world use drugs to improve their cognitive abilities, which include memory, concentration, thought, and several other things. Such drugs are usually referred to as nootropics. Several religions incorporate the use of drugs in their ceremonies, which obviously conflict with the regulations against the use of drugs. The most commonly used drugs in the ceremonies are the psychedelics, deliriants, stimulants, and sedatives. These drugs are referred to as entheogens. Most of the indigenous religions employ the use of drugs during their religious ceremonies. Shamanistic religions of the Americas, Asia, and other continents widely use drugs such as cannabis, the "fly agaric," peyote, and opium. On the other hand, some religions such as Christianity prohibit the use of socially and legally acceptable drugs. Since some religions are entirely founded on the use of certain drugs, this has sparked controversies on whether to prevent such usage or allow it as a religious exception.
The use of drugs has been highly politicized. The business of selling drugs is considered as the second most profitable industry in the globe. It follows the dangerous trade in weapons but precedes oil trade. Therefore, many people around the world have used the drug industry to gain political power. The political issues concerning the use of drugs consist of, but not limited to, the substances that are defined as drugs, the means of supplying and controlling their use, and how the society relates with the individuals who abuse drugs. Why is tobacco and alcohol considered legal in most countries despite the fact that they are the leading cause of deaths in the world? This fact powerfully illustrates the political dimension of using drugs. Raven notes that, "the status of various drugs has been greatly influenced by political and economic interests" (para.5). For instance, cannabis was wrongly categorized as a narcotic and its use restricted mainly because of racist and economic reasons.
Several nations in the world have regulations that are intended to criminalize some drug use. However, it is interesting to note that in most cases the legislation is self-referential which defines abuse according to what is made illegitimate and lists all the drugs specified by the legislation. These drugs are referred to as illegal. However, in true sense, what is illicit pertains to their unauthorized production, distribution, and ownership. Some countries refer to them as controlled substances. Because of the love of money, many world leaders have tolerated this practice in order to preserve their positions in power.
Various influential social factors can motivate one to abuse drugs. These include, "curing an illness, providing relaxation, relieving stress or anxiety, trying to escape reality, self-medicating, heightening awareness, wanting to distort and change visual, auditory, or sensual inputs, or the need to strengthen ones confidence" (Hanson, Venturelli, and Fleckenstein, 6). Perceptions about the use of drugs taken from the values of other drug addicts, the traditions in the society, and the addict's personal experiences with using drugs are also considered as influential social factors. The reaction of the society to the use of various drugs changes with time and place. For example, currently, opium is considered as an illicit drug. It is widely condemned as a pathogen (a major cause of diseases). However, in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, it was considered as a legal drug. More so, it was commonly praised as a panacea (a treatment for all manner of diseases).
Every year, a lot of money is used in advertising alcohol and tobacco products to consumers with the aim of reaching as many potential customers as possible. For example, Kirsh points out that in 2006 alone, almost $1 billion was spent to advertise alcohol on television screens (158). This represented a twenty-seven percent increase from 2001. Despite the many deaths that result from alcohol consumption, the media has not stopped airing these advertisements. Surely, the love of money is the root of all evils! However, there are few, if any, advertisements that are intended to promote the use of illegal drugs. Tobacco and alcohol advertisements give the false image that the use of such drugs is regarded as a positive and a normative activity for the people who are living in the modern world.
In order to address the increasing drug problem in today's society, educating the public through the media is one way of achieving this. Currently, promotions by alcohol and cigarette companies are found almost everywhere. The companies aim at increasing profits; therefore, they post their ads in magazines, television, radio, billboards, and even on little leaflets one gets after shopping their products. By using the media to promote their products, which most people do not require, the companies aim at increasing their consumer base. In carrying out promotions directly to the population, the drug companies aim at achieving at least two things: first, to relay information directly to potential customers; second, to increase the demand for their products. However, the society could have greatly benefited if the mass media was used to fight against the rampant habit of abuse of drugs. Such campaigns should be aimed at discouraging preteens and teens from early engagement into the life of drugs.
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In illustrating the devastating effects of drug abuse, we will start by examining the life of a 22-year-old single woman called Suzanne (DiDominico, 4). For the past four years, she has been residing with her boyfriend called Jack in Manhattan's lower east side and they have been addicted to heroin for many years now. When she was ten years old, her dad, who was addicted to alcohol, separated from her mom. Her mother then took the responsibility of bringing the kids up. When she was fourteen years, she started drinking and smoking marijuana and two years later, she dropped out of school. Her boyfriend introduced her to heroin when she moved in with him. She got used to heroin faster because she had used the marijuana as a stepping-stone to the hard drug. Suzanne usually says that the heroin assists in calming her nerves and enables her to have a good sleep at night. However, she has never enjoyed having sex with her boyfriend.
The second case is about a 19-year-old alcohol addict called Eunice. Alcohol is one of the widely abused drugs by both adults and the young people. The prevalence of this problem has made teens like Eunice to get into alcohol related incidents. As more and more people abuse alcohol, more lives are being ruined. Eunice started drinking because she thought that her problems were inescapable, interminable, and intolerable. As she tried to subdue effects of loneliness, guilt, and self-reproach in her life, she became addicted to alcohol. Even though Eunice acknowledges that she gets a buzz and a good feeling for a while after drinking, her life has been changed completely due to the addiction. Eunice often complains of coordination difficulty, difficulty in standing, inappropriate sexual behavior, memory problems, stupor, and many other complications. This case illustrates the devastating effects of alcohol addiction.
Presently, the abuse of drugs is increasingly becoming a societal problem. As illustrated by the two case studies above, most drug addicts start the behavior during their teenage years. This is because these years are the most crucial in the maturing process since the teens are faced with the difficult task of discovering their self-identity. Because of the love of money, drug dealers usually ensure that the drugs are readily available to this vulnerable group. Currently, most young people view drugs as socially acceptable. The availability and variety of drugs is widespread and their demand by both the teens and the adults has risen to devastating levels. The urge to make money has made them to be even more accessible and the addiction that follows has ruined many lives.
The problem of drug abuse in our society today is very real and must be dealt with at all costs. However, to achieve this, we must tackle humanity's paramount problem: the love of money. It is because of the love of money that the illicit trade in drugs is still being done in most countries. In most cases, the traders bribe the authorities in order to continue with their businesses. All this is taking place and thousands of lives are being destroyed every day. Are we able to live in a drug free society? Are we able to eliminate the problems that come due to drug abuse? Hopefully, the answer is yes, but after carefully examining the root cause of the problem.
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