Respond to each student’s discussion. Explain why you agree or disagree with what they said. More instructions are attached.
Student 1: Discussion Board 13
Understanding that the war against drugs began “June 17, 1971, President Nixon branded substance use as “public enemy number one” (Farber, 2021)”. Over the last few years, one trillion dollars waging the war on drugs. Thirty million arrests and millions of imprisonments have occurred in the United States (Farber, 2021). Not only is the price of incarceration high, “excessive use of incarceration as a drug control measure which the experts identify as the biggest contributions to higher rates of HIV and Hepatitis C infection among drug users (Farber, 2021)”. Incarceration of individuals for substance use impacts public health exposures to HIV and Hepatitis C infection as it has been proven to correlate with incarceration rates due to drug use (Farber, 2021).
As the legalization of cannabis decreased, technical violations of probation resulted in “Lesser overdose deaths and lesser HIV infections among the user has plummeted (Ingraham, 2016). In Portugal, the decriminalization process has long-term benefits such: as courts being freed up for other important work, substance abuse has been cut in half since decriminalization, and recovery in rehab being more likely than in jail (UHS Admin, 2020). In addition, addiction treatment and rehabilitation are less expensive than incarceration, and productive members of society much more quickly than convicted felons’ counter-cultural drug use are changed when seen as a disease versus crime (UHS Admin, 2020).
Policy such as legalizing cannabis significantly decreases incarceration rates and the criminal justice system. According to Farber, “the war on drugs has become good politics (2021)”. According to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, If the U.S government decriminalized drugs, 45.2% of the prison population would be released from prison (2022). If the U.S government decriminalized drugs, politicians would not have a point of argument as substance use has been a primary argument between republicans and democrats in the United States. Also, the decriminalization of substances would support individuals to get social supports in hopes of recovery being more attainable as a result.
Farber, D. (2021, June 17). The War on Drugs turns 50 today. It is time to make peace. The Washington Post. https://canvas.fsu.edu/courses/215371/modules/items/4132327.
Federal Bureau of Prisons. BOP Statistics: Inmate Offenses. (2022). https://www.bop.gov/about/statistics/statistics_inmate_offenses.jsp
Ingraham, C. (2016, March 24). Top Medical Experts Say We Should Decriminalize All Drugs and Maybe Further. The Washington Post. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/03/24/top-medical-experts-say-we-should-decriminalize-all-drugs-and-maybe-go-even-further/
UHSAdmin. (2020, August 24). Pros and cons of decriminalizing drug addiction. Foundations Recovery Network. Retrieved November 13, 2022, from https://www.foundationsrecoverynetwork.com/pros-and-cons-of-decriminalizing-drug-addiction/
Student 2: I think that policies affect incarceration rates and criminal justice reform by reducing some of the stigmatization associated with the targeted population of marginalized communities and people of color. The criminalization of cannabis has sparked racial disparities in drug law enforcement, particularly in the United States (Ingraham, 2016). Decriminalization is not the same as legalization and many hold polarizing views about this. Criminal justice reform can help remove some of the barriers and inequality in drug conviction sentencing among marginalized groups. In Portugal, possession, and use of drugs are handled as a public health problem and not criminal activity (Ingraham, 2016). People who have SUD have an increased chance of success when substance use is treated as a public health concern instead of a criminal act. Since Portugal has treated substance use as a health concern and decriminalized substance use addiction rates have been cut in half over the past decade (Ingraham, 2016). I do not think that the fear of criminal charges has deterred people who have a substance use disorder, nor do I believe or have found evidence that this policy would entice people to be more likely to experiment. Criminal justice reform could lead to removing barriers to employment, new opportunities for people of color, and a countercultural essence of drug use being changed when society sees it as a disease and not a crime.
Ingraham, C. (2016). Top medical experts say we should decriminalize all drugs and maybe go even further [PDF]. The Washington Post.