Enormous amounts of money generated in drug trade makes it appear the most risky and lucrative unlawful business. Illicit drug trades have been used to boost and fund terrorist and mafia outfits by promoting illegal arm trades through the black markets. Drug abuse, trafficking and trade have been a national challenge in the United States for quite a long time, but it is currently getting worse. After realizing this, the national narcotics leadership act of 1988 established the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) which because functional in January 1989.
This program is obligated with coordinating and developing the objectives and policies of the federal government programs for minimizing the use and deal with illicit drugs, counter drug related health consequences and drug related violence and crime (Inciardi, 2000, p. 34). The director of ONDPC is cha5ged with the responsibility of producing national drug control strategy for directing the nations anti drug efforts and establishing budgets, programs and provid9ng guidelines for increased corporation among local entities, state and the federal governance.
By legislation, the director coordinates, evaluates and oversees domestic and international domestic anti drug efforts belonging to the executive branch agencies and make sure that the efforts complement and sustain local and state anti drug activities. In the United States, the director of the above program is commonly referred as the drug czar. This is because of his or her mandate of advising the president on changes within the organization, personal of federal agencies, budgeting and management, all of which are vital considerations impacting on the nations anti drug efforts.
The director is also a member of the cabinet council on counter narcotics and the national Security Council (Radine, 2007, p. 14). Within the ONDCP’s structural framework, priorities are accorded to prevention, treatment, international initiatives, interdiction and domestic law enforcement against drugs. The organization presumes that chronic and hard core drug use or consumption is a disease which requires immediate treatment. It thus seeks to create balance between treatment of an addictive disease and sanctions for drug related criminal activities.
Objectives of this organization include reversing the upwards trend in drug use and at the same time searching for ways of empowering communities to address their drug related problems or challenges. It implements and develops initiatives attempting to prevent use of illicit drugs by young people and any other high risk population. In addition, it emphasizes of the vitality of effective and strong law enforcement efforts supported by serious sanctions against drug offenders and criminals.
For domestic law enforcements, key priorities include arrest, imprisonment of drug traffickers, prosecution, investigation, and seizure of drug dealing organizational assets and dismantling and disruption of drug trafficking organizations. It attacks drug trafficking organizations at all levels; from drug kingpin up to street corner dealer by use of careful and legislative coordination of federal, state and local law enforcement initiatives (Acker, 2004, p. 21). On the international scene, this organization considers interdiction as important element of national drug policy.
It ensures corporation with other states with an aim of attacking drug production facilities, building and expanding their law enforcement institutions, dismantling drug trafficking organization and interdicting shipment in both source and transit countries. The office of demand reduction supports ONDCP by undertaking and overseeing activities of drug treatment, reduction of drug demand, drug education, drug prevention and efforts concerning rehabilitation of the addicted persons.
The office of demand reduction also conduct research activities on drug use and demand, thus periodically convening expert panels for state of the art approaches assessments in bids to reduce drug demands. To ensure firm support to ONDCP still, the office of supply reduction was put in palace to reduce distribution, production and availability of illicit drugs in the United States of America and abroad. The local affairs of the state and the bureau of the state departments cooperate in coordinating agency relationships and outreach programs to both local and state levels of government agencies.
The central centre drug enforcement research and development organization is owned by the federal government and is known as The Counter Drug Technology Assessment Centre. It struggles to point out the technological and scientific needs of the local, state and federal law enforcement agencies (Mccann, 2004, p. 11). In September 2006, ONDCP reported that a survey of 67, 500 persons discovered 8. 1% using a form of illicit drug, thirty days before the survey. This equaled an approximation of 19. 7 million people nationwide. The mostly affected age bracket was twelve and above.
This percentage has been on the rise since 2004. In 2008, the same office reported that the actual youth drug abuse declined from 19. 4% to 14. 8% among high school and middle class students between 2001 and 2008. So far, the national youth anti drug media campaign is the most visible and conspicuous indicator of federal governments drug prevention commitment. The campaign invests $7 million per annum to measure the performance and hence determine effectiveness of the campaign. It is a campaign all over the nation aimed at working, planning and changing drug attitudes, use and intentions.
