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Taking Sides : Clashing Views on Controversial Issues in Drugs and Society

Taking Sides : Clashing Views on Controversial Issues in Drugs and Society - 5th edition

Taking Sides : Clashing Views on Controversial Issues in Drugs and Society - 5th edition

ISBN13: 9780072484168

ISBN10: 0072484160

Taking Sides : Clashing Views on Controversial Issues in Drugs and Society by Raymond Goldberg - ISBN 9780072484168
Edition: 5TH 02
Copyright: 2002
Publisher: Dushkin Publishing Group, Inc.
International: No
Taking Sides : Clashing Views on Controversial Issues in Drugs and Society by Raymond Goldberg - ISBN 9780072484168

ISBN13: 9780072484168

ISBN10: 0072484160

Edition: 5TH 02

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This debate style reader is designed to introduce students to controversies in drug use and misuse in contemporary society. The readings, which represent the arguments of leading social scientists, health care professionals, and social commentators, reflect a variety of viewpoints, and are formatted into a "pro" and "con" framework.

Author Bio

Goldberg, Raymond : State University of New York at Cortland

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

PART 1. Drugs and Public Policy

ISSUE 1. Should Drugs Be Legalized?

YES: Ethan A. Nadelmann, from "Commonsense Drug Policy", Foreign Affairs
New! NO: Eric A. Voth, from "America's Longest `War,'" The World & I
Ethan A. Nadelmann, director of the Lindesmith Center, maintains that the war on drugs has been futile and counterproductive. He feels that drug abstinence cannot be achieved through legal mandates and that a pragmatic approach is needed. Eric A. Voth, chairman of the International Drug Strategy Institute, contends that the war on drugs is not a failure and that legalizing drugs would worsen drug-related problems. Voth maintains that a restrictive yet compassionate approach toward drug use is the best policy to adopt.

ISSUE 2. Should the United States Put More Emphasis on Stopping the Importation of Drugs?

New! YES: Barry R. McCaffrey, from The National Drug Control Strategy: 2001 Annual Report
NO: Mathea Falco, from "U.S. Drug Policy: Addicted to Failure", Foreign Policy
Barry R. McCaffrey, former director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, argues that the importation of drugs must be stopped to reduce drug use and abuse. If the supply of drugs being trafficked across American borders is reduced, then there will be fewer drug-related problems. He maintains that a coordinated international effort is needed to combat the increased production of heroin, cocaine, and marijuana. Mathea Falco, president of Drug Strategies, a nonprofit policy institute, asserts that the emphasis should not be on curtailing the availability of drugs but on factors that contribute to Americans' use of drugs. She contends that blaming other countries for drug-related problems in the United States is one way for politicians to deflect criticism from themselves. Moreover, she argues, people involved in the drug trade in other countries have little incentive to end their involvement.

New! ISSUE 3. Will a Lower Blood Alcohol Level for Drunk Driving Reduce Automobile Accidents?

New! YES: Ralph W. Hingson, Timothy Heeren, and Michael R. Winter, from "Preventing Impaired Driving", Alcohol Research & Health
New! NO: General Accounting Office, from "How Effective Are `.08' Drunk-Driving Laws?" Consumers' Research
Ralph W. Hingson, Timothy Heeren, and Michael R. Winter, of the Boston University School of Public Health, support lowering the legal limit for drunk driving. They note that many states have had fewer alcohol-related automobile accidents after lowering the blood alcohol level for drunk driving. In addition, they contend that drivers are impaired with a relatively small amount of alcohol in their bloodstream. The General Accounting Office (GAO) states that the evidence supporting the beneficial effects of establishing a lower blood alcohol level for drunk driving is inconclusive. The GAO maintains that the government's methods for determining the effectiveness of instituting a lower blood alcohol level are faulty. Also, rates for drunk driving declined regardless of changes in the legal limits for blood alcohol level.

ISSUE 4. Should Needle Exchange Programs Be Supported?

