ADDICTION IN NEW YORK CITY

Published: 2021-07-06 23:14:14
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Drugs use is a grim issue that must be discussed in a comprehensive manner. If such cases are left unattended, the use of drugs often develop to drug dependency. Therefore it is necessary to recognize the symptoms drug use as early as possible. If an individual is bothered by his rate of drug use or that of a relative or a friend, there are some common signs that one should look for. It is important to mention that drug abuse is a common problems in the entire world. With the disorder so common, the truth is clear regarding the misconception that many people have about drug abuse. The main objective of this paper is to provide a brief overview of drug use, focusing on its history and the drugs abused in New York City.The long running American war on drugs can be traced back to the civil war, a real armed conflict. After the crisis, a social problem throughout the nation in regard to addiction to morphine, an opiate, was noticed. The drug was initially used as anesthetic and a painkiller used on wounded soldiers. The concern became prominent as the use and addiction to the drug spread from the battlefield to the civilian community. Opium became the first drug to in the United States to be prohibited and legislated against in an act of Congress done on 1890. The law imposed heavy taxes on opiates which is a product of poppy from which heroine and morphine are extracted (Callahan & Berrios, 2005).The drug also played a central role at the heard of problems cited by President Nixon in the year 1969 as he outlined a ten-point strategic plan aimed at reducing the use of illegal drugs. In this effort, New York was used as the proving ground. According to report by Nixon written in 14th of July, 1969, at that time, New York City alone had recorded over 40,000 heroin users and addicts with a steady rise in number ranging between 7,000 and 9,000 annually. The report was a message sent to the Congress. He further remarked that the official statistics presented to him were just a tip of the iceberg and all they could do is surmise the dimensions. The New York drug problem was again cited two years later as the president pledged against drug abuse and named drug abuse as the United States’ public enemy number one. He quoted that waging a new all-out offensive, or in other terms, total war was the only strategic way of fighting and overcoming this challenge (Musto, 2002).These strategies were embraced by the local leaders and officials which saw the announcement of the Harlem as the center for drug trafficking in the whole nation. The announcement was made in 1978 by Sterling Johnson, New York’s special prosecutor. He stated that the region had the dealers selling the drugs openly to the blacks who were seen walking into the streets and the whites who were always in their cars. This had been the scenario for close to a decade (Musto, 2002).Phillip Panzarella, in the early 1970s, worked as a patrol cop dispatched to 30th Precinct in Harlem but was later moved to the NYPD narcotics units that worked uptown. The officer, a native of the Washington Heights, retired as a lieutenant after a heroic 40-year career period in the New York Police Department where he was popularly known as Sundance. In an interview, he said that people from over five states travelled to Harlem to purchase heroin. He further remarked that he noted the existence of a large number of good people and who worked hard to see the end to drug trafficking, abuse and use in the streets but this was just a losing battle since the war against drugs entailed a lot of aspects. Most people termed the illegal business in drug dealing as a drain of lifeblood out of Harlem since most people relied on drug dealing as the only way of earning money (Boville, 2007).Drug Addiction in New YorkOn the ground, New York is, arguably, considered as the most exciting city in America. The city possess almost every recreational element ranging from music, theatre, restaurants, events and personalities, big businesses as well as fashion. The region is the metropolitan home to over eighteen million people who work, live, cater and raise their families as well as pursue their entertainments. While most of these individuals reside in the boroughs of the New York City, others live in the neighboring region of New Jersey. A different picture is portrayed under the surface by the use and addiction to the drugs provided by the intricate web of drug trafficking. With a massive population in the city which represents a potential market of eighteen million customers, the supply is hard to pass up. This leads to the convergence of various drug dealing cartels whose roots are from various ethnic backgrounds. The drug organizations transport and supply the drugs into or throughout New York but they may also manage and control the street-level supply links and chains (Boville, 2007).New