The legal system which has been put into place to operatehow drug laws are enforced is very strict and severe consequences are there ifsomeone does chooses to violate. Similarly, the police help lot with these lawsbeing enforced by making sure that whoever isn’t agreeing with the laws of thecountry, is dealt accordingly.
This could result in a fine, prison time orsimply a certain amount of hours doing community service.The police and the legal system relating to drug lawenforcement operate with the help of ‘The Misuse of Drugs Act 1971’. Because ofthis act, all drugs are put into categories which are known to be ‘controlled’substances. This categories are known as Class A, B and C, A being the mostharmful to the health and the society.
Under the misuse act, anyone who is inpossession of a controlled substance , has the intentions to supply acontrolled substance or allows the use of the premises to manage drug takingare all offences and would be charged according to what drug it was. Alongsidehaving an act put into place to keep people safe, crimestoppers has ananonymous phone number to call if anyone has any information about drugdealers. By doing so, they’re trying to put away anyone who has any associateswith drugs and making sure everyone else is safe. Another way policing and the legal systems operate inpractice within the drug law enforcement is by having enforcement agencies. Forexample, one agency called ‘The Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA),concentrates ‘on the so called “Mr Bigs”.
These are people who make a lot ofmoney through drugs, major frauds and human trafficking. This agency is ledwith law enforcement powers and responsibilities which are not harmful topeople and the communities b serious organised crimes. Another agency is verywell known and has been protecting the community for a very long time and thatis our very own police squads. The police help the government by enforcing thelaws that are on controlled drugs set by the misuse of drugs act. They alsotackle crimes related to drugs, such as possession of illegal substances. Thepolice are also in charge of doing stop and searches on anyone that the thinkis guilty of possession of drugs and with an arrest warrant, they are alsoallowed to make arrests. The prison squad is also part of the police squadwhich is then responsible to make sure that no inmates smuggle drugs into theprisons.
They are able to succeed in this with the help of search techniques,making the inmates take a drug test and also with the help of the most trustfuldevice, the CCTV (closed circuit television). There are manyorganisations around recently that are trying to help people with their drug problemsand ways to avoid it and also try and avoid jail time. Other organisations havehelp victims who are addicted to drugs and help them get over this addiction.
Releaseis an organisation that that is full of expertise on drugs and drug laws. The team is set up in a way so that peopletrust them so much as they provide non-judgemental and specialist advicerelating to drugs and the uses of it. They are only able to give an excellentservice to their clients because they have all been through the experience. Bythis they are promoting evidence based drug policies which are from publichealth rather than a criminal justice approach. Like every organisation,release also believes that people who have fallen into the drug tap should betreated with their human rights still intact.
Drug law organisations provide a lot of services for thepeople who genuinely need help. A lawyer is there to help those who areaddicted to drugs, and also for those who are suffering with social welfare sofor example those who are on benefits, those who are homeless, and those withdebt issues. Working in an organisation, you find out much more than any mediaoutlet and any news stories. For example Niamh Eastwood from the organisationRelease mentioned how problematic drug use is amongst everyone and not just thepoor. However the rich are just better at hiding it. Even though this has to beobvious because we see it all the time on celebrities overdosing on drugs.However because poor people lack economically, it is seen much worse when theyspend all their money on drugs. Getting involved with drugs can affect a person severely,mentally, emotionally and physically.
This is why organisations provide peoplewith counselling services. These sessions are seen as very beneficial to theindividuals themselves, as well as their families. The counselling sessionscould be about the victims’ personal life, where they talk about their emotionsad thoughts.
There is also relationship counselling which is mainly aimed atfamilies to help them understand each other and their emotions and thoughts.Lastly, there is a counselling session for groups who have all experienced orbeen through the same problems or have a similar history. This way they can goto a confidential area and just speak about their thoughts and emotions withouthaving the fear of being judged since everyone has been in that very similarsituation. Having group sessions is an excellent way of trying to help thevictims without adding too much pressure on them. For example someone could bevery scared to open up to someone with higher authority, scared to be judged,but because with the group counselling, everyone has been on the same exactboat and has been through the same exact situation which makes them verycomfortable of their surrounding people. Even though the policing and the legal systems relating todrug law enforcements operate very strictly, they are still very inconsistent.
This is because some very harmful substances are still legal and freelyavailable and drugs which do not cause much harm to the body or the environmentare illegal. For example, the founder of the organisation ‘Release’, NiamhEastwood, stated how alcohol is actually far more dangerous and harmful thanheroin, yet alcohol is legal and heroin isn’t. Alcohol doesn’t cause much harmto the body but when an individual is intoxicated, he is not aware of hissurrounding and may be harmful to the environment and society. However, heroinis illegal because people assume that is it very dangerous and it can mess withyour internal organs. Whereas, what they don’t know is that heroin can onlyharm the internal organs if it is injected and it gets into the bloodstream.This is very dangerous, but if the drug is smoked then the dangers of it aredecreased significantly. However, there is no actual way alcohol can reduce itsdangers unless there is a limit on how much an individual can drink. Another thing that Eastwood mentioned is how the punishmentsfor crack cocaine and cocaine is very different.
Even though these two drugs donot have much difference, because of the fact that crack cocaine allows you toget high quicker, it is seen as more dangerous. As well as that, if someone iscaught with crack cocaine, the punishment they will get would be 10 times morethan what they would get if they were only caught with cocaine. The punishmentsfor cocaine are severe though because it is so easy to get cocaine that ismixed with other chemicals or drugs that could be dangerous for someone. Alsoif the cocaine is 100% pure, it could harm the user, however, if the governmentmakes cocaine legal, it would have the resources and the power to make thisdrug safe. By doing this, the risk of health and crime would be reduceddrastically. Sir Ian Gilmore, a president of the Royal college ofphysicians who has now stepped down from his post, mentioned back in 2010 thatdecriminalising drug use could radically and significantly reduce the crimerate as well as improve health rates.
This is because he mentioned how lockingvictims in prisons because of their misuse of drugs would not improve anythingand those addicted will still remain addicts. He mentions how the laws that areon the misuse of drugs should be regulated and the supplies should also becontrolled. He came to this view after treating patients who were contaminatedby dirty needles ad drugs which had been contaminated. His view on regulatingdrugs and making sure the supplies and resources are clean would make healthimprove significantly. Sir Ian stated, “Everyday in our hospital wards we see drug addicts with infections from dirtyneedles, we see heroin addicts with complications from contaminated drugs.”However, the government did not think this was the correct approach and decidedto still keep these drugs illegal and made no change to the current druglaws.
In conclusionthere are many ways in which the police and the legal system operate inpractise in relation to the drug law enforcement. This could be from the helpof many different organisations and agencies. Organisations being there to helpout the criminals sort their life out and bring it back on track and providingthem with a lawyer to give them legal advices, such as ‘Release’.
Agenciesprovide more help and support the community by making sure everyone else issafe and locking up the criminals. These two have a very different approach onhandling things but they have the same purpose and that is to keep everyonesafe. Even though the agency to do with the police squad also has the purposeof trying to keep everyone safe, as Niamh Eastwood mentioned how they have beenresearching on how there racial inequality is amongst the police and drugs. Forexample a black person is 6 times more likely to be stopped and searched than awhite person even though from research it has been proven that black people usedrugs significantly less than the white population.
Another thing that wasmentioned was how if the black person des get arrested because of drugs, hewill be treated far more worse and harshly than a white person. Lastly, thepolice tend to do more stop and searches in less deprived areas and end upmaking more arrests, however the rich use as many drugs as the poor, but theyjust have the resources to hide it.