Free Heroin Abuse Effects, Legal Control and Its Efficiency Essay Sample


The problem of drug addiction is one of the most serious issues of the contemporary civilized societies. Due to its natural characteristics, heroin develops strong addiction and deteriorates the quality of life leading to adverse health effects of an addict. Nowadays, it is scientifically approved that heroin is a drug that leads to diverse physical and psychological health disorders. For this reason, the government introduces different legal initiatives directed toward the control of the distribution of this substance. The analysis of one of the laws related to the prevention of heroin spread and use among the population of the State of New York allows stating that it is a non-efficient measure of protecting the health and well-being of its population. Therefore, it requires significant improvement that takes into account the major means of drug trafficking and distribution and the possibility of reduction of the stigma of drug addicts that would stimulate their engagement with addiction recovery programs.

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The Scientific Research of the Problem

Heroin is a subject of different scientific investigations that approve its adverse health effects in relation to various organs and health systems including brain development and psychic deviations. One of such works reveals various psychopathological effects of heroin addiction. According to the authors, drug addiction is caused by mood, anxiety and impulse-control dysregulation causing strong psychopathological dependence. As a result, scholars presume that Heroin Use Disorder differs from other disorders of the human mentality. The field investigation of the problem revealed that the category of heroin addicts more frequently develop diverse psychopathologies due to the adverse effect of Heroin Use Disorder. Therefore, specific social and legal initiatives directed toward preventing its consumption are critical as the decrease of the cases of first consumption of the drug reduce the number of drug addicts accordingly.

Scholarly investigations approve that heroin consumption drastically affects the psychic and health condition of a drug addict. The drug has a devastating effect on the body of its consumer ranging from wounds to pulmonary edema, myocardial infarction and other pathologies. The drug consumers consider the different use of heroin in terms of non-injecting routes of administration harmful. However, snorting and swallowing heroin is as dangerous as its injections and provokes not only the damage of lung tissue but an acute respiratory distress syndrome. Therefore, heroin consumption drastically deteriorates the health condition of a patient and decreases his or her average length of life due to the accumulated injuries and diseases.

Heroin consumption is often associated with high levels of death among drug addicts, which is why mortality is another adverse effect of heroin that requires legal consideration. For instance, Maurer et al. argue that heroin addicts are endangered by a perspective to develop a fatal anaphylaxis after drug exposure. The reason for this is the rapid increase of allergic mediators such as histamine, which allow stating that heroin is somewhat similar to such triggers of anaphylaxis as venom and specific food and medications. The danger of anaphylaxis is that this process affects multiple organs and body systems restraining their normal function. For instance, the immunological and non-immunological mechanisms of a body lead to the development of an allergic reaction that affects the skin, respiratory and gastrointestinal tracts, and the nervous system. In this sense, the danger of heroin consumption is that it leads to a dangerous increase of the level of histamine that led to the development of symptoms such as itching, peripheral vasodilatation and asthmatic attacks after the use of opioids. Similarly, inhalation of heroin leads to the development of other syndromes that potentially lead to coma and death. Such pathologies include pulmonary edema, injury of myocard, and rhabdomyolysis. In this respect, scholars claim that at least 7.5% of deaths related to heroin in Stockholm involved the cases of non-pareternal administration. Although some lethal effect of heroin does not have a direct correlation with the mortality in drug addicts heroin use requires consideration as a potential risk factor leading to mortality.

Furthermore, heroin consumption is associated with specific psychic deviations and development of antisocial behavioral patterns that endanger not only heroin addicts but their families, friends and the general population. Heroin dependent individuals experience euphoria but the effect of withdrawal of the substance from the blood stimulates the evolvement of affective disturbances and disorders. Therefore, the socio-emotional sphere of a heroin addict is gradually damaged by the adverse effects of the substance. Overall, individuals that use heroin regularly experience high levels of anxiety and stress that dampen after acute heroin administration. As a result, in the case a drug addict lacks a dose of heroin he or she loses the control of the emotions and adequacy of moral judgment.

Driven by heroin addiction, individuals are more likely to commit crimes in the search for the money to buy the required dose of the drug. One of the reasons for this is that experienced as sadness and anger, heroin craving changes the behavioral patterns of the subjects that tend to be irritable and depressed. For this reason, heroin addicts tend to commit criminal acts when seeking the money for obtaining their next dose of the drug. Therefore, heroin addiction is harmful not only to separate individuals but the whole society as drug addicts endanger the well-being of the community. Consequently, heroin storage and distribution requires a strict legal control for the protection of the citizens health and peaceful life.