York metropolitan area has, for a long time, been a residential home to a large number of immigrants visiting from all over the world. This makes it easy for the drug traffickers from any state or nation to blend in which makes it difficult for detection. Most trafficking sects include one that has its origins in or are mainly managed by people from the following regions or countries: Pakistan, Afghanistan, Puerto Rico, Nigeria, Mexico, Columbia, Dominic Republic, Russia, Israel, Jamaica, China, Vietnam, Italy which are associated with the Italian Organized Crime and Canada who primarily consist of Asian immigrants from Canada. Most of the street-based gangs take upon the task of distributing the drugs once these organizations bring the drugs to the city. The street-level gangs include Crips, Latin Kings, Dominicans Don’t Play, Bloods, Netas and Salvatrucha among other groups (Knopf, 2015).Intricate Infrastructure Facilitating Drug Trafficking and UsePlaces rich in business and transportation infrastructure are appealing and conducive to traffickers since their products are easily concealed in the volume. The ports of New Jersey and New York are the largest container harbors on the East Coast. It is indicated that $166 billion was moved through the port in form of cargo in the year 2007. The traffickers have continued to devise new ingenious and innovative means of hiding their goods such as inside toys, sports tools and equipment, inside hollowed-out beads, concealing in furniture, soaking in clothes as well as impregnating the drugs into plastic products which is the recent method used in smuggling heroin. A chemical process is then used in extracting heroin from the plastic material before its supply and distribution (“The Future of Substance Abuse Services in New York State”, 2014).Passengers who have ingested over 23 ounces of heroin encased in balloons and condoms are enabled to arrive and leave with the other international traffic in the international airports of Buffalo, New York as well as Albany. There is a likelihood of more drug trafficking projects from Nigeria to New York due to the new direct flight program launched from Nigeria to the City’s JFK International Airport. The United States Postal Services as well as the Package delivery services are also utilized. Traffickers prefer using this services in part due to the fact that they can track their products online. Once a package encounters some delay at a certain point, an alarm can be raised on the traffickers who may become suspicious of law enforcement interventions hence abandoning or refusing the package of drugs (“Vivitrol ad blitz in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania”, 2017).Dealers are also able to get around town quickly due to the most expensive subway systems in the world. The criss-cross and movement of interstates ranging between 81, 84, 86, 87, 88, 90, and 495, enables the drug dealers to move their goods down from the Southeast border on their way across state or from the Canadian border. However, the cartels and traffickers have to adapt to the pressure they encounter from the law enforcement agents. Due to the great surveillance that is present in the interstates, the organizations and drug gangs are forced to use back or the secondary roads to move their drugs to their designated destinations. Consequently, the abundance of financial corporations facilitates the possibilities of getting the proceeds and profits realized from the business out of the state quickly (Sora, 1997).Just like other states in the nation, the New York City and its boroughs also sees the trafficking of other types of drugs such as marijuana, cocaine, club drugs such as methamphetamine, Ecstasy or MDMA as well as prescription drugs. However, their level of abuse and use in the city are relatively low with heroin use, abuse and addiction existing at high rates as compared to other parts of the country. Heroin is recording a gradual rise in use in upstate New York as it registers more young rural abusers getting hooked up in the drug abuse web.Most health facilities are noticing more treatment admissions for heroin addictions as compared to other drugs. Methamphetamine is a lesser problem in the city but have indicated a steady rise in abuse over the past couple of years. Prescription drug abuse has also been on the rise especially among the teens and youths who tend to reason that it is safer for use and abuse due to its legitimate manufacture (“The Future of Substance Abuse Services in New York State”, 2014). Another prescription drug under abuse is ketamine which is a dissociative veterinary anesthetic. The drug, just like methamphetamine, is increasingly being abused in New York City. Other drugs being abused heavily in New York are outlined below.Cigar and TobaccoThere is a common misconception among cigar and pipe smokers that their habits are safer than the smoking of cigarettes. However, this is false since all tobacco products