The drug policies implemented in the United States have the potential to discourage more people from acquiring, distributing, or selling illicit substances. However, they might have negative consequences on the affected individuals since they fail to consider how they can re-pattern their experiences and lead better lives. For instance, Joe’s case reveals that citizens who have been convicted of selling controlled substances (CDS) and incarcerated will be unable to receive some social benefits. Individuals seeking new jobs should pass various background checks (Kourgiantakis et al., 2019). These requirements explain why some former convicts will encounter numerous challenges when planning to get new job opportunities. Most of the organizations fail to house single males, thereby worsening the situation for Joe. His past conviction is another reason explaining why he has been unable to secure permanent housing.
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Several gaps are evident in this case that policymakers and social workers should collaborate to address. First, individuals who have been incarcerated will lack medical insurance and employment opportunities. They will lead troubled lives and find it hard to win the trust of their colleagues and family members. The individuals will encounter various challenges when seeking accommodation and housing in this country (Humphreys & McLellan, 2011). Such issues indicate that the affected citizens will be unable to lead better lives and achieve their potential. This analysis reveals that many people in this country encounter similar challenges after committing such drug-related offenses.
These insights explain why there is a need for all stakeholders to consider new ways of addressing the identified gaps. The best approach should revolve around an overhaul of the established policies in such a way that they help victims instead of punishing them (Rehner et al., 2017). For instance, Joe’s past offense appears to have redefined his future. He is unable to get a good job, housing, and new opportunities. These challenges explain why he could die prematurely or find it hard to achieve his professional and personal goals in life.
The suggested changes revolve around the issue of benefits. Despite having a history of incarceration for using and distributing marijuana, Joe should have access to some of the common social benefits, such as health insurance, food supply, and shelter. A readjustment of the present policy will ensure that individuals who have served jail terms in the past are in a position to find new job opportunities (Humphreys & McLellan, 2011). Additional support systems focusing on the health demands of people with mental illnesses will deliver desirable results in this country.
The U.S. antidrug policy is a guideline that has been in place to control the possession, use, and distribution of various addictive substances across the country. Over the years, such a law has remained coercive and unjust since political opportunism is what drives it (Kourgiantakis et al., 2019). Most of the people in power fail to consider the efficiency and applicability of justice (Rehner et al., 2017). The current drug policy has failed to reduce the level of abuse while promoting the notions of law enforcement. Consequently, more people have found it hard to lead high-quality lives and achieve their maximum potential.
The available statistics and facts from the United States reveal that such an antidrug policy has been disproportionately affecting people of color. For example, African Americans top the list since they will have additional chances of being stopped and searched in comparison with other minority racial groups (Rosino & Hughey, 2018). The police will also visit most of the neighborhoods associated with these underserved members of the American society (Beerman, 2012). Some individuals will be arrested for no reason and forced to go through the criminal justice system. Consequently, the incarcerated individuals will encounter various challenges in life after leaving prison. They will also be unable to access some of the common social support systems and benefits.
Social workers should be on the frontline to support the introduction and implementation of ethical obligations to ensure that all substance use policies are friendly and just. First, such professionals should sensitize and collaborate with policymakers to present ideas that ensure that the laws put in place treat all people equally irrespective of their cultural, religious, or racial backgrounds (Beerman, 2012). Second, such experts can support the creation of new policy guidelines and share them with the relevant stakeholders. These ideas will form the basis for additional principles that are capable of transforming the experiences of the greatest majority.
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Third, these individuals need to engage in advocacy and promote concepts that resonate with the ethical principles of fairness, equality, and justice. The new drug policies will allow more individuals to pursue their economic goals, solve emerging challenges, and be in a position to make informed decisions (Sobočan et al., 2018). Finally, social workers should intervene throughout the policy formulation and implementation processes to ensure that all ex-convicts whose cases revolve around the possession and use of illicit substances are capable to get the required social benefits, employment, and shelter. Such changes will meet the demands of most of the affected individuals and take them closer to their goals.
Beerman, D. (2012). Advocacy handbook for social workers. National Association of Social Workers.
Humphreys, K., & McLellan, A. T. (2011). A policy-oriented review of strategies for improving the outcomes of services for substance use disorder patients. Addiction, 106, 2058-2066. Web.
Kourgiantakis, T., Sewell, K., McNeil, S., Logan, J., Lee, E., Adamson, K., McCormick, M., & Kuehl, D. (2019). Social work education and training in mental health, addictions and suicide: A scoping review protocol. BMJ Open, 9(6), e024659. Web.
Rehner, T., Brazeal, M., & Doty, S. (2017). Embedding a social work–led behavioral health program in a primary care system: A 2012-2018 case study. Journal of Public Health Management & Practice, 23, S40-S46. Web.
Rosino, M., & Hughey, M. (2018). The war on drugs, racial meanings, and structural racism: A holistic and reproductive approach. American Journal of Economics and Sociology, 77(3-4), 849-892. Web.
Sobočan, A. M., Bertotti, T., & Strom-Gottfried, K. (2018). Ethical considerations in social work research. European Journal of Social Work, 22(5), 805-818. Web.