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Victimless Crime

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Victimless crime is defined as an illegal act that is felt to have no direct or identifiable victim. Drug possession and usage is considered to be a type of victimless crime. Libertarianism says the government is set up to offer protection for each of us against the initiation of force by others. They say this gives us the “moral space” in which to live our own lives in our own chosen way-even if that means choosing to use drugs. A person under the influence of illegal drugs is known to cause damage to themselves, other people or property. Is this not initiation of force on others. Drug abuse can result in increased risk of health problems such as illness, injuries and physical damage to the body or death; drug abuse can result in personal problems such as loss of motivation, or physical and psychological dependence, and problems at work or school; drug abuse can result in family problems like strained and unhappy relationships and family breakdown; drug abuse can contribute to social problems like increased crime and automobile accidents; drug abuse can also result in financial costs to society for things like health care, crime or lost productivity. Undeserving is the statement, “Drug Use is a Victimless Crime”. Who is not the victim when it comes to drug use!

Drug abuse is a major public health problem. Drug abuse causes a multitude of health problems to the user and to the public. The respectful, taxpaying citizens of America are the ones paying the medical bills for the health effects drugs have on its users. In 1992, the total estimated spending for health care services due to drug problems was $9.9 billion, specialized services for the treatment of drug problems was $10 billion-this includes specialized detoxification and rehabilitation services as well as prevention, training, and research expenditures-, costs of treatment for health problems attributed to drug abuse (e.g., cirrhosis, HIV infection, and trauma) was $18.7 billion. The total cost came to $38.6 billion. Inflation and growth in the U.S. population have driven the economic effects of drug abuse higher since 1992.

Based on these two effects, the estimated total costs of drug abuse from 1992 to 1995 were projected to have increased 12.5%. Today substance abuse costs our nation more than $484 billion per year. The costs of drug abuse cost our nation more than that of other chronic conditions-diabetes costs society $131.7 billion annually, and cancer costs society $171.6 billion annually. The victim here is definitely not the drug addict it is the general public. The people who pay their taxes hoping to receive better healthcare for themselves and their children are paying for the inadvertencies of drug addicts. This in itself is a crime, drug addicts stealing money from society, just by using drugs. Is this still a victimless crime?

Drug use contributes to various negative effects on the families of the user. The user’s preoccupation with the substance, in addition to its effects on mood and performance, can lead to marital problems and relationship problems with children. Drugs can and do destroy the family life and can even create destructive patterns of codependency, that is, the spouse or the whole family, out of love or fear of consequences, inadvertently enable the user to continue using drugs by covering up, supplying money, or denying there is a problem. Children feel many emotions-embarrassments, shame, worry, guilt, sadness, and anger- when their parents are using drugs. When parents are using drugs they become so concerned with their drug use they often neglect their children. Children are young and innocent and do not deserve to grow up being mistreated by drug addicted parents. Children often become addicted to drugs because their parents are drug addicts; drug dealers are not the only suppliers of drugs. When an irreprehensible child uses drugs are they not the victim. Growing up with drug addicted parents ruins the lives of children everyday here in the United States.

Drug abuse the “victimless crime” ruining families and marriages, damaging children for life. Drugs are related to crime through the effects they have on the user’s behavior and by generating violence and other illegal activity in connection with drug trafficking. Drug-related offenses and drug-using lifestyles are major contributors to the crime problem in the United States. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) conducts an annual National Household Survey on Drug Abuse (NHSDA) that asks individuals living in households about their drug and alcohol use and their involvement in crimes. Provisional data for 1997 show that respondents arrested in the past year for possession or sale of drugs had the highest percentage of illicit drug use in the past year. Past year illicit drug users were also about 16 times more likely than nonusers to report being arrested and booked for larceny or theft; more than 14 times more likely to be arrested and booked for such offenses as driving under the influence, drunkenness, or liquor law violations; and more than 9 times more likely to be arrested and booked on an assault charge.

The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring (ADAM) Program measures drug use among arrestees by calculating the percentage of arrestees with positive urine tests for drug use. Data collected from male arrestees in 1998 in 35 cities showed that the percentage for any drug ranged from 42.5% to 78.7%. Female arrestees testing positive ranged from 33.3% to 82.1%. Data collected from juvenile male arrestees proved to be similar to adult arrestees. Drugs create drug addicts; drug addicts create criminals. Drug use and possession-currently called a victimless crime-is not a victimless crime.

All of society pays the price for drug use including tax payers, husbands and wives, children, and victims of drug related crime. Stealing money is a crime; are drug addicts not stealing from the citizens when we have to pay for their medical bills. Domestic violence and child abuse is a crime; are drug addicts not violent with their family, do they not neglect their children, do they not abuse their children emotionally. Are drug addicts not prone to criminal activity. Libertarians say, “Peaceful drug use violates no other person’s rights. People have the right to control their own bodies.” I say, when is drug use peaceful. There is always a victim when it comes to the use of drugs!

Bergland, D.(n.d) Comparing Liberal, Conservative, and Libertarian Answers. Retrieved July 11, 2008 from the Advocates for Self-Government website: http://www.theadvocates.org/library/comparison-of-philosophies.html Drug Related Crime.(n.d). Retrieved July 11, 2008 from the Office of National Drug Control Policy website: http://www.whitehousedrugpolicy.gov/publications/factsht/crime/index.html Handling Addiction and Restoring Lives. (n.d.). Retrieved July 11, 2008 from the U.S. No Drugs website: http://www.usnodrugs.com/effects-of-drug-abuse.htm

The Economic Costs of Alcohol and Drug Abuse in the United States. (1992). 1.2 Healthcare Expenditures. Retrieved July 11, 2008 from the National Institute on Drug Abuse website:
The Economic Costs of Alcohol and Drug Abuse in the United States. (2006).
1.10 Updated Estimates. Retrieved July 11, 2008 from the National
Institute on Drug Abuse website:
Victimless Crime. (n.d.). The American Heritage Dictionary of the English
Language, Fourth Edition. Retrieved July 11, 2008 from Dictionary.com
Website: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/victimlesscrime

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