Sample Argumentative Essay on Drug Use


Socializing in drug abuse is a refreshing attempt to view drug abuse from an entirely new perspective, one which is not constrained by the traditional view of drug-abusing behavior as being necessarily pathological in both the sociological and physiological sense. In the new approach, I sought to describe drug abuse for what it is, i.e., behavior reflecting the norm, mores, and lifestyle components of a distinguishable subsystem of our society. Based on this approach, unrestricted by predominant criminal justice and medical model methodologies and attitudes, it is believed that the problems and issues surrounding drug abuse can be better understood and dealt with.

Drugs and substance abuse risks the social and emotional well-being of an individual. Drugs affect the way people behaves, particularly their social lifestyles. It becomes easier to differentiate someone under influence of drug and one who is sober. That is why addicts have variant abnormal behaviors when under the influence and are usually calm and depressed when not under the influence. In most instances, stress and mental problems are triggered by their usage. The person under influence will then have queer behaviors not desired by most people. Such a person will appear cut out from society and would retreat to depression once the influence wears off. Usually, addicts think taking a puff or sip would make them forget about their current problems or issues. They do not consider the long-term effects of the consumption. As the addiction grows, the interaction level with other societal members drops, as nobody would not wish to be associated with them. This would affect their social and emotional well-being necessitating rehabilitation.

Being under drug influence reduces your safety. Drug addiction influences the behavior of a person, one would be likely to be involved in feuds or develop violent behavior. The person is exposed to dangerous situations with impaired self-defense mechanisms. For the female drug users, they would be very more vulnerable to sexual abuse or treatment (Baum 37). Drug addicts risks their lives by getting involved into illegal crimes and practices in order to get cash to buy drugs. The drug dealers are usually well armed to secure their merchandise. Involving oneself in such scenarios puts them at higher security risk considering the legality of such business.

A person’s mentality and concentrations drops drastically when under the influence of drugs. A person’s ability to concentrate at the workplace is also affected which would be perpetrated to the quality of work produced. This would affect your job performance and overall career goals (Edelfield 51). Common effects of drug usage include hangovers and fatigue. With impaired vision and judgment, the work rate reduces and the person fired from the job, as no manager desires a lazy employee.

Society continues paying a large sum even after users, addicts, and drug dealers are caught and sentenced because it takes from $85 to $1500 per day to keep one person incarcerated. Supporting programs such as methadone maintenance cost much less. New York officials estimate that methadone maintenance costs about $4500 per year patient. Some outpatient programs, such as those in Washington, DC, claim a cost of staff as low as $8 to $14 per day (not counting cost of staff and facilities), which is much less than the cost of incarceration.

A more long-term effect of drug abuse that has substantial impact on the society is the medical and psychological care often required by addicts due to disease resulting from their drug habit. Particularly noteworthy are the communicable diseases spread because of needle sharing within the drug-abusing population, such as hepatitis and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). For instance, in the United States, HIV is spread primarily through unprotected sexual intercourse and sharing of previously used needles to inject drugs. HIV in the injecting-drug-subpopulation is transmitted in the small amount of contaminated blood remaining in the used needles.

The likelihood of a member of the drug-abusing population contracting HIV directly correlates with the frequency of injections and the extent of needle sharing (Richard W Wilson, Dr. Cheryl A Kolander 265). Care for AIDS patients lasts a lifetime, and many of these medical expenses come from federal and state-funded programs. Many cities throughout the United States have publicly funded programs that distribute new, uncontaminated needles to drug addicts. The needles are free of charge in exchange for used injection needles in order o prevent the spread of HIV and hepatitis B and C from contaminated needles.

Also of great concern is drug abuse by women during pregnancy. Some psychoactive drugs can have profound, permanent effects on a developing fetus. The best documented is fetal alcoholic syndrome (FAS), which can affect the offspring of alcoholic mothers. Cocaine and amphetamine-related drugs can also cause irreversible congenital changes when used during pregnancy. All too often, the affected offspring of addicted mothers become the responsibility of welfare organizations. In addition to the costs to society just mentioned, other costs of drug abuse include drug-related deaths, emergency room visits and hospital ways, and automobile fatalities.

In additional to the previously mentioned ethical issues, there are a number of other issues of concern. For instance, child protection issues pose challenges to harm reduction when abstinence is the expected goal. Legal issues, such as charges of driving under the influence, often lead to the expectation of abstinence rather than a decreased use of alcohol.

On the controversies surrounding harm reduction is whether it supports and even encourages illicit drug use and underage drinking and can serve as a “gateway” to more extensive drug involvement. Some believe that mitigating the negative consequences of addiction allows the addict or alcoholic to remain longer in the addiction. Using the pleasure or pain principle, when the pain is greater than the pleasure, the addict is more likely to seek abstinence. By Godinho thinking, reducing the consequences means the substance abuse problem is more likely to continue.

Edelfield, B., & Moosa, T. J addresses how hard it is to recover from addiction and advocates a “needs-led” approach. For Trace, the important issue is when to encourage clients who are doing harm reduction to become abstinent, acknowledging that dual diagnosis (co-occurring disorders) exists and some other clients will continue to need medication. Trace recommends a “menu” of service and professional who encourage and support clients in feeling that they can become independent. Clients should be able to get the services they need at the time and should have awareness that their need can change.

