Drug to cheaper street drugs, but these drugs

Drug
trafficking is an issue that has been around for a long time and includes a
huge amount of people, many of them, benefit from it. Drug trafficking, “is a
global illicit trade involving the cultivation, manufacture, distribution and
sale of substances which are subject to drug prohibition laws.” (UNODC) Since the
1880’s there have been antidrug crusades that have tried to put a stop to the
illicit trade. If we look back at how prominent this issue has been in
political life and the everyday life of Americans, we have a prime example of
when President Nixon launched an attack on drugs with his “Law and Order”
campaign (Martha A Myers). This so-called attack on drugs has been repeated by
many more presidents such as Regean when he started a war on drugs because the
past ones failed to work. He failed to make much difference as well and now
were at the point where these laws against the trade, are on the verge of
failing. People of power, of high status, are trying to create laws that will
uphold people of this trade to be morally responsible and become better people
(Martha A Myers). Many questions that are imposed are as following: How much
punishment should be enforced? How can laws be enforced that do not
discriminate against race? How old is the person committing the crime, should
they know better? These important questions can help determine how punishment
should be attached to these criminals of the trade.

Drugs
have been a problem in the U.S. for a long time now and one impact they have on
our society is the number of overdoses there are. Also, drug trafficking
interrupts the order of society by taking over many prescription pills.
Businesses become affected by illegal drugs, when they become cheaper and more
popular than high-cost pills. Many of these illegal drugs have opioids in them.
Eventually, a prescription drug will become too expensive to someone that
regularly takes these drugs daily and they must turn to cheaper street drugs,
but these drugs like heroin, don’t have labels for dosage. These heavily dosed
drugs lead to overdoses. The United States is experiencing an epidemic of drug
overdose (poisoning) deaths. Since 2000, the rate of deaths from drug overdoses
has increased 137% (CDC). One of the deadliest drugs that is taking lives are
opioids, 28,647 people died from heroin overdose in 2014 (CDC). Heroin is a
dangerous drug the world consumption of this drug is 340 tons and it can be
easy to overdose on as majority of the public do not know how dangerous a
certain drug can be, majority are users because it is impossible to kick after
starting (UNODC). The drug trafficking industry however, don’t care about the
effects that drugs have on people it is all about making a living for them. The
global market in drug trafficking has an estimated annual global value of
between $426 billion and $652 billion (USD), making it a close second in the
lucrative illicit market measured after that of counterfeit and pirated goods,
which is estimated to generate as much as $1.13 trillion annually (Talkingdrugs.org).
This illegal industry is making tons of money by selling drugs to many people,
majority of which are a lot poorer that are looking for cheaper drugs to help
take care of pain that would otherwise linger.

During
the last two decades there has been interest concerning a possibility that
there is a relationship between drugs and violence. In addition to the mostly
misguided attention in mass media and in political circles to the relationship
between illegal drugs and, a number of empirical studies have attempted to
disentangle the associations between alcohol, drugs, and violence (Alcohol,
drugs, and violence). According to the article Alcohol, Drugs, and Violence
there is no suggested evidence that there is any relationship between drug use
and violence.  Although there is no
strong relationship between taking drugs and committing violence, according to
the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the number of crime related drugs in 2004 was
17%, and this number was of people committing crimes to obtain drugs. There is
a lot of money that can be earned in the drug trafficking industry, that is why
it may look as a great thing for young people fresh out of school looking to
make money get into it. However, this is not the case, as the majority of
people that are in the business are lower or medium sellers. Which basically
means they sell to friends and are only holding onto no more than 100 kilos of
marijuana or single ounces of cocaine at a time (pp 195-207). The dream of
making a living in this industry is only true for some and those people handle
the producing and transferring of these drugs can make up to half a million in
revenue. According to Shifts and Oscillations in
Deviant Careers: The Case of Upper-Level Drug Dealers and Smugglers, a
journal article, there are three levels into getting into upper levels of drug
dealing. One way is to start as a low-level dealer then work your way to the
top which seldom happens. Second, would be people that start at a middle level
and work their way to the top tier. A third way of getting to drug trafficking
would be by being recruited because of special skills. Drug trafficking and
smuggling careers are temporary and fraught with many multiple attempts at
retirement (pp195-207). Drug trafficking can disrupt society in many ways which
can lead to different views on how it can be viewed and harm society in
different circumstances.

Drug
trafficking attacks structural functionalism because it goes against social
norms and affects the solidarity of a society. A society under structural
functionalism is treated as an organism and if one organ isn’t working
properly, for example drug trafficking, it can create a disruption of the
“body” or the society as a whole. The money that is earned can be coined as
“dirty money”, which can disrupt society by being earned in an unacceptable
way. Also, with the number of overdoses that are happening can create for a
loss of workforce, which can disrupt the complex system in which structural
functionalist societies work in. It can also create for an unsafe environment
in many different parts of the world where major drug trafficking takes place,
but it affects stability of a society. Drug trafficking can be examined through
structural functionalism in many ways. One important aspect of structural
functionalism would be deviance. Emile Durkhiem has four functions of deviance (Erger).
The first one is that it affirms cultural values and norms. Drug trafficking
attacks societal norms by breaking the rules and expectations by which a
society guides the behavior of its members. The second function would be the
response to deviance, which clarifies moral boundaries. The members of a
society need to respond to drug trafficking to maintain themselves morally.  A response to deviance promotes social unity
is the third function. To strengthen the society, it is important that the
members respond to this illicit drug trade, so that they can advance and
preserve unity. The last but one of the most important functions is that
deviance will encourage social change. The more deviant of a crime, the more
empowering it becomes on society. A small petty crime won’t have much impact
besides the smaller communities in which they are happening in. While crimes
such as drug trafficking is discussed globally. According to the Shifts and
Oscillations in Deviant Careers: The Case of Upper-Level Drug Dealers and
Smugglers, veteran drug traffickers quit their occupation because of the
ambivalent feelings they develop toward their deviant life. Eventually, a
person actions will catch up with them either by being turned in by society and
incarcerated or reflect on themselves and change their lifestyles. However,
some people may have a social stigma according to Erving Goffman, who suggested
that a deviant career could create a stigma, where a person is looked down upon
by a society based off a certain attribute (John J. Macionis).