can carry equal health dangers and can lead to similar health problems. The only difference between cigars, pipes, and cigarettes is their design. While cigarettes are wrapped using thin papers, cigars are rolled in tobacco leaves, and they normally lack filters. In the use of pipes, tobacco is placed in a bowl at the end, and a stem is used to link the bowl to the mouthpiece (Rao, 2013). Pipes are designed to be equipped with filters.Despite the differing designs, all three carry equally severe health risks. It also presumed by medics that cigar and pipe smoking could be far much dangerous than cigarettes. One large cigar contains over a half ounce of tobacco which is higher than a packet of cigarettes. The three types of tobacco can result in cancer more particularly mouth, esophagus and larynx cancer (Rao, 2013). Oral cancer is known of developing any part the smoke touches such as mouth, lips, tongue, and throat.There has been the assessment of drugs and their addictiveness. The main drugs considered in the evaluation are tobacco, alcohol and illegal drugs such as cannabis and cocaine. All drugs are addictive, but the illegal drugs have more severe adverse impacts on a user’s health. Illicit drugs may lead to unconsciousness, blackouts, cardiovascular and lung infections, cancer, stroke as well as mental illnesses. Nerve cells are also in the peripheral nervous system and in the brain may also be damaged. Illegal drugs are linked to both mental and physical effects. They may lead to frail health and physical appearance, and they can lead to death ultimately especially in cases of an overdose. Illegal drugs can also cause psychological concerns such as psychosis, depression and severe anxiety (Levy, 2017). This, therefore, means that illicit drugs have more grave and serious effects on a person as compared to alcohol and tobacco.OpiumOpium use can be dated back 10,000 years ago .research shows that some notable Greeks such as Pythagoras could not have discovered some of the genius theories without using some forms of drugs. Various texts from ancient history show that they might be some truth in this statementCannabisThis is not a strange drug to many people, with numerous debates taking place regarding its legalization across the world. However, Cannabis has been in use for many centuries, and it is believed that it was first used in ancient central and South Asia. The drug was usually grown in the past from its hemp fibre in the past as well as medical purposes as painkillers by Sikh for many years. Even though Cannabis is still an illegal drug in most countries, the various instances where the drug has been legalized for medical use such as treatment of glaucoma and increasing appetite.AlcoholSince the dawn of history, people have to sort various ways of relieving their daily grind of life. In the ancient Mesopotamia, agricultural activities flourished and various communities began to gain prominence. With the cultivation of wheat and barley led to the production of beer. Since water wasn’t that clean, the alcohol content killed a lot of harmful germs in the water. While the alcohol content was usually maintained at a low level, it was safe as the idea of sterility was unknown in the 3,000 BCE is often believed that even the gods enjoyed the new product. However, addiction to alcohol was rampant and most people during that period died at a very young age due to drunkenness.CocaineDuring the second millennium, world trade grew very fast. Ships began sailing from China to Europe. Cocaine was initially used as a medical drug in Europe for many years before it was used in the United States particularly the New York City. After the introduction of Coca-Cola, the company introduced a syrup from the coca plant. One year later, the Surgeon General of the United States approved the medical use of cocaine. Two decades later the United States was filled with filled with multiple unregulated tonics that contained a high amount of cocaine. By 1902, approximately 200,000 people were addicted to cocaine. In 1914, the drug was prohibited over the decade until it emerged again in the 1970s where it was now being used for recreational purposes eventually reaching its peak in 1982. Some suggested that the drug was no addictive and thus relatively harmless until the emergence of crack in 1985.The Resultant Effects of This High Drugs’ Availability in New YorkAccording to the national statistics for addiction and drug dependence, over a million individuals in the New York City are hooked and addicted to alcohol and other drugs. By the year 2006, New York State alone registered over 400,000 persons who confessed that they were in need of treatment over drug dependence and addiction but failed to get it. Over 250,000 people accessed treatment with alcohol addiction being, arguably, on the lead in numbers each year (“Vivitrol ad blitz in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania”, 2017).People use different drugs for