Siegel expressed concern that, “harm-reduction efforts are aimed at drug users without acknowledging and dealing with environmental inequalities” (354).  That is, harm reduction may be forced onto drugs users as a way to address public health issues and does not focus on helping drug users address personal goals.


Importantly, harm reduction does not focus solely on policies; it also focuses on strategies to address the implementation of policies, confidentiality, and type and quality of the services delivered. These includes where the services are delivered, such as in poor, high crime areas, and the risks to clients and staff members when it comes to law enforcement and legal issue.

Some scholars argue that there are drugs which could be helpful to the body. For instance, Richard W Wilson articulated “Heroin is one of a group of drugs known as the narcotics” (324). These are drugs that relieve pain.  The two types of narcotics are opiates and synthetics. Opiates such as heroin and morphine come from a herb called the opium poppy. Heroin accounts for 90% of the opiate abuse in the United States. It is sold as a brown or white powder or as a dark, sticky resin. Heroin can be smoked, sniffed, or injected.

However, Edelfield, B., & Moosa, T. J indicated “Heroin has a powerful sedative that slows down the body” (387). At first, heroin causes users to feel a short rush of pleasure. After that they feel relaxed and have no pain. The pupils of heroin users contracts until they are tiny. Users become sleepy, dizzy, or nauseous.

However, heroin users quickly develop tolerance to the drug. A heroin addict’s life revolves around getting and using the drug because it is highly addictive. People addicted to heroin must have the drug or they suffer withdrawal. Some of the physical withdrawal symptoms of heroin are chills and vomiting, or throwing up. Another symptom is diarrhea, a condition in which normally solid waste becomes runny and frequent.

Many scholars are deeply concerned about the effect legalizing drug abuse would have on the crime in different countries. It is my strong belief that legalizing would not eliminate or decrease drug-related crimes. A popular misconception is that drug users commit crimes solely to support expensive drug habits. This misconception leads to the false conclusion that lowering the cost of drugs would reduce the level of crime. In reality, cheaper, legal drugs would probably increase the level of violent and property crime.

Even legalization proponents concede that other crimes, such as child abuse and assaults, that are committed because people are under the influence of drugs, would not decrease. Glantz, M., & Chambers said, “drug use is the actually the cause of sociopathic and criminal behaviors.” Drug users commit crimes that are totally unrelated to the cost of drug. Those advocating legalization profess that such an action would eliminate a black market and organized crime’s involvement in selling drugs. However, to see their argument to its logical conclusion, they must be advocating universal availability. This means that they would legalize and allow anyone to have any drug of any potency, without any restriction whatsoever. Our reality is, however, that one is advocating that children have ready access, or that hallucinogens such as PCP be freely available.

The high costs attributed to legal drugs do not indicate that we are concentrating prohibition on the wrong drugs, but rather that when drugs are legal, and therefore widely acceptable and available; they adversely affect more individuals and require more attention and resources. Indeed, the nation’s experience with tobacco and alcohol send a warning about the dangers of making illegal drugs readily available. As drug policy expert Baum has noted, “Until success is achieved in imposing reasonable controls on the currently licit killers, alcohol and nicotine, the case for adding a third or fourth recreational drug will remain hopelessly speculative.”

Another argument made by the legalization proponents is that the general decrease in consumption rates of both legal and illegal drugs in the past 20 years has nothing to do with the law enforcement policy, but rather with education and increased societal concern with personal health. Yet despite the widespread awareness of the risks of smoking and heavy media attention to tobacco-related problems, roughly 35% of Americans continue to smoke, and smoking by adolescents is substantially higher than their marijuana use and close to where it was in 2010. On the other hand, as noted earlier, the number of illegal drugs users has dropped from 30 million in 2008 to 18 million in 2012. While the national population increased by 15% in the same periods. Arguing that we should treat illicit drugs as we do tobacco, suing education instead of prohibition, also implies a false dichotomy between education and prohibitive laws. In curbing illegal drug use, when law enforcement and education complement and reinforce each other, they are most effective (Wrobleski, Henry M, and Kären M 287)

Works Cited

Baum, A. Cambridge Handbook of Psychology,Health and Medicine. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997. Print.

Edelfield, B., & Moosa, T. J. Drug abuse. New York: Rosen Pub, 2012. Print.

Glantz, M., & Chambers, J. Prenatal drug exposure effects on subsequent vulnerability to drug abuse. Develop. Psychopathol., 18(03). doi:10.1017/s0954579406060445. (2006). Web

Godinho J. HIV/AIDS and Tuberculosis in Central Asia. Washington, DC: World Bank. 2004. Web

Richard W Wilson, Dr. Cheryl A Kolander. Drug abuse prevention :a school and community partnership. Sudbury, MA : Jones and Bartlett Publishers, 2011. Print.

Siegel, Larry J. Criminology. Belmont, Calif: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning, 2012. Print

States., United. Drug use in America: problem in perspective: Second report. New York: MSS Information Corp, 1974 . Web.

Wrobleski, Henry M, and Kären M. Hess. Introduction to Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice. Belmont, CA: Thomson/Wadsworth, 2006. Print.