Issue #4 Question 1. Are the dangers of ecstasy overstated?
Question 1: Based upon both arguments presented, do you agree with this statement? Why or why not?
I agree with the statement because there is no other option than to live or die with the consequences. If a person knows the consequence of using a drug, and the only two options after using that drug are to live or die with the consequences, then of course I agree. The person must live or die after any decision they make, so there is no reason why this one is any different. If the question were ‘Should a person take the drug when the potential side effects of taking it aren’t known?,” then a better discussion can begin to take shape: From one point of view, it can be said that the dangers of drugs are overstated because they can result in adverse effects on the user but the drug isn’t as bad as everyone thinks, according to Author Leslie Iversen, who wrote “Speed, ecstasy, Ritalin: The Science of Amphetamines.” She states that the adverse effects of drugs on the human brain haven’t been conclusively stated. She says that ecstasy could have very bad effect, but they are only as bad as one’s perception to them, (85). But on the other hand, the National Institute on Drug Abuse states that the drug allows people who are partying to be active for very long periods of time, which is part of their attraction. However, the drugs can cause high blood pressure, seizures, death, panic attacks and loss of consciousness. “Moreover, ecstasy can produce negative effects on the brain, resulting in confusion, depression, memory impairment and attention difficulties,” (85). In taking sides, I would have to agree with the National Institute of Drug Abuse. While they would be held more liable for an assertion that ecstasy isn’t as bad as people think, they also have a team of scientists studying the potential effects of drugs and are more likely to make a logical decision.
Whether or not there has been a decrease in the amount of ecstasy being used doesn’t have any bearing on the fact that the dangers of the drug are real. About 1 out of every 7 young adults between 19 and 30 have used the drug in the United States, which is some cause for concern if the drug has serious effects, but until there is proof about the consequences of the drug, it will be hard to curb the number of young people. Instead of focusing all of the effort on decreasing the number of people using ecstasy, there should be some effort made toward determining whether or not the drug is a threat to people. Scientific studies haven’t proven inconclusive, but with more effort there will likely be some results and these could either show young people, and all people, that they should not be using the drug. Right now, there is little people encouraging kids not to use drugs can use to let them know that they should not use the drugs.
However, there are some facts that do point to the fact that ecstasy is not a good option for young people. For example, 16,000 people were taken to emergency rooms in 2006 because of the side effects of taking the ecstasy. Many of these patients were admitted after rave parties. It appears that it is the overindulgence of ecstasy at parties such as these that has the people admitted to the hospital. Furthermore, these numbers could be placed out of proportion to the true account of the number of people visiting these hospitals, because there is likely a mixture with the drug and alcohol that causes the adverse reaction. In my opinion, these drugs are not as dangerous as some of the numbers might indicate. But it is too early to say whether the dangers are being overstated because there is so much that isn’t known about the adverse effects.
Issue #5 Should Pregnant Drug users be prosecuted?
Question 4: Taking into account both articles, consider whether prosecuting pregnant drug users is a legal problem or a medical problem. Based upon both issue arguments, do you believe that these women should be prosecuted as criminals, or should they be afforded medical attention and drug treatments?
I think whatever can be done to decrease the number of mothers doing drugs when they are pregnant should be explored. I believe Paul Logli is correct when he says that the state has a responsibility to protect those who are underage from their parents if harm is inflicted on them. If convicting mothers that do this is a way to address the issue, then I believe it should be carried out. While Carolyn carter argues that the poor will be targeted, I think that is a poor reason to not do whatever is possible to decrease the number of babies that are being born with mental problems because of the way their mothers behaved. Also, it isn’t targeted the poor, it is targeted mothers who are inflicting mental harm on their babies. A large percentage of those people just happen to be poor, (104).
Unlike the argument about ecstasy, the effects on mothers’ fetuses are well-known and should be taken extremely seriously. While there is a range in the severity of the effects, it should be noted that the persistent use of drugs will seriously impact the fetus. Mothers should be prosecuted for their behaviour, more severely than what they would be prosecuted for having the drug otherwise. It should be noted, however, that a severe prosecution could impact the child more severely than just the effects of the drug. This is because the mother, who might already be poor, will not be able to afford the care for her child. On the other hand, if the punishment isn’t severe enough, then the mother might not be deterred from doing the drugs while pregnant, and this will cause her to further harm the baby.
