Different countries have different approaches to tackling drug abuse with Holland famously known fordecriminalizing drug use even for “hard” or Class 1 drugslike heroin ,and cocaine. While in the USA prisonsentences are usually meted out for drug possession and use, except for Hollywood celebrities.
In the USA there is also the glaring discrepancy in sentences for crack cocaine use which gets sentences up to ten years, and cocaine which usually see the richer uses walking away with suspeneded sentences or fines.
This wide gap in sentencing for essentially the samecompound but with different methods of synthsesis has been the subject of congressional investigation, with Congressmen pushing for teeleimintaion in such an obvious double standard. Many lawyers, judges, and other top oficials were routine users of powder cocaine in th 1980’s when the laws giving crack cocaine harsh sentences were passed.
Drugs of misuse is one of the major social, legal, and public-health challenges in the modern world. In the UK, the total burden of drug misuse, in terms of health, social, and crime-related costs, has been estimated to be between £10 billion and £16 billion per year, with the global burden being proportionately enormous.
Current approaches to counter drug misuse are interdiction of supply (via policing and customs control), education, and treatment. All three demand clarity in terms of the relative risks and harms that drugs engender.
At present, in the UK, attitudes to policing and the punishments for possession and supply of drugs are scaled according to their classification under the Misuse of Drugs Act of 1971, while education and health-care provision are nominally tailored to the known actions and harms of specific drugs.
Most countries and international agencies, have drug classification systems that take into account the relative risks and dangers of illicit drugs.
However, the process by which harms are determined is often undisclosed, and when made public can be ill-defined, opaque, and seemingly arbitrary. In part, this lack of clarity is due to the great range and complexity of factors that have to be taken into account in estimation of harm and the fact that scientific evidence is not only limited in many of the relevant areas but also evolves progressively and in unpredictable ways
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