Is drug addiction a criminal or medical issue? — Totseans

Is drug addiction a criminal or medical issue?

RemadERemadE Global Moderator
edited March 2013 in Spurious Generalities
I'm at the point of a chapter in my Dissertation where I am looking at the medical aspects of drugs - in this part, addiction.
There is plenty of evidence to support drug addiction is a medical issue, not only from commentators but also from medical groups (google - 'Pain and Substance Misuse: Improving the patient experience').
Obviously there is a criminal aspect to drug addiction which is through committing crimes to fund their habit. Obviously it differs with drugs (crack cocaine, Opiates etc).

Just wondered what your view on this was. I'll add more when I get the evidence and write a bit more. Just could do with a discussion.

Comments

  • Darth BeaverDarth Beaver Meine Ehre heißt Treue
    edited January 2012
    It is not a criminal issue so long as no other crimes were committed in the acquisition and consumption of a given substance. The criminal aspect has been fabricated to protect the profits of pharmaceutical companies.
  • chippychippy <b style="color:pink;">Global Moderator</b>
    edited January 2012
    I think the criminal aspect is there to stop the user from becoming a medical victim. When the user starts needing medical intervention because the drugs are affecting their health it switches from a criminal issue to a medical issue.
  • dr rockerdr rocker Regular
    edited January 2012
    Recreational drug use is a crime because governments cannot control it. I also agree with TDR, because pharma companies and the medical profession do not like competition. Look at it this way, if the user on the street could buy morphine and heroin derivatives at the same prices as health services and pharm supply companies, the amount of crime associated with the use of those particular types of drugs would drop to what would probably be a negligable amount.

    Their was a documentary on long term heroin use on BBC2 probably around a decade ago, showing users who had been injecting heroin for years. I remember a few of the addicts were buying drugs from some one who for one reason or another could garantee a strenth and purity. They knew it was not full of brixk dust or other such shit that would cause abscess, ulcers and other vascular problems. They knew how much they could safely take as the strenth was consistent. They also held down jobs (albeit lower end jobs, the warmth they got from the drugs meant they did not aspire to be the next Richard Branson) and had relativly stable family lives.

    It also showed heroin users who would get drugs from any source (remember Renton saying in Trainspotting 'Fuck it, we would have injected vitamin C if they had made it illegal') and had unstable lives. Imagine you have no sense of smell or taste and were not allowed to look at your drink - if you went for a pint and could be given a pint of John Smiths, Special Brew or Rum your life would be off the rails soon enough - this is what it is like when you buy drugs when you do not know what they are.

    Do not get me wrong, I do not advocate taking something that you can easily develop a physical addiction to, but the purpose of government is to serve the population, not to control it.
  • RemadERemadE Global Moderator
    edited January 2012
    Good points there, dr rocker. I'm an advocate of education and harm reduction (in whatever order works better). I recall hearing a similar quote from a writer in a PBS documentary on prohibition that was something along the lines of "If you want to make kids brush their teeth, make toothpaste illegal - they'd be brushing many times a day from the rooftops just because it's against the system".
    I totally agree with TDR and chippy's point of it being down to the user. If one has to commit a Criminal act in order to fund their habit, then it's obviously, mostly, a criminal act. It's only when the individual goes to rehabilitation that it becomes more of a medical issue. Also, not everyone has an addictive mindset - fuck, my own Mother finds food addictive, whereas some of my friends find driving cars stupidly fast addictive. Me? I just enjoy good company and pharmaceuticals. We are all different and so that's where the medical part, I feel, comes into play as it can effect your body and not always those around you (except if my mates crash their car, or my mum nicks a pack of jaffa cakes from Tesco for example).

    Just been reading this Journal Article from the "Crime and Justice" Academic Journal (Volume 14, 1991) (which I stripped of security and EXIF/metadata) for your enjoyment on the differences between the US of A and Britain's view of Opiate addiction and treatment. Good read if you have a spare 10 minutes.

    http://dl.dropbox.com/u/22075307/ebooks/Drug-Control%20Policies%20in%20Britain.pdf
  • SpinsterSpinster Regular
    edited January 2012
    I dont judge people because they would prefer and joint over a beer.

