discussing views on drug abuse as a health issue versus a criminal justice issue and sharing personal opinions on whether drug abusers are making a lifestyle choice, suffering from an illness, or something else, as well as discussing the impact of recognizing drug abuse as a multifaceted health issue and promoting a shift from punitive measures to rehabilitation efforts in addressing addiction. discussing the accessibility and abuse of prescription drugs, the role of pharmaceutical companies and doctors, and the debate on whether drug abuse is a health issue or a criminal justice issue.

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discussing views on drug abuse as a health issue versus a criminal justice issue and sharing personal opinions on whether drug abusers are making a lifestyle choice, suffering from an illness, or something else, as well as discussing the impact of recognizing drug abuse as a multifaceted health issue and promoting a shift from punitive measures to rehabilitation efforts in addressing addiction. discussing the accessibility and abuse of prescription drugs, the role of pharmaceutical companies and doctors, and the debate on whether drug abuse is a health issue or a criminal justice issue.

Assignment:
Watch the following video:
Prescription Drug Abuse: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wPPRhMudUHU 1. Explain your views on looking at drug abuse as a health issue versus a criminal justice issue. Additionally, explain your opinion on whether drug abusers are simply making a lifestyle choice, suffering from an illness, something in between or something else entirely. From your life experiences, do you see prescription or illicit “street” drugs as a bigger problem in this country? Support your view.
2. Write a discussion response to the following six students views:
1) “Prescription drugs are causing some various health issues, and addiction is a big part of the problem. People often start taking these meds with good intentions, trying to deal with health issues such as pain or anxiety. Unfortunately, many people end up getting addicted, and it goes way beyond what the doctor ordered. The easy access to prescription drugs just makes matters worse. I remember my OBGYN prescribed me 60 (1 month plus 1 refill) percocets after the birth of my son. I had a normal delivery, not a C-Section. Luckily my mother works in the medical field and she did not allow me to take it. I was only 21 years old at the time and that could have created a drug issue for me. Getting addicted on prescription drugs messes with more than just a persons physical health – it messes with their whole life. Relationships can go though turmoil, people can lose their jobs, and their mental state can rapidly decline. It’s a vicious cycle that doesn’t just stop with the drugs prescribed; it often snowballs into even bigger substance abuse problems. It’s a health crisis that has been around for years and years.”
2) “After watching the video I would say, there is growing movement to treat drug usage as a health issue rather than a criminal justice issue, and many support treating addiction as a medical condition, which could have started since they were younger in age. A health focused approach is more beneficial since addiction has come to be a complicated combination of genetic, environmental, psychological factors, and probably many more other factors. I feel as if It is unfair to view drug usage as a lifestyle choice. Addiction is already a health concern because it frequently results in changes to the body, despite the best intentions of the person. It is important to have a caring stance that deals with underlying causes and offers assistance in recovering these things. Both prescription and illegal drugs present serious difficulties. According to the video, “Pill Overkill: America’s painkiller epidemic”, it highlights the opioid epidemic as an example of the disastrous effects of prescribed medicines. But illegal substances are not the only thing that cause problems in society. The secret is to deal with the underlying issues, encourage education, and put in place extensive support and healthcare systems, so that we can have an effective solution.”
3) “First of all, I would like to say this video opened my eyes and my way of seeing things, and I must say when it comes to talking about the drug issue, there are 2 ways of seeing it the criminal justice and the health issue view, each side has different opinions, my personal opinion is related to the health issues rather than criminal justice, looking at drug abuse through a health lens allows us to apprehend and address the complicated underlying factors that contribute to substance misuse. dependency is regularly rooted in a combination of genetic, environmental, and mental factors. by using information on drug abuse as a health issue, we can prioritize prevention, training, and rehabilitation over punitive measures. Treating drug abuse as a public health issue helps people specializing in rehabilitation as opposed to punishment. for my part, characterizing drug abusers completely as people creating a lifestyle desire oversimplifies the complex nature of addiction. while personal picks do play a function, dependency is a multifaceted trouble involving neurobiological and environmental elements. spotting drug abuse as a health issue emphasizes empathy and expertise. In the end, framing drug abuse as a health issue is crucial for fostering a compassionate and effective method of addressing addiction. This perspective encourages a shift from punitive measures to rehabilitation efforts acknowledging the complex elements that contribute to substance misuse. furthermore, recognizing the superiority and effect of prescription drug abuse is vital in growing comprehensive strategies to fight the general hassle of drug abuse in society.”
