Drug abuse is a problem in all parts of the world. The USA and Canada are not exceptional, and the two countries are facing very high levels of drug abuse. It is argued that the USA has the highest rates of incineration that is related to drug abuse. In the case of Canada, the country has been in the spotlight of the international organizations such as the UN due to the rising trend in the exports as well as abuse of illicit drugs such as marijuana. Canada has also been associated with the growing use of methamphetamine. Most importantly, these trends prevail in the presence of laws that control the use of illegal drugs in both countries. The paper compares Canadian and US drug laws.
Discussion of the Issue
The abuse of marijuana in the USA is also significantly high. Addiction is seen as one of the most significant problems in the country with more than 40 million people above 12 years being addicted (Sederer, 2015). This number is higher compared to the amount of people who suffer from other diseases such as cancer. There are 80 million Americans who are abusing risky substances such as alcohol and tobacco, but they are not yet addicted. The statistics reveal that almost half of the people who are incarcerated are in prisons because of drug-related offenses. There are almost 4 million people in the US who are on probation. 25 percent of the respondents were found to be charged with drug related charges (Prisons, Jails, and People Arrested for Drugs). Approximately 850 thousand people were on parole in 2013, and almost 32 percent had been charged with drug-related offenses.
The students and the teenagers are not spared from the menace of drug addiction. The cases of drug abuse are on the rise, and the effects are already being felt (United Nations Office on Drugs, & Crime, 2006). The cases of impaired driving arising from the abuse of drugs have been on the rise despite the existence of a law that allowed the police to conduct tests on drivers (Brennan, 2012). In 2011, only the reported drug-related cases comprised 113 300 violations with most of the offenders being associated with marijuana abuse (Summary of results for 2013). The drug-related offenses are still rising. Due to the data of 2011, cases of drug possession have been on the rise. More than 125 thousand Canadians are using drugs such as heroin and cocaine.
A comparison of the data from the US and Canada shows that the United States have higher rates of drug abuse. It is important to note that the US is larger than Canada, and the statistics of the drug abuse may be significantly lower than the rate when compared to Canada taken in the same proportions.
In the case of the USA, the fight against drug usage and trafficking takes a multidisciplinary approach between the law enforcers and other organizations which help rehabilitate the drug addicts. The main organization that is charged with the responsibility of combating the use of illegal drugs is the Drug Enforcement Agency. The USA enjoys the service of more than 4400 officers who work for the DEA. The officers make arrests, and they work with the judicial system where they bring the individuals who are charged with the crimes to face justice. The Drug courts also work in collaboration with other institutions to ensure that individuals who are addicted are helped so that they can start a meaningful life. The DEA arrests more than 30 thousand people every year due to drug-related crimes. The USA has also intensified its struggle against drugs by engaging in regional collaboration with countries such as Mexico since drug trafficking poses a significant challenge to America. The USA is also guided by federal and state laws which help bring to the court individuals who have committed drug crimes. Specifically, the federal laws impose strict penalties such as imprisonments and forfeiture of personal property when an individual commits certain drug offenses.
The USA war on drugs has changed over the years. The history of resolving the issue of drug abuse can be traced to 1971 when Nixon declared drug abuse as a serious problem that was facing the USA. It is at that time that acts on the drug and other substances’ production and usage were established. The DEA was also formed two years later with the sole purpose of fighting against drug abuse and trafficking. Today, laws on the drug have been changed, and there are very strict penalties and punishments. In addition, the USA has also made a step further in helping drug addicts to change so as to reduce the rates of incineration.
In Canada, there are some measures that have been applied to combat the drug abuse. The law that guides the actions taken to resolve the issue of drug abuse and offenses is the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. Canada has also taken the issue of drug abuse as a serious problem, and it has developed a strong strategy to fight the problem. It has promoted health education and public awareness (Fischer, Rehm, Patra& Cruz, 2006). It has also focused on rehabilitation and harm control. In addition to these efforts, Canada also passed a law that allows the police to conduct drug tests on drivers.
The strategy applied in Canada is different from those applied in the USA. The Canadian system focuses more on rehabilitation and awareness so as to reform the affected individuals. There is also mandatory testing for drivers to avert dangers arising from driving under drug influence (Degenhardt & Hall, 2012). Although the USA has strong institutions, the federal legislation does not fully cover the issue of drugs since every state has its own laws regarding drug abuse.
The most important aspect that the USA can learn from Canada is that the country should not only focus on establishing strict laws that will lead many youths to jail. However, they should make greater efforts in rehabilitating and creating awareness as a way of ensuring that the individuals who were abusing drugs have recovered. On the other hand, the USA can also focus on preventing the use of drugs through awareness.
Canada can also learn much from the US policies. The US federal laws have very strict rules on penalties that are applied to people who abuse drugs or those who engage in drug trafficking. For example, the federal laws require individuals to forfeit their property if they commit some drug offenses.
The issue of drug abuse is a problem that is affecting many people. The USA leads a fierce struggle with the cases of drug offenses. A large percentage of inmates in the federal prisons are people who have committed drug-related crimes. Canada also faces the same challenges with very high rates of drug abuse. Canada has been making much effort on resolving the problem by focusing on rehabilitation and education. The USA can learn a lot from Canadian system where it can adopt measures that are preventive. Canada can also learn more from the USA where it can approve more strict laws.