YES: David Vlahov and Benjamin Junge, from "The Role of Needle Exchange Programs in HIV Prevention", Public Health Reports
NO: Office of National Drug Control Policy, from "Needle Exchange Programs: Are They Effective?" ONDCP Bulletin No. 7
In their review of various studies, professor of epidemiology and medicine David Vlahov and Benjamin Junge, evaluation director for the Baltimore Needle Exchange Program, found that needle exchange programs successfully reduced the transmission of the virus that causes AIDS. In addition, many people who participated in needle exchange programs reduced their drug use and sought drug abuse treatment. The Office of National Drug Control Policy, an executive agency that determines policies and objectives for the U.S. drug control program, sees needle exchange programs as an admission of defeat and a retreat from the ongoing battle against drug use, and it argues that compassion and treatment are needed, not needles.

ISSUE 5. Should Pregnant Drug Users Be Prosecuted?

YES: Paul A. Logli, from "Drugs in the Womb: The Newest Battlefield in the War on Drugs", Criminal Justice Ethics
New! NO: Drew Humphries, from Crack Mothers: Pregnancy, Drugs, and the Media Paul A . Logli , an Illinois prosecui g attorney, argues that it is the government's duty to enforce every child's right to begin life with a healthy, drug--freeminded and body. Logli maintains that pregnan two men who use drugs should be prosecuted because they may harm the life of their unborn children. He feels that it is the state's responsibility to ensure that every baby is born as healthy as possible . Researcher Drew Humpphries argues that the prosecution of women who use drugs while pregnant has resulted from overzealous efforts on the part of a handful of state prosecutors . Humphries asserts tha the prosecution of pregnant drug users is unfair because poor women are more likely to be the targets of such prosecution and that the secases do not hold up to legal standards.

New! ISSUE 6. Is Drug Addiction a Choice?

New! YES: Jeffrey A. Schaler, from Addiction Is a Choice
New! NO: Alice M. Young, from "Addictive Drugs and the Brain", National Forum
Psychotherapist Jeffrey A. Schaler maintains that drug addiction should not be considered a disease, a condition over which one has no control. Schaler states that diseases have distinct characteristics and that drug addiction does not share these characteristics. Classifying behavior as socially unacceptable does not prove that it is a disease, according to Schaler. Professor of psychology Alice M. Young points out that a small number of drugs produce pleasurable sensations in the brain, increasing the likelihood that drug-taking behavior will be repeated. In addition, tolerance and dependency may result when drugs are taken frequently. If tolerance develops, then the drug user must increase the dosage level to achieve the desired effect, increasing the possibility of dependency.

ISSUE 7. Is Harm Reduction a Desirable National Drug Control Policy Goal?

YES: Robert J. MacCoun, from "Toward a Psychology of Harm Reduction", American Psychologist
New! NO: Grazyna Zajdow, from "Harm Reduction for Whom?" Arena Magazine
Robert J. MacCoun, an associate professor in the Graduate School of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley, supports efforts to minimize problems associated with drugs. He states that a harm reduction approach will not resolve all drug problems, but he feels that reducing those problems is a desirable goal. Sociology professor Grazyna Zajdow questions a policy that strives to reduce the harm of drugs. She maintains that drug use will remain a serious health problem regardless of whether or not harm reduction is the goal. Zajdow contends that using methadone to help heroin addicts overcome their addiction is merely the replacement of one addiction for another.

PART 2. Drugs and Social Policy

New! ISSUE 8. Are the Adverse Effects of Smoking Exaggerated?

New! YES: Stephen Goode, from "Cato's Levy Challenges Federal Tobacco Myths", Insight on the News
New! NO: World Health Organization, from The World Health Report 1999: Making a Difference
Author Stephen Goode interviews Robert Levy, of the Cato Institute, who maintains that government statistics distort and exaggerate the dangers of cigarette smoking. Levy argues that smokers are less likely to eat nutritional meals or exercise and that many are poor and uneducated. Thus, factors besides smoking may contribute to the poor health and decreased longevity of many tobacco users. The World Health Organization's report on the increase in smoking delineates the health and economic expense of tobacco use throughout the world. The report indicates that one barrier to stemming smoking is a lack of information about the risks of tobacco use. The report also states that tobacco is addictive and that tobacco manufacturers are expanding because of the tremendous profits they make.

ISSUE 9. Should Marijuana Be Legal for Medicinal Purposes?

