THE IMPACT of Technology on Therapy

The War on Drugs

The United States government's campaign to stop the use, selling, distribution, and trade of drugs and narcotics is known as the "war on drugs," and it involves enacting drug laws that toughen penalties for offenders. (Stevenson, 2011). The initiative's original goal was to increase public awareness of the need to combat drug sales, which had resulted in the loss of many lives as young people took up drug use. However, as the initiative and the term became popular over the last thirty years, a section of the American population felt that the laws and policies have racist and political objectives while others fully support the initiative. War on drugs has had a profound impact on the US criminal justice system. For instance, many states have made it a criminal offense to possess small amounts of narcotics such as marijuana and even some unapproved prescription drugs. The overall effect is the harsh sentencing of people for minor crimes, with some sentences culminating in 25-year jail terms (Stevenson, 2011). With the implementation of drug policies on the war on drugs, the criminal justice system has evolved and gained supports and critics. For example, some quotas feel that the criminal justice system targets people of color and there is no confidence in the entire justice system. The mixed reactions lead to a divided nation, but a majority of the people agree that the justice system has not dealt with some cases amicably, which taints the image of the system.

The Impact on the Criminal Justice System


The implementation of harsh drug policies resulted in a rigorous campaign by law enforcement agencies to use military tactics in search of drugs and during arrests (Stevenson, 2011). The police seem to target the young population as they stop and frisk and make arrests even for non-drug related offenses. For example, police patrol the African American and Hispanic neighborhoods in search of drug traders but often end up arresting individuals for crimes such as walking with malicious intent. Therefore, the arrest and incarceration of people of color after the declaration of war on drugs has risen tremendously. For instance, before the rollout of the program in 1972, there were 300000 prisoners of drug offenses in the corrections system. The number of prisoners as of 2011 was at 2.3 million (Stevenson, 2011). According to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, as of 2014, the prison population constituted 2.3 million African Americans out of the total 6.8 million prisoners. Furthermore, statistics show that more people of color are arrested on drug charges and sentenced to long years in prison than white people ("Criminal Justice Fact Sheet," 2017). Still, the taxpayer burden increases as the department of corrections alone use around $68 billion to run prisons (Stevenson, 2011).

Theories of Drug Use


Biological, psychological and sociological are the three theories that explain drug use. The biological perspective reveals why some people are more inclined to use drugs than others and also the effects of drugs on a person's behavior and mannerisms. The use of drugs and alcohol has a genetic basis. For example, research shows that a child born of alcoholic parents and adopted in a non-alcoholic household is more likely to use alcohol and other drugs. Also, every drug affects the brain activity differently causing a change in behavior. The psychological explanation fronts the argument that some people have traits that predispose them to drug use such as low self-esteem and the inability to trust others and self. Furthermore, drug use provides psychological rewards like pleasure and a sense of being social. The sociological theory contends that the social environment determines the prevalence of drug use. For example, families and individuals brought up in weak social cultures that lack adequate family bonds are more susceptible to drug use. Also, poverty and racial disparities determine drug use while most people like the young adults use drugs as a social medium of bonding ("Explaining Drug Use," 2017). This study submits that psychological theory should be the basis for developing drug policies because it is easier to alter personality traits and irrational beliefs. Thus, people may stop drug use and trade without involving the justice system, but through a change of perception.

Solutions and Responses


Since the inception of the initiative on the war on drugs, numerous organization and international bodies have responded to the drug policies and sought to provide solutions to drug use. This study submits that policies and responses aimed at reducing addictions as opposed to obtaining arrests and convictions are the best solutions for drug problems. For example, the Drug Policy Alliance from New York promotes policies that reduce the number of individuals admitted to the criminal justice system due to drug use and possession ("Mass Criminalization," 2017). In fact, in July 2017, the alliance petitioned the US government to decriminalize drug possession and use and instead invest resources in advocating for policies that improve public health and social issues that are a risk factor for drug use. Furthermore, it is vital for the states and the federal government to revisit and amend policies that promote the harsh drug laws which do not solve drug problems and instead add challenges to the judicial system. For instance, the Drug Policy Alliance led a campaign in January 2017 to oppose White House's Opioid Commission's policy that promoted an increase in drug sentences and also the establishment of drug courts ("Mass Criminalization," 2017). It is vital to create systems that are not a form of punitive measures for offenders and focus on policies that prevent drug addiction. Addressing societal inequalities and implementing rehabilitative policies that teach the dangers of drugs is a better way to avoid drug use and possession.


Criminal Justice Fact Sheet. (2017). National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Retrieved from [].

Explaining Drug Use. (2017). University of Minnesota. Retrieved from [].

Mass Criminalization. (2017). Drug Policy Alliance. Retrieved from [].

Stevenson, B. (2011). Drug Policy, Criminal Justice and Mass Imprisonment. Global Commission on Drug Policies. Retrieved from [ content/themes/gcdp_v1/pdf/Global_Com_Bryan_Stevenson.pdf].

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