Is Drug Abuse A Victimless Crime?
So I snort cocaine out of stripper's belly-buttons? I'm not hurting anyone!
There is an ongoing debate among the American public of whether or not drug abuse is a victimless crime or not. It seems like an endless argument that will not subside anytime soon. My personal stance on the issue is that drug abuse does indeed create victims; the user themselves whose lives are destined to spiral down to the ground, the family whose hearts are broken repeatedly by the user, the friends the user disappoints time and time again, any people who might be in the user's care and suffer from their neglect, or the people whose face the user chews off in the street.
Okay, but how else am I supposed to feel wicked awesome all the time?
When a person decides to experiment with drugs, it's usually a symptom of a bigger problem such as severe depression or low self-esteem. Simply put; a happy and well adjusted individual will most likely avoid taking any illicit substances because they don't really feel the need to. Addiction usually stems from a psychological need to fill a void within the individual. If the person were to seek therapy and try to find the root of what is upsetting them, they would be more likely to change the factor within that would have lead them down the dark road of drug abuse. Instead, a user will turn to drugs, trying to find the "easy way out" or will start using to try to impress others so that they can fit in among their peers. By taking this route, they are turning themselves into victims by almost ensuring that they will make matters worse than they ever were before. In a comprehensive study, the painfully named National Institute of Mental Health Epidemiologic Catchment Area Program found that, among those with an existing mental disorder, 29% were likely to develop an addiction disorder as well. For those tested who already had a confirmed substance addiction, it was found that they were 7 times more likely to develop another addiction than the rest of the population. This is what is often called a "slippery slope" and when someone chooses to do this to themselves, they are definitely turning themselves into victims of their own weaknesses.
What!? Next thing you'll be telling me is that doing copious amounts of black tar heroin somehow makes me an irresponsible dick.
Actually, hypothetical drug addict reader, yes. Yes it does.
The drug abuser usually has friends and family that care about them, and quite often their addiction becomes a major source of distress and dysfunction for those people as well. The destructive habits of the user can bleed over into the lives of those they care about. The user may do things in the name of scoring drugs, such as stealing from friends and family, selling things that belong to others, constantly harassing them for money, or lying to them to score drug money. This can have a negative impact on the friend or family members' social and private lives, making them a victim in the sense that the user is preventing them from living in peace. You could argue that the family of the user could just shut the person out of their lives until they decide to sober up, but that is not always realistic when dealing with someone you care about. The friends and family members want the user to return to the way they were before the drugs turned them into a raging doucheasaurus and will find it very difficult, or even impossible, to just walk away from a loved one, so they won't really have a choice in some cases than to deal with all the stress, and that effectively makes them victims of the user.
Also consider those users who have responsibilities to others, such as caregivers and, more importantly, parents. Many birth defects and miscarriages are cause by drug use during a woman's pregnancy. Assuming the pregnancy went well and the baby was born healthy, babies need constant care and attention. When mom and her new boyfriend are passed out in the next room with needles sticking out of their veins, who is going to feed baby and change it's diaper? Many children die from negligence born of a parent's drug addiction. I'd post a link to the recent story of little Declan Hainey, but trust me, you don't want to read it.
Well hell, aside from THAT, what harm is there?
What about society in general? This is where the drug abuser creates the most victims. Choosing to use drugs, the user usually doesn't think about all the people affected by what it took for the drug to get into their hands. Drugs are a product, and like any other product, someone has to make it and distribute it. If we were talking about sweet, delicious Pop-Tarts, for example, the product would start by being manufactured in a factory (probably a magical one filled to the brim with awesomeness, but I digress) by people who may or may not be happy but probably earn a fair wage, then shipped out to a grocery store before being purchased and eaten by very happy morbidly obese people. Everybody wins. Sort of.
With a drug such as cocaine, drug lords have their people work in secret in the unforgiving jungles of Columbia day and night, turning coca leaves into white powdery death under great risk so that the junkie can get their fix. The drug lord gets rich while the hungry workers get jack squat. Meth labs are extremely dangerous due to the unstable nature of the chemicals used in the manufacturing process and devastating accidents are all too common. None of these would even exist if people weren't buying the drugs, so in a sense, they are turning others into victims of tyranny, oppression, and even death.
The abuser is also making things difficult for the rest of the US population in areas such as taxes, health care, etc. Health care costs rise due to the volume of overdosed junkies they have to treat, the treatment programs users will need to go to aren't cheap to operate,and all the safeguards they need to put in place to prevent junkies from scoring drugs for reasons other than prescribed, not to mention the treating of diseases spread due to unsafe practices among the drug abusers. It's just more unnecessary spending that creates a ripple effect, causing more distress on the rest of us.
A revealing documentary of the entire cocaine trade by a former addict.
Damn your logic, you article-writing...stupidface!
....I've been called worse, you imaginary junkie!!
Anyhoooo, in conclusion; the detrimental effects of drugs begin with turning the user into a victim of themselves and the negative effects of drug abuse spread outward from there, affecting friends, family, neighbors, country population, then world population. Every action will have an equal and opposite reaction, and drug abuse is no different. So how can we say there are no victims?
Okay, but aren't you forgetting something? The most common PRO-drug argument, perhaps?
It can be argued, and argued well, that drugs are responsible for great and wonderful things, from Edgar Allen Poe's work, Salvador Dali's paintings, the discovery of DNA, psychoanalysis, almost every musical piece ever written, and so on.
This cannot be denied, but for every bitchin' Jimi Hendrix solo busted out, or for every Tarsem Singh film released, there are millions of dead drug addicts buried in the dirt long before their time with grieving family and friends left behind to pick up the pieces.
I shall throw away my crack pipe and bath salts, post haste!