different reasons. In most cases, people use drugs out of inquisitiveness, while others try to have a good time. Others often do it because their friends are doing it.Moreover, athletes often use it to improve their performance in the field or ease other problems they might have such as anxiety or depression. However drug use doesn’t spontaneously result to abuse, but there is no specific moment at which abuse of drugs shifts from casual to challenging issues. Drugs and alcohol use is often less about the quality of drug used and more about the reason why various individuals turn to drugs as well as the consequences of them using a certain drug (“The Future of Substance Abuse Services in New York State”, 2014).Drug use and addiction are complex issues that affect people of all ages, and backgrounds. It is impossible to tell what makes some people more prone to using drugs than others. It is often a process attributed to numerous factors such as family background, stress, personal characteristics among other. It has been suggested that most people who use drugs are usually forced by issues such as trouble at home, psychological problems, biological issues among other factors. A common group of drug users is children of drug users. Research shows that the risk of drug abuse often goes up for the children of drug addicts. Children from a parent who use any form of a drug have a probability of 45 to 79% likelihood of abusing drugs themselves compared to the general population (Simpson, 1997). This might imply that addiction is deep-rooted in genetics and thus it might be inherited. However, it could also imply that drug use could be affected by environmental factors such as the background in which the child was raised at.Drug trafficking, distribution and supply will persistently be there so long as there are drug addicts in the city, there is a demand for the substances and there are ruthless and heartless drug dealers who care less about human wreckage they lead to with their business. With law enforcement agencies doing their duty thoroughly, their efforts will bore no fruits. This therefore calls for more effective means such as ensuring the drug addicts recover fully and completely becoming independent from drugs and ensuring the provision and emphasis on effective drug education and awareness to the young people as it will prevent them from succumbing to the imaginable allure and euphoria of drugs and substance abuse.While the choice of taking drugs is voluntary for every individual, the brain the changes gradually, the changes turn and challenge the ability of the user’s self-control as well as the ability to resist the further use of the drug. This is the reason why drug addiction is categorized as a brain disorder. Drug abuse changes the structure of the brains and the way it functions. The changes can last for a very long time and result in harmful behavior among the individuals abusing the drug. Due to the brain changes, quitting is often a difficult process for the user.Moreover, addiction can affect any person despite strong individual character, and once this takes effect, frequent use changes the delicate and complex brain system. Behavioral therapy can be used to help drug users to learn the various ways of managing drug use and a healthy life free from drugs. However, treatment is the only way of mitigating drug abuse irrespective of one choosing to become a drug addict or a disease. If the society every wishes to make any progress in dealing with drug menace it is essential to inspire positive moral growth, especially for the addicts.ReferencesBoville, B. (2007). The Cocaine War in Context. New York: Algora Pub.Callahan, C., & Berrios, G. (2005). Reinventing depression. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Knopf, A. (2015). ValueOptions settles with New York AG for parity violations. Alcoholism & Drug Abuse Weekly, 27(11), 5-6. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/adaw.30114Levy, J. (2017). The War on People who Use Drugs. Milton: Taylor and Francis.Musto, D. (2002). Drugs in America. New York: New York University Press.Rao, B. (2013). Effect of Cigarette and Cigar Smoking on Peak Expiratory FlowSimpson, D. D. (1979). The relation of time spent in drug abuse treatment to posttreatment outcome. The American journal of psychiatry.Simpson, D. D., Joe, G. W., Rowan-Szal, G. A., & Greener, J. M. (1997). Drug abuse treatment process components that improve retention. Journal of substance abuse treatment, 14(6), 565-572.Sora, J. (1997). Substance abuse. New York: H.W. Wilson.The Future of Substance Abuse Services in New York State. (2014). Journal Of Alcoholism & Drug Dependence, 02(02). http://dx.doi.org/10.4172/2329-6488.1000e111Vivitrol ad blitz in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. (2017). Alcoholism & Drug Abuse Weekly, 29(20), 6-7. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/adaw.30957

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