I also don’t believe that the type of people who would use the drug while pregnant would pay attention to the punishments that would be imposed. It would take someone with little awareness of what is happening around them to make the decision to use the drug. However, tougher penalties have been shown to deter people from committing other crimes.
In deciding whether it is a good idea to provide these women with medical attention, it should be noted that such attention would require significant taxpayer money. If there is room in the federal budget to fund such an initiative, then I think it could be done in accordance with a punishment to the woman for her actions. This isn’t entirely uncommon, as there are many verdicts that include a punishment of either a fine or jail time, or both – plus the person who committed the offense is forced to participate in a drug rehab program. Having one of these programs designed specifically for pregnant women would provide for the opportunity for the woman to feel like she isn’t alone in her struggles.
The type of drug that is being used by the woman should also be considered, as there are many drugs that wouldn’t affect the fetus as much as the others. For example, using a drug such as marijuana wouldn’t likely be as damaging as a drug such as ecstasy, which would likely cause severe problems for the woman and her baby. The frequency of drug use should be another consideration before determining that the woman should be prosecuted for her actions. While one offense is likely a sign that there is more, there should be additional levels of punishment each time the woman is caught with the drug. This could potentially divert her from committing the offense more than once. The most challenging aspect of this question is figuring out how severely to punish the woman. Because the more she is punished, the more her child is likely to be punished. This brings up the question of at what point should the child be put into child protective custody.
Issue #17 Should schools drug test students?
Questions 19: Taking both sides into consideration, do you think that drug testing students is an effective drug prevention strategy? If you decide they are effective, do the negative effects that accompany them outweigh the positive ones?
I think this is a tough one. If it has been proven that drug testing at schools decreases the amount of drugs being used, then it should be considered a good option. If there is a decrease in the number of students participating in extracurricular activities, but there is a decrease in the number of students doing drugs, then I think it is important to decrease the amount of students who are doing drugs by having drug tests at the school. The office of national Drug Control Policy has already proven that the testing does reduce drug use, and it has shown that there isn’t a decrease to the number of students who are participating in extracurricular activities, (367).
While the goal of reducing drug use among students is a worthwhile goal, and one that should be pursued, the problem might not be at the point where there is the need for mandatory testing. This would cost a considerable amount of money to monitor the students to ensure they aren’t using. That’s a lot of drug tests. The money would likely be better spent by having security monitor the area to ensure drug dealing isn’t happening. Cutting off the drug supply would ensure that the students aren’t using the drugs, and this would make the use of drug testing pointless. Instead of dealing with drug use after it is done, a better outcome would be to deal with it before it starts.
It should also be pointed out that there is no proof that drug testing will ensure that students aren’t using drugs. Many students will continue to use drugs, and many won’t care about the consequences of being kicked out of school, for example. Furthermore, if the punishment is being kicked out of school, then it should be questioned whether that is a better consequence than simply allowing the students’ parents to monitor them. Condemning a student that is passing all their grades, or even excelling in their classes is tantamount setting a student up for failure.
This is why it is important, before deciding whether to use drug tests to monitor students, to decide what the punishment will be if a student is caught using. Presumably, many schools would take the suspension route or the student would be expelled, but this doesn’t really address the issue, it only punishes the student. This isn’t often a way to help the students because they will likely feel that there is a greater divide between the school and with themselves, and this could increase their feeling of being alone and exacerbate their drug problem.
For these reasons, I have come to the conclusion that students should not be tested for drug consumption. However, if a student can continually prove that they are not willing to stop using drugs, then they should be tested before being allowed back in school. This will show the student that they must behave if they are to be welcomed. Testing all students would cost too much and it would damage relationships that the school has with their students. Not all students who occasionally do drugs should be punished. Some students could be high achievers, but gave into peer pressure during a weekend party. The student shouldn’t be reprimanded because of this mistake. This will only act to divide the relationship between the student and the school. Students should instead be included in a positive school environment that is built on trust. And they should only be subject to testing if the student has broken that trust.