In 2002, a multiyear research was performed to determine youth’s exposure to federal ant drug ads. The research firm argued that the campaign was not effective in responding to teenager’s scenario. As a control measure suggested by the research firm, funding for the ads was to be cut from 2002 to 2003 from $170 million to $150 million respectively. The firm also created new advertising campaign for teenager’s sake. In February 2005, the national institute on dug abuse and ONCPB hired affirm to investigate the success of the government in dissuading teens from using marijuana.
According to this firm, it was hard to reverse the trend because of increased perception among the teens that other people use marijuana. The campaign was also associated with weak anti drug norms and values (Van, 2005, p. 15). One of the areas in the United States that has been most hit by drug problems is Mexico. Narcotics trafficking in Latin America, spiraling drug violence in Mexico and thriving opium trade in Afghanistan have been said to be significant and potential national security threats to the United States as stated by the Obama administration.
The state department carried annual survey of global counter narcotic efforts and concluded by grim painting Mexicans situation. In Mexico, the efforts of the government have been hindered by rampant corruption. In 2008, battle between drug cartels and authorities killed more than 6000 people, and has so far killed more than 1000 in 2009. Mexico serves as the main cocaine entering point to the United States and it is also the major source of methamphetamine, marijuana and heroin consumed in America.
Several reports have praised the president of Mexico, Felipe Calderon for his unprecedented and courageous steps in combating drug trade, but keenly recommended that corruption plaques all efforts dealing with the vice. The situation in Mexico has been classified as a challenge to both the American government and Mexican administration. This is because the so anticipated success of the president fuels violence surge because drug lords are battling for control of Mexican security forces.
Because of this controversy, chilling assessments have been done, suggesting that Mexican drug trafficking organizations are efficient at using violence as psychological weapon to intimidate the general public, rival groups and the political leaders (Mishler, 1999, p. 17). The happenings in Mexico have spilled to the United States with increasing kidnappings and contract killings in America done by Mexican drug cartels. America has for two consecutive years qualified to obtain the maximum worldwide seizure of cocaine in 2007 and 2008, capturing 81% of the total.
24% of this cocaine was seized in North America, 45% in South America and the rest in various parts of the nation. Through this seizure, it was noted that South America is the main centre for cocaine production, with North America acting as its market. In global seizures, Caribbean and Central America accounted for only 11% because they act as transit roots. In 2006, 52% of cocaine was smuggled to North America through Mexico by sea, 30% by air and 18% by land. This drug is brought into Mexico from Central America by land and by air from Venezuela.
Although several nations have taken stringent measures either collectively or individually, there is apparent increase of the drug problem. It sounds imperative to form international agencies to implement control measures and monitor the progress made by various nations. Indispensability should however be left within the national governments. Discoveries have been made that states that developed and enhanced drug control initiatives have not eliminated the vice, but simply shifted trafficking operations to weak jurisdictions. This has been frequently observed in Latin America, also characterized by international interdiction cases.
Like the case of America, the focus has been shifted from drug interdiction to harm reduction. Many economies hold that if drug consumption declines, production and profit of the respective organizations would be affected, and thus pose a challenge to the national economy. To spare the economy, states concentrate on spreading drug awareness within individuals and instilling offender’s reformation. Because it is an important source of revenue, it has been observed that illicit drug trade is state sponsored. It is advisable that all nations recognize this as a global disaster and join efforts in finding a solution (Inciardi, 2000, p.
34). Generally, efforts to minimize illicit drugs flow into America have not yet succeeded. The world has also witnessed a dramatic growth of production of these drugs in the past decade. Coca production has tripled with marijuana and opium production doubling. In the past twenty years, street prices of heroin and cocaine have significantly fallen, reflecting increase in availability. The major concern for the Americans and possibly the whole world is the extend to which international narcotics control program can help reduce the consumption of the stuff.