4) “After viewing the video, I can see drug abuse as both a health issue and a criminal justice issue. When it comes to drug abuse most cases it can be caused by people that have medical reasons to be prescribed. These prescribed pills can help the patients reduce whatever pain they are going through whether it is physical or mental pain. Once they run out of the limited pill count some doctors do not explain that after finishing the pills it might cause them to experience withdrawal. This also ties into suffering from an illness since there are chemicals in the brain that can cause addiction. There are many cases in which people with mental disorders such as depression, anxiety, and PTSD can form side effects in which the pills they take to cure their current problem and also turn into a new problem or issue. Looking at these drug abuse issues from a criminal justice perspective I can see how even though these are people suffering from a mental blockage from making civil choices in public it can be dangerous as well. It can cause danger to the addict’s loved ones or the people around them. As in the video it explained that some people who reside in Staten Island kill their family members or close friends if they ever come between them and their drugs. These cases can not be overlooked since they can turn into criminal acts or even worse a homicide. There are laws to prevent people from committing crimes associated with drugs but even being locked up wouldn’t be the best solution since it not dealing with the issue outside the prisons. These people might even fall back into drugs after serving their sentence in prison. Some solution can be made such as rehabilitation centers for people that were addicts and need help recovering from their addictions and to be guided to the right pathway to succeed in society again. I see both prescription and illicit “street” drugs as a huge problem in this country since pharmaceutical companies are huge when it comes to putting the American people in debt and that also leads to people finding another distributor such as “drug dealers” to give these people the drugs that have somewhat a similar effect as the prescribed ones but on a cheaper end.”
5) “I agree that drug abuse should be looked at as more of a health issue than a criminal justice issue. When drug abuse is treated as a criminal justice issue, all it does is marginalize people who’s addiction has already marginalized them from their families, friends, jobs, society, etc. In the video we see over and over how far addicts are willing to go to satiate their addiction; Stealing from family members, for example one man admitted to selling his dead twin sisters jewelry. We hear a prosecutor tell a story of an addict who murdered a family member because that person stood between them and their drug/addiction. Once their addiction has taken over, no jail time will reform them other than therapy, recovery, and rehabilitation. You cannot make any absolute statements about why people abuse drugs. People abuse drugs for a number of reasons and sometimes a combination of them all. In the video we see examples of people from both sides, people who began using opioids for legitimate pain or having suffered an injury and people who began using them simply for fun until it spiraled into more. Both scenarios point to the health system for making them so accessible to begin with. In the video we see that in State Island, people would go to multiple doctors and getting prescribed Percocet in large amounts, making the drug so accessible. I believe nowadays there have been so many advancements in the medications have developed formulas like extended release tablets, to limit abusing the medication, that it is definitely not as big a problem as it used to be during the opioid epidemic. They also implemented the use of new system with 2013 change in Staten Island laws that would require doctors to check that the patients haven’t already been prescribed that medication recently. Modern day concerns about drugs tend to revolve around the fentanyl crisis or debates on legalization of marijuana for medical or recreational uses. ”
6) “There is a lot to think about here regarding whether drug abuse is a health issue or a criminal justice issue, but in my opinion, it is more of a health issue. On one hand, you have pharmaceutical companies knowingly pushing their products for human consumption without properly providing education for doctors prescribing the medication so that they can accurately determine whether the product would be right for their patient or how long it is too long for them to be on it. On the other hand, you have doctors who have realized how addicting the medication can be and take advantage of the fact that “patients” will continue to want them and come to them for it. If the pharmaceutical companies worked towards making medications that are less addictive, it would be a start. However, doctors also play a hand in it as well as there are not a lot of doctors who suggest alternative or holistic methods to help their patients.
In my opinion, it is very hard to completely distinguish whether all drug abusers are making a lifestyle choice or if they are suffering from illnesses. There are a lot of people who were introduced to abusing drugs through just wanting to try it out or being peer pressured. There are also a lot of people who became addicted to drugs because of what was prescribed to them, following the directions for the medication, and getting addicted. Is it an illness? I wouldn’t say so, but I also wouldn’t say that it is completely a lifestyle choice either because there are some people who likely want to stop abusing drugs, but because of the effects of the withdrawal, it is hard to do so. Also, not having the support or resources to assist with not abusing drugs also plays a role.
Based on my life experiences, prescription drugs are the bigger problem in this country. They can be easily obtained legally and easily abused because of that. Yes, you require a prescription to obtain them, but, as one of the recovering addicts in the video said, you could go to several doctors and receive as much of the medication as you want because it isn’t tracked. Street drugs can be easily obtained also, but because it is illegal, a person is more likely to be caught and jailed for participating in its abuse.”
Textbook:
Drugs, Society and Criminal Justice, 5th Edition
ISBN: 9780135187845

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