    I agree with what you are saying about how people find food, cars etc addictive. I dont really like taking drugs, I dont like to drink often. But I do like to drive stupily fast, do burnouts and thump the crap outta my internal organs with my subwoofer. Is it any safer for me than taking drugs? No it isnt. in fact its is alot for dangerous because I could kill someone else doing it.
    Also I figure the common illicit drugs people take are because they are the safer ones, like marijuana, heroin, cocain, , mushrooms, meth and ecstasy. There are alot worse things you could take. Like Datura for example.
  • chippychippy <b style="color:pink;">Global Moderator</b>
    edited January 2012
    When an addiction for driving starts to endanger yourself and others the law steps in.
    When an addiction for alcohol starts to affect your safety and the safety of others the law steps in.
    When an addiction for drugs starts putting your life at risk and the lives of others the law steps in.
    What I can't understand is that when an addiction to food starts putting your life at risk and ends up costing the health service a fortune to the detriment of others, no action is taken.
  • RemadERemadE Global Moderator
    edited January 2012
    chippy wrote: »
    What I can't understand is that when an addiction to food starts putting your life at risk and ends up costing the health service a fortune to the detriment of others, no action is taken.

    Good point. I think it's the harkback to the whole "I choose what to put into my body". Eating food isn't ever a crime - in fact it's encouraged, but the cost to the NHS and other Medical Services with a growing "epidemic" of obesity then maybe something should be done.
    However I feel that if your actions do not directly effect the lives of others (excluding reckless activity etc of course) and even using drugs at times where it's inappropriate (I learnt the hard way never to get high when babysitting my sister), then it's cool.
    Obesity and the health risks it entails, however, are something else. A damn confusing topic which is different when it comes to the individual. Why do they eat so much? And why certain foods? Encouragement maybe, not enforcement is the key. Unfortunately if the Government soon takes control of food, then I feel that will be the start of a huge snowball effect. Cigarettes, alcohol and unhealthy foods have seen the beginnings of these Government interferences.
  • ThirdRockFromTheSunThirdRockFromTheSun <b style="color:blue;">Third<em style="color:pink;">Cock</em>FromThe<em style="color:brown;">Bum</em
    edited January 2012
    It's totally medical, I'd say. Apart from the only criminal aspect being that the drugs are illegal. Some people COULD be addicted to drugs for the pure fact they are like 'forbidden', but I'd say it's mainly a medical thing.
  • chippychippy <b style="color:pink;">Global Moderator</b>
    edited January 2012
    After a bit of a re-think, I think the taking of drugs and the after effects are a medical issue. The production and distribution of drugs illegally is a legal issue.
  • 0000000000 Regular
    edited March 2013
    RemadE wrote: »
    Obesity and the health risks it entails, however, are something else. A damn confusing topic which is different when it comes to the individual. Why do they eat so much? And why certain foods? Encouragement maybe, not enforcement is the key. Unfortunately if the Government soon takes control of food, then I feel that will be the start of a huge snowball effect. Cigarettes, alcohol and unhealthy foods have seen the beginnings of these Government interferences.
    under the Japanese definition food is a drug. I beleive two thirds of my country are physically addicted to simple sugars (glucose-fructose syrup etc) and that this is a purely medical problem. Illegal drugs on the other hand have been found to be largely detrimental to the community/population and i don't doubt creates criminal activity. is this caused by economy, legislation is another question.
  • bornkillerbornkiller Administrator In your girlfriends snatch
    edited March 2013
    Drug addiction is an issue?
  • proudclod9proudclod9 Regular
    edited March 2013
    Illegal drugs= high cost/underground market. High cost+ underground market=more criminality(other than simple possession/use).

    Pretty simple math.

    It's obviously a health issue.


    Someone mentioned the purity of heroin. Same goes for any drug.

    Especially meth, because it's relatively simple to make...but easy enough to fuck up as well...the health aspect is worsened because people get impure products.

    I'd guess that more than a fair share of the health problems associated with meth in particular stems from that fact.
  • ArkansanArkansan Regular
    edited March 2013
    I would agree with that on the meth issue, hospitals use all sorts of amphetamines with little ill effect. Of course I think many of the health problems associated with substance abuse in general stem from the lifetsyle that tends to go along with it. Most of the meth heads I knew ate shit food, lived in shit places, and had little concern for hygine.
  • 0000000000 Regular
    edited March 2013
    Arkansan wrote: »
    I would agree with that on the meth issue, hospitals use all sorts of amphetamines with little ill effect.
    same with heroin (diamorphine). and i'm talking long term prescriptions.
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