Inherent contradictions have been witnessed within policy goals, anti drug policy and other national concerns in the United States. It has been felt that pursuit of the goals can affect foreign policy interests, bring economic dislocation and political instability to the nation, where narcotics are entrenched socially and economically. US’s systems facilitating international movement of wealth, people and goods coupled with drug supply interdiction programs are all at odds.
To save the situation in the United States, international narcotic policies are required to incorporate efforts in both foreign and domestic goals, with unified commitment for drug control (Radine, 2007, p. 14). The drug policy in the United States has experienced series of disputes between and within executive and legislative branches. This forms a mix of competing international and domestic pressures and priorities. This tussle has led to a rise of a very contentious issue; the congressionally mandated certification process.
This is an instrument inducing specific drug exporting nations to prioritize or pay extra attention to the war on narcotic businesses. Lack of harmonious efforts to deal with drug problems in the United States has risked lives of many. More than 13 million Americans have been monitored to purchase illicit drugs frequently, spending over $160 billion per annum in a fragmented and diverse criminal market. The drugs dealt with vary in the degree of injury to judgment, health, productivity and general well being of the society using them.
Economic costs experienced by US government because of drug abuse are estimated at $110 billion per annum. Because of their high price, addictive nature and illegality, these drugs promote halfway street crimes in the United States. Illicit drugs market provides big profits that ensure growth of international criminal organizations and thus affecting local neighborhoods national governments and legitimate businesses (Acker, 2004, p. 21). Efforts to reduce drug problems in the United States should be two fold; reduction of supply and reduction of demand.
Demand reduction is ensured through treatment to cure addiction, through education to prevent dependence and through measures to increase risk and prices of apprehension at consumer level. Supply should be reduced by introducing programs to destabilize cartels operation of illicit drugs and also linking to political power to seize businesses, products and financial assets. To show commitment, United States is carrying out a major interdiction campaign on its high seas, at production sites, at ports entry, on its borders and along major foreign transshipment routes.
12% of federal drug control budget is spending on border interdiction whereas 6% is spending on international assistance programs. United States should also strengthen its application of sanctions against drug producers or traffickers. Serious sanctions should be applied such as curtailing air transport and suspending US foreign assistance (Mccann, 2004, p. 11). Currently, a law has been struck for the president to present a list to the congress comprising of nations acting as production or transit sites and entitled to receive US trade benefits, economic benefits and foreign aid.
After assessment by the congress, the president can now be certified to stop foreign aid or any other benefit to drug trafficking nations. In the above coverage of discussions, it is clearly visible that most of efforts applied by the United States in dealing with drug problems have not succeeded. Barriers to success lie within the nation itself and external environment. Social, economic and political conditions have limited these efforts. This does not mean the nation should seek national strategies to combat it, but should incorporate and coordinate very diverse strategies.
Such diversity should mention and take care of political, economical and social conditions of the nation itself and the rest of the world in general. Harmony can only be arrived at if every one involved feels considered. If harmony prevails in the United States and in its relation with the rest of the world, then a solution to drug problems will come (Van, 2005, p. 15). Reference: Acker Caroline, 2004. Altering American consciousness: History of alcohol in United States. Massachusetts; University of Massachusetts press, p. 21 Inciardi James, 2000.
Handbook of drug control in the United States. London; Greenwood press, p. 34 Mccann Carole, 2004. Birth control politics in the United States, 1916-1945. Cornell; Cornell University press, p. 11 Mishler Paul, 1999. Raising reds: Communist political culture in the United States. Columbia; Columbia University press, p. 17 Radine Lawrence, 2007. The taming of the troops: Social control in the United States Army. London; Greenwood press, p. 14 Van Charles, 2005. Concentration and control: A solution of trust problems. London; The Macmillan company, p. 15