Alternatives to the War on Drugs.

By Luis Chavez – Sanchez and Klerissa Zolciak

These are the sources Klerissa and I used during our week of responsibility. We choose these sources because we felt like they provide good and valid information on why the War on Drugs has failed and continues to fail so many people and provides valid information for creating alternative policies. Essentially, they acknowledge the War on Drugs as hurting millions of people within this country and internationally and provide substantial evidence on what can be done to promote new alternatives to the war on drugs.

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Stigmatization & Conditional Acceptance

By Garland Hanson and Olympia Fulcher

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Our acceptance of drug users is conditional, similarly how our acceptance of drugs is conditional. We promote the use of antidepressants, go out to bars on the weekends, and praise recovering drug addicts. We stigmatize non-prescription amphetamines, and ‘hard’ drugs – the stuff we cook, the stuff we inject. Throughout the 1990’s, the dangers of marijuana commercials plagued our T.V.s, depicting marijuana users as lazy, useless, and addicted. A couple decades later, we’ve almost normalized marijuana use. Now marijuana is often described as a non-addictive, pain relieving, anti-emetic medication, prescribed to people that suffer from anxiety to those going through chemotherapy. Changes in state laws have led to changes in our norms and stigmas surrounding marijuana use.

Looking at the transformation in reputation marijuana and marijuana users have had, might we consider that other drugs and other drug users may be unnecessarily demonized and stigmatized as well?

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The Current State of Substance Abuse Treatment

By Alicia Bednar

Today’s substance abuse crisis has continued to grow at an alarming rate, and the public has had no choice but to become more aware of the issue as the growing numbers of affected individuals leave less space to hide. With death tolls rising, weighing the costs and benefits of the different methods of substance abuse treatment and harm reduction has become a heated debate. Specifically, the opioid crisis has become a rampant emergency in the United States; the rise of fentanyl in addition to synthetic opioids has resulted in overdose becoming the leading cause of death for adults under 50 (Szalavitz 2019, 18). Over 28,000 people died from drugs laced with synthetics such as fentanyl in 2017, compared to about 3,000 people who died from the same cause in 2013 (Szalavitz 2019, 18). Clearly, something must be done about this epidemic rather than simply pushing these individuals outside of the boundaries of society where we don’t have to think about them. It’s important when doing so to analyze controversial methods of treatment and recognize their benefits and drawbacks. How do we decide what path to take? 

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