This media analysis paper will follow the war on drugs, sweeping across our nation. Drugs have always been prevalent in the United States, however the epidemic became an all-out war during the 1960’s when former President Richard M. Nixon was in office (https://www.smartdrugpolicy.org/nixon-and-the-start-of-the-drug-war-1969-1974/?) . But when will this war that millions of Americans face each year end? After doing research, along with analyzing recent posts on the popular social media site Twitter. The number of tweets about the war on drugs and individuals taking to social media explaining their own personal war with drugs and how they overcame addiction, was eye opening. New medications have been created which reverses the effects of an overdose as it is happening and can help aid paramedics in reviving the individual who is overdosing. In recent years, The United States has made several advances in attempt to stop the war on drugs, along with the discovery of new medications, there has been a spike in advertising the effects drugs have on an individual along with funding to drug prevention, and rehabilitation centers. Unfortunately, the number of deaths from drug overdoses continue to rise.
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Keywords: war on drugs, ending addiction
The War on Drugs Current State of The Issue In 2017 more than 72,000 Americans died from a drug overdose according to the NIA’s website (https://www.drugabuse.gov/related-topics/trends-statistics/overdose-death-rates). The United States spends nearly 58 billion dollars a year on this issue, the number of arrests for violations related to drugs in 2017 is at an all-time high, of roughly 1,632,921 Americans (https://www.drugpolicy.org/issues/drug-war-statistics). The reason the numbers continue to rise could be attributed to the new medication discovered called naloxone, which is better known as Narcan. Naloxone was designed to rapidly reverse an opioid overdose.
When paramedics are called to the scene of an overdose they inject naloxone through the nasal cavity to revive the individual overdosing, however paramedics are required to go through extensive training in order to learn how to administer the medication properly (https://www.drugabuse.gov/related-topics/opioid-overdose-reversal-naloxone-narcan-evzio). However, the war on drugs, really is a war on opioids, the use of recreational Marijuana as been made legal in The District of Columbia along with 10 states, including Alaska, Colorado, California, Massachusetts, Michigan, Maine, Oregon, Nevada, Washington, and Vermont, (https://www.governing.com/gov-data/safety-justice/state-marijuana-laws-map-medical-recreational.html). Most magazines and newspapers predict, Marijuana will be legal in all fifty states by the year 2020. Publicized Societal Perspectives After looking at the cirrus (Figure 1), along with the trends output (Figure 2) from the tweets pulled the top four words used are, drugs, war, ending, and failure. The top two words being drugs, and war.
Most of the analyzed tweets talked about the next step the United States can take to finally put an end to addiction. While marijuana is still considered an illegal drug federally, 33 states have legalized the drug for medicinal purposes. In 1996 California became the first state to legalize medicinal marijuana, (https://www.ncsl.org/research/health/state-medical-marijuana-laws.aspx). In 2012 Washington and Colorado became the first states to legalize recreational marijuana for adult-use only (https://www.ncsl.org/research/civil-and-criminal-justice/marijuana-overview.aspx). With the legalization of both recreational and medicinal marijuana, law enforcement personnel can focus on apprehending individuals distributing drugs like cocaine, or heroine, instead of spending money apprehending a rebellious teen for a small amount of marijuana.
Currently in the United states there are over 14,500 specialized drug treatment facilities. These facilities focus on helping individuals beat addiction by providing medication, counseling, case management, and behavioral therapy, along with a multitude of other treatment options (https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/principles-drug-addiction-treatment-research-based-guide-third-edition/drug-addiction-treatment-in-united-states). Conclusion. The war on drugs is still an on-going fight. Even with rehabilitation centers, the discovery of new medication, and the legalization of medicinal and recreational marijuana, the annual number of over doses continue to rise. While these efforts to put an end to addiction have helped in some way or another, rehabilitation centers are extremely hard to get into, and most of the time the individual ends up on a waiting list.
Naloxone is medication that provides an extra chance at life for the individual experiencing an overdose, however if paramedics must continuously distribute naloxone there is the potential for costs to rise and cities will not have enough funding in order to pay for this medication. As for the legalization of marijuana, it has yet to be legalized in all 50 states for either recreational, and medicinal use, and is still considered an illegal drug federally. While these outcomes are all estimates, they still have the potential to become real. The news channels do not air the possible negative outcomes to the public, only the positive ones, meaning very few Americans understand these potential negative outcomes could become possible.
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