The number one enemy in the United States is substance abuse. On June 18, 1971, about 50 years ago, Richard Nixon declared War on Drugs (Mosher & Akins, 2021). According to Nixon, it is necessary to fight with manufacturers and dealers of illegal drugs and their users. Even today, 50 years later, this war is being fought in almost every country. In January 1972, just a few months after Nixon’s announcement, a drug law came into force in Germany, replacing the opium law of the Weimar Republic (Lloyd et al., 2017). Despite a few amendments, this is still true today and states that the manufacture, trade, possession, sale, import, purchase, or acquisition of drugs is punishable by law. Some still associate this with the hope that drugs can be banned from society altogether. The situation in Germany is very different from what is happening in modern America. During the 2020 presidential election, some states also voted to decriminalize previously illegal drugs (Mosher & Akins, 2021). Of particular note is the state of Oregon, which has decriminalized small amounts of cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, and other previously banned substances for the first time in the US.
Germany’s drug policy is based on four pillars: prevention, harm reduction, treatment, and prosecution. The first three are the responsibility of the health authorities, and the last three are the responsibility of the police and the prosecutor’s office (Kennedy et al., 2017). According to police crime statistics, in 2019, the number of drug-related crimes increased, although the total number of reported suspicious cases decreased. Many drug users only have contact with the fourth pillar, law enforcement.
In the United States, the situation is similar, but what distinguishes America from any other country is drug courts. The US drug courts provide drug addicts with the opportunity to undergo treatment in a specialized institution or program instead of criminal punishment. The Assessor is not a doctor but is licensed to assess the defendant’s readiness for participation in a treatment program and subsequent integration into society.
Today in the United States, drug addiction treatment is also supported at the government level. The work of rehabilitation centers is controlled by the state. America’s medical and healthcare system is highly developed, and all drug treatment methods are rigorously tested. Therefore, patients receive highly qualified addiction treatment and all the necessary medical care to treat diseases caused by addiction (Mosher & Akins, 2021). Modern clinics use both proven methods and their developments. Treatment consists of three stages: detoxification, rehabilitation, and post-rehabilitation support.
Every drug addict in Germany has a legal right to addiction treatment. If necessary, this includes detoxification and subsequent psychological treatment. The latter can be performed on an outpatient basis, in day hospitals, or with inpatients (Kennedy et al., 2017). As a rule, inpatient treatment is the most promising. Depending on the type of addiction and the duration of the addiction, they last from 3 to 9 months (Kennedy et al., 2017). Inpatient therapy can be followed by so-called adaptation treatment. The goal of adaptation is the independent reintegration of clients into society. In general, the policies of both countries regarding drug treatment are quite similar.
America is probably on the right track to fighting drugs for the first time in its history. If we look at the example of other countries, we can single out Portugal as a country with a successful fight against drugs. In 2001, it decriminalized all drugs for personal use. If a person has more than is needed, he should go to therapy. There is an accepted view that substance abuse arises due to socioeconomic and psychological ailments.
Thus, the United States may need to pay more attention to the causes of the development of drug addiction among citizens. Moreover, regulation can take many forms and provide different levels of control. The purchase and supply of drugs are permitted and legal under certain circumstances. The number of treatment services can be increased, and people will be more likely to seek support without fear of reprisals.
Kennedy, M. C., Karamouzian, M., & Kerr, T. (2017). Public health and public order outcomes associated with supervised drug consumption facilities: A systematic review. Current HIV/AIDS Reports, 14(5), 161–183. Web.
Lloyd, C., Stöver, H., Zurhold, H., & Hunt, N. (2017). Similar problems, divergent responses: Drug consumption room policies in the UK and Germany. Journal of Substance Use, 22(1), 66–70. Web.
Mosher, C. J., & Akins, S. (2021). Drugs and drug policy: The control of Consciousness Alteration. SAGE.