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Legal Control of Heroin

The legal control of the use of heroin is associated with a system of restrictions related to the production and distribution of heroin and punishments for their violation. Scholars claim that these initiatives were one of the many others that had a goal of changing the American society and were described as the war on drugs. The reason for declaring such was that the officials recognized the social danger coming from the drugs too late as they failed to reveal their roots and pathways of distribution. Coming from African American and Puerto Rican drug sellers and prostitution, heroin and marijuana use led to initial misinterpretation of the social practices of drug users. Thus, disregarding the fact that the officials attempted to combat drug trafficking at the borders of the country it has already been spread in different cities. Therefore, Congress declared the war on drugs and accepted the Boggs Act of 1951 and the Narcotics Control Act of 1956. These initiatives were partially irrelevant although they doubled the sentences for heroin sellers. Along with it, the positive effect of the laws was that the drug selling to minors led to a lifetime imprisonment or death penalty.

The initiatives of Congress toward the control and prevention of trafficking and use of heroin were far from successful, which is why additional legal projects were designed. One of them is the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, which is an advanced legal initiative that enhances the Harrison Narcotic Act accepted in 1914. The legal initiative of drug control exchanged all soft punishments into hard ones and was described by President Nixon as an attempt to save lives of hundreds of thousands of our young people. The instant effect of the initiative was the aggravation of the urban control of drugs and the detection of heroin trade markets. According to this law, heroin was recognized as a federally controlled substance that fell under a category of a Schedule I drug, which signified that it has no medical value but led to abuse. The laws regulating the distribution of heroin differ from state to state but all of them are associated with long imprisonment and fines. For example, the law Penal 220, et seq.; Pub. Health 3306-3307 regulates the aspects of possession and sale of heroin in the state of New York. According to it, possession of heroin is classified ranging from Class A misdemeanor to Class A, B, D felony depending on the amount of possessed substance. The legal initiative allows controlling the use of heroin and preventing crimes associated with it.

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The Analysis of the Legal Control Initiative

The analysis of the legal control of heroin use, possession and distribution in the State of New York demonstrates that the above mentioned legal initiative is non-efficient. This claim is connected with the failure of the officials to end the declared war on drugs reaching the established goal of elimination of drug markets. According to Dickinson and Nadelmann, after 45 years, more than $1 trillion wasted ... America still lacks the political will to change its failed drug policy. In this respect, President Barack Obama recognized that a drug overdose epidemic is killing approximately 30,000 Americans on the annual basis with opioid deaths being statistically prevalent. A specific accent of the Presidents speech was on the fact that financial expenditures were irrelevant in the case there was an inadequate legal framework of drug control in the country. One of the failures that partially explained the issue was that there was no legal initiative directed toward the reduction of social stigma toward drug addicts. As a result, it was officially recognized that the formerly designed policies and practices were failed as they did not involve opioid addicts into recovery processes but overfilled federal drug prisons. Therefore, along with the Controlled Substances Act, the local drug control law for the State of New York has also been irrelevant.

The reasons for the failure of the laws directed against drug trafficking and distribution include the failure to recognize the source of the problem, the pathways of distribution and the need for fighting with the social stigma. Thus, disregarding the attempts to stimulate the addicts toward engaging them with the addiction recovery programs the policy-makers concentrated on punishments. For these reasons, experts still recognize heroin as the major problem of the state of New York and the New York City in the particular. More than that. New York is characterized as one of the main markets for heroin distribution, which indicates that the legal initiatives directed toward the restriction of these illegal actions are insufficient. Similarly, the statistic of heroin induced hospitalizations and emergency department visits in the state has increased. For instance, the number of emergency department visits caused by heroin in Albany County excluding New York City rose from 3240 cases in 2015 to 4752 cases in 2016 whereas the number of hospitalizations rose from 619 in 2015 to 757. Therefore, the legal initiatives related to heroin control require significant improvement as their contemporary editions are far from being effective.


Summarizing the presented fact, the paper concludes that the effect of Controlled Substances Act and Penal 220, et seq.; Pub. Health 3306-3307 in the State of New York is not effective and they require improvement. The reasons for this assumption include the increased ratio of heroin-induced hospitalizations, the lack of policies directed toward the reduction of stigma toward drug addicts and their poor engagement with heroin addiction recovery programs. The researchers approve that heroin develops strong psychological addiction supported by specific psychopathological changes. The negative effects from heroin range from a headache and depression to myocardial infarction, heart block, renal failure and other. However, one of the gravest outcomes of consumption of this drug is a fatal anaphylaxis that leads to mortality. Another problem is that driven by psychopathological and behavioral changes, heroin addicts are more inclined to commit drug-related crimes. As a result, heroin consumption endangers not only drug addicts but the society overall. The analysis of the legal attempts to combat the use of heroin demonstrates that the policy-makers recognized its complex adverse effects too late. As a result, the major part of drug-control laws has been inefficient. Thus, disregarding the war on drugs and the designed legal initiatives to control the trafficking and use of heroin in the State of New York, the increasing statistic of heroin-related emergency health issues in Albany County demonstrates that they lack efficacy and require improvement.


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