New! YES: Lester Grinspoon, from "Whither Medical Marijuana?" Contemporary Drug Problems
New! NO: James R. McDonough, from "Marijuana on the Ballot", Policy Review
Professor of psychiatry Lester Grinspoon argues that anecdotal evidence indicates that marijuana has medical benefits for patients suffering from chemotherapy nausea, AIDS, glaucoma, chronic pain, epilepsy, and migraine headaches. He asserts that the federal government is prohibiting its use without justification. James R. McDonough, director of the Florida Office of Drug Control, agrees that compounds in marijuana, such as THC, may have the potential to be medically valuable. However, smoked marijuana has not been proven to be of medicinal value. In addition, states McDonough, there are existing, approved drugs that are more effective for conditions that may be helped by marijuana use.

ISSUE 10. Should Doctors Promote Alcohol for Their Patients?

YES: Stanton Peele, from "Should Physicians Recommend Alcohol to Their Patients? Yes", Priorities
NO: Albert B. Lowenfels, from "Should Physicians Recommend Alcohol to Their Patients? No", Priorities
Psychologist Stanton Peele, an expert on alcoholism and addiction, asserts that physicians should recommend that their patients drink alcohol in moderate amounts. He maintains that numerous studies demonstrate the benefits of moderate alcohol use in reducing the risk of coronary heart disease, the leading cause of death in the United States. Albert B. Lowenfels, a professor at New York Medical College, contends that recommending moderate alcohol consumption is not prudent, especially since many people come from families with histories of alcohol abuse. He argues that it is inappropriate to extol the merits of moderate alcohol use to people who have abstained throughout their lives.

New! ISSUE 11. Do the Consequences of Caffeine Outweigh the Benefits?

New! YES: Nell Boyce, from "Storm in a Coffee Cup", New Scientist
New! NO: Editors of Choice, from "Caffeine Fix?" Choice
Writer Nell Boyce states that caffeine is more addictive than most people realize. Boyce maintains that caffeine not only causes dependency but also has a myriad of other effects. Caffeine raises blood pressure, a factor leading to heart disease, and there is also evidence that caffeine consumption during pregnancy involves some risk for the fetus. The editors of Choice magazine argue that many of the risks associated with moderate amounts of caffeine are exaggerated. They admit that caffeine produces some mild effects, such as dependence and high blood pressure. However, they maintain that the research showing that moderate caffeine use causes heart disease, osteoporosis, and cancer is inconclusive.

ISSUE 12. Are Too Many Children Receiving Ritalin?

YES: Richard Bromfield, from "Is Ritalin Overprescribed? Yes", Priorities
NO: Jerry Wiener, from "Is Ritalin Overprescribed? No", Priorities
Harvard Medical School professor Richard Bromfield contends that physicians are often too eager to prescribe Ritalin for children with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Bromfield is concerned that Ritalin's long-term effects have not been adequately researched and that its overuse may be masking other childhood disorders. George Washington Medical School professor Jerry Wiener maintains that Ritalin has been proven to be safe and effective. Wiener argues that attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder is underdiagnosed in many instances and that children who could benefit from the use of Ritalin often do not receive it.

New! ISSUE 13. Should Advertisements for Prescription Drugs Be Regulated?

New! YES: Matthew F. Hollon, from "Direct-to-Consumer Marketing of Prescription Drugs: Creating Consumer Demand", JAMA, The Journal of the American Medical Association
New! NO: Alan F. Holmer, from "Direct-to-Consumer Prescription Drug Advertising Builds Bridges Between Patients and Physicians", JAMA, The Journal of the American Medical Association
Matthew F. Hollon, a physician, maintains that doctors may compromise their judgment when patients insist on being given drugs that they see advertised in the media. He asserts that pharmaceutical manufacturers advertise directly to consumers to increase their profits, not to help patients. Alan F. Holmer, president of Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, contends that advertisements for prescription drugs serve to educate the consumer, that such advertisements provide a benefit to the public's health, and that patients are more likely to comply with treatment if they request it.

PART 3. Drug Prevention and Treatment

New! ISSUE 14. Should Nonsmokers Be Concerned About the Effects of Secondhand Smoke?