Robert
Merton was famous for making some important refinements to the functionalist
thinking. He helped to distinguish the difference between manifest and latent
functions, which can be used to examine drug trafficking. Also, there are 5
categories, which are based off of Merton’s strain theory, where a person is
placed into based off their actions (Erger 2017). Drug trafficking can be seen
as a kind of innovation because although a drug trafficker may follow cultural
beliefs and goals, they are still doing so in an unacceptable way according to
a society. A manifest function of drug trafficking would include affirming
cultural values of deviance, clarifying moral boundaries and promoting social
unity, which are Durkheim’s first three functions of deviance. Manifest
dysfunctions would include lower confidence in society in being able to keep
crime rate down. The latent function would potentially be more jobs in law
enforcement to decrease drug trafficking. A latent dysfunction of drug
trafficking would be that it could lead to even bigger crimes, such as sex
trafficking for example. Merton also had another theory which was the middle
range theory (Macionis). This theory is where a society is evaluated and then
if the dysfunctions of a society outweigh the functions then there will be a
social change. Drug trafficking has changed society in many ways by the laws
are made and how people are viewed. A structural functionalist society is very
complex and depends on solidarity and stability. Drug trafficking is
threatening the norms of society by going against what many people believe in.
There is a lot of deviance that is involved in getting into the producing and
trading of drugs, which can ultimately have an impact of society as a whole
through overdoses, illegal making of money and illegal jobs that are created. If
we look at how opioids are affecting society we can see that is affecting the
majority of society as a whole because, it is taking thousands of people out of
the workforce which can create for an unbalanced force. According to the CDC,
28,000 died in 2014 alone, from opioids. This is becoming an epidemic that can
hurt the natural balance of society and structural functionalism. The deviance
of drug trafficking can affect many people’s views on society, they can start
to see our society as failing, because its been issue for so long and there has
yet to be a dent put into the industry.

Drug
trafficking in conflict perspective has a different view on how this illicit
trade takes place. The conflict perspective focuses on the struggle between
groups engaging in conflict for limited resources. If we look at how Marx views
society and capitalism we can see a huge difference between the rich and the
poor. When we focus on big companies against drug trafficking we can see that
those big companies are above the law. This is not to say that drug trafficking
isn’t an issue, but big companies also do illegal things. They just have more protection
with laws in place that they most likely helped to support. Unfortunately, the
power elite has been known to help pass laws that can protect them and make life
easier for them to make more money (Macionis).  The conflict theory also focuses on race as an
issue in society and difference in social position. For example; a study was
done by Sharon E. Moore who focused on black males with addiction to drugs and
their involvement in drug trafficking. 
In this study the author uses Karl Marx’s theory of capitalism to
explain how the process works. Marx states that what is really going into black
people being involved in drug trafficking, with drugs such as heroin is labor power.
Capitalism in drug trafficking is between two competitors that are always
trying to undermine the other with better prices on their products. Even in
this industry, larger businesses have more resources and can take over small
business very easily. This creates the idea that, “capitalism is built on the
control over work and the economy and the daily oppression of labor”
(Tucker, 1978, p. 204). Drug trafficking can be viewed as capitalistic and includes
two classes: the proletariat and bourgeoise (Moore). This view has some conflict
with how we view society in that we thought of big companies as the elite and
drug trafficking as the poorer classes. In this case its not about the money that
is produced but its about the image each one has on society. Also, it is
important to understand that drug traffickers can not easily defend themselves
the way that big pill companies can. In the case of drug addicts, the dealers
are the power elite, and the working class are the addicts that buy the drugs.
This model appeals to Marx’s capitalism theory, because the labor class are
dependent on the elite and need the products from them. In this example, heroin
as used as the “opium of the masses” and states that without each other both
the elite and the labor class could not exist (Moore).

There
is a huge appeal that brings many black males into the industry that may come for
poor economic backgrounds and see that there is a lot of money to be made.
There are examples of a man making $20,000 a week and another making only $1,200
a week which is a tremendous amount of money (Moore). However, these large sums
of money are nowhere near to the amount a drug lord makes and that can upset some
black males in the industry that want to make more. In addition, this theory
helps explain that young black males are a part of this illegal trade for
economic survival (Sharron E. Moore). Through the American advertising things
are being imposed as being expensive and necessary and young black males look
at these materialistic items and needed to live the “good life” and the
American dream. “From the viewpoint of drug trafficking as an economic
adventure, the young Black male may be led to believe that he will be able to
provide for the basic necessities as some of the luxuries of life through the
profits gained via the distribution of drugs” (Sharron E. Moore). This study
looked into how different races have either an advantage or disadvantage in
society according to the conflict theory. This also gives into the race
conflict theory which focuses on inequality and conflict between races. This
theory shows how people of different races and ethnic groups such as African
American and Hispanics, could be more susceptible to drug trafficking than
those of the “elite” or the “white and powerful.” This example from the study,
shows how black males from poorer economic backgrounds would be more likely to
turn to this industry to find a solid source of income. The conflict theory on
drug trafficking shows how the rich, which are the drug lords, make a ton more money
than the labor force which in this case are the poorer black male street sellers.
This leads to conflict within the industry as people are always looking to move
up and down the capitalist ladder to be at the top and make the most money.