New! YES: John R. Garrison, from "Scientific Research Shows Overwhelmingly That Other People's Smoke Can Hurt You", Insight on the News
New! NO: J. B. Copas and J. Q. Shi, from "Reanalysis of Epidemiological Evidence on Lung Cancer and Passive Smoking", British Medical Journal
John R. Garrison, CEO of the American Lung Association, contends that evidence of adverse effects of secondhand smoke on nonsmokers is strong. He asserts that years of research clearly show that secondhand smoke is a factor in the development of lung cancer, heart disease, asthma, and respiratory infections. Statisticians J. B. Copas and J. Q. Shi argue that research demonstrating that passive smoking is harmful is biased. They argue that many journals are more likely to publish articles if passive smoking is shown to be deleterious and that the findings of many studies exaggerate the adverse effects of passive smoking.

ISSUE 15. Is Total Abstinence the Only Choice for Alcoholics?

YES: Thomas Byrd, from Lives Written in Sand: Addiction Awareness and Recovery Strategies
New! NO: Joseph Volpicelli and Maia Szalavitz, from Recovery Options: The Complete Guide
Professor of health Thomas Byrd maintains that Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) provides more effective treatment for alcoholics than psychiatrists, members of the clergy, or hospital treatment centers. Byrd contends that AA is the most powerful and scientific program, in contrast to all other therapies. Addiction treatment specialist Joseph Volpicelli and journalist Maia Szalavitz advocate a moderate drinking approach for individuals with drinking problems. They argue that abstinence may be counterproductive for many problem drinkers.

ISSUE 16. Is Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) an Effective Program?

YES: Michele Alicia Harmon, from "Reducing the Risk of Drug Involvement Among Early Adolescents: An Evaluation of Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE)", Evaluation Review
NO: Richard R. Clayton et al., from "DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education): Very Popular but Not Very Effective", in Clyde B. McCoy, Lisa R. Metsch, and James A. Inciardi, eds., Intervening With Drug-Involved Youth
Researcher Michele Alicia Harmon reports that Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) had a positive impact on fifth-grade students in terms of attitudes against substance abuse, assertiveness, positive peer association, association with drug-using peers, alcohol use within the previous year, and prosocial norms. Drug researchers Richard R. Clayton et al. maintain that despite DARE's popularity, it does not produce less drug use among its participants. They argue that the money that is spent by the federal government to fund DARE could be used for more effective drug prevention programs.

New! ISSUE 17. Should Employees Be Required to Participate in Drug Testing?

New! YES: Gillian Flynn, from "How to Prescribe Drug Testing", Workforce
New! NO: Leslie Kean and Dennis Bernstein, from "More Than a Hair Off", The Progressive
Gillian Flynn, a contributing editor to Workforce, argues that workplace drug testing has proven to be beneficial to companies with such a policy because the number of workers who test positive for drug use has declined. She also maintains that many accidents that occur at the workplace can be prevented if drug testing is implemented. Authors Leslie Kean and Dennis Bernstein oppose drug testing because many employees, especially African Americans, falsely test positive for drugs.

ISSUE 18. Does Drug Abuse Treatment Work?

YES: John B. Murray, from "Effectiveness of Methadone Maintenance for Heroin Addiction", Psychological Reports
NO: Robert Apsler, from "Is Drug Abuse Treatment Effective?" The American Enterprise
Psychology professor John B. Murray contends that drug abuse treatment, especially methadone maintenance, has been shown to reduce illegal opiate use, curtail criminal activity, and lower rates of HIV infection. Assistant professor of psychology Robert Apsler questions the effectiveness of drug abuse treatment and whether or not drug addicts would go for treatment if services were expanded.

ISSUE 19. Are Antidrug Media Campaigns Effective?

New! YES: Barry R. McCaffrey, from Investing in Our Nation's Youth: National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign: Phase II (Final Report)
NO: David R. Buchanan and Lawrence Wallack, from "This Is the Partnership for a Drug-Free America: Any Questions?" Journal of Drug Issues
Barry R. McCaffrey, former director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), argues that the attitudes and behaviors of young people regarding drug use are affected by antidrug media campaigns. He therefore supports the federal government's spending millions of dollars for antidrug public service announcements. David R. Buchanan, an assistant professor of community health studies, and professor of health education Lawrence Wallack argue that antidrug media campaigns are not only ineffective but may result in a backlash. They maintain that many drug-prevention messages are inaccurate, and they question the value of the scare tactics that are part of most antidrug announcements.