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The Myth on Drugs in the Ghetto

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Myths on Drug Trafficking and the Ghetto

Lisa Priebe

ENG122: English Composition II

Doctor Candy Henry

October 16, 2012

Drug trafficking in the United States has depleted the country drastically and the actions that have been taken to eliminate the problem have not been very successful. The law enforcement's focus is not directed in the proper areas and it needs to be rerouted to where it begins and where the biggest problems stem from. Until the focus is taken away from the ghetto as the core of the drug business the amount of drugs in our society will not decrease.

The main argument is based on the opinions that the drug trafficking is centered on the ghetto and/or the projects and the Blacks, Latinos, and Mexicans are responsible. That is not a logical assumption because where drugs are sold is not the real concern, manufacturing and distributing the drugs is the head of the totem pole. (Reinarman and Levine, 1997) Beliefs are that if they work their way up from the bottom eventually they will get to the top and that is not logical either. Authorities depend on taking the typical drug dealers of the street in hopes they will tell on who they work for and this does generate some results, but it is never enough. Granted there are more of the lower income areas selling drugs, as well as using them, but that is not the main source. Middle and upper class areas are plagued with drugs also, but it is more of a secretive act on their part. The percentage of drug use in higher class societies is phenomenal. (Wise, 2001) The ghetto of every city is infested with crack and other drugs. The police patrol these areas non-stop and arrested numerous people daily, but this does not clean up the streets because this is not the source of the drug trade distribution.

It is crucial for drug enforcement agencies and its affiliates to examine where these illegal drugs are coming from. Too much emphasis has been placed on the ghetto and the drugs in the streets. This is not where these drugs are stemmed from. Yes, they are sold in the ghetto, and the projects, but the drugs are not manufactured, or distributed, there. Law enforcements nab the drug dealers on the street and squeeze them for information about where their drugs were purchased and from whom. The ghetto is not the main source, nor where the problem begins. The drug empire is placed way higher than the average dope man on the corner.

Once a regional problem involving a customer base of a few million, and barely a billion dollars in sales, the illegal drug industry is now a worldwide enterprise with tens of millions of hard core consumers spending hundreds of billions on opiates, cocaine, amphetamines and marijuana, as well as other drugs. (Wise, 2001)

Crack is a form of the drug cocaine. It is one of the most highly addictive and destructive drugs in the world. Small doses of it are smoked into the lungs and delivered quickly to the brain. This creates a short high, followed by tiredness, depression, panic, anxiety, and brain damage. During the early 1980s, the drug first came into use in South Central, LA. It spread out through the entire country. It led to an addiction epidemic which targeted black communities and led to a huge increase in crime. (Siegel, 1982)

The Crack Epidemic started in South Central, and spread throughout the US. It had a terrible effect. People became addicted. This led to families being broken up into pieces. (Wise, 2001) Many people grew up without one or both parents because someone in their family was addicted. Later, this would lead to the end of the epidemic as fewer people started using cocaine because they saw the effects of it. Crime also increased dramatically during this time. Many low skilled workers lost their factory jobs in South Central because many factories closed during this time. They turned to drug dealing to support their family. (Schwab, 2012) The popular myth of a drug dealer is that they are young gang members. (Wise, 2001) In fact, most gangs were not organized enough to control the drug trade. Most crack cocaine dealers were not distributing cocaine through a gang. Many were ordinary people trying to support their family. Many of these people fought over prices and territory though, and this led to a surge in the number of homicides. In addition, those that became addicted did whatever was necessary to supply their habit. This often resulted in robberies. This increase in crime is what led to many bars being put up on windows, and metal fences being built around apartments and houses. In New York City, at the height of the

Epidemic,70% of all people that were arrested tested positive for crack cocaine. (Desroches, 2007) This still does not tell where these drugs are coming from. In the ghetto the majority of drug dealers have no other means to maintain and have an income. The bottom line is the fact that these drugs are not coming from the ghetto, yet they are being sold there. Where are the suppliers?

Drug data has long confirmed that the stereotypes of users and dealers (poor, black, or Latino, and urban-dwelling) are not only racist, but also wrong. According to the National Institutes on Drug Abuse, the Centers for Disease Control, and the Department of Health and Human Services, whites are equally or more likely to use drugs than their African American counterparts, despite common misperceptions to the contrary. (Trenton, 2009)

The Mexican drug gang is a multi-billion dollar industry. At one time all of the drugs in the U.S. had been imported from Mexico. Mexico has been a producer and transit route for illegal drugs for generations, the country now finds itself in a pitched battle with powerful and well-financed drug cartels. (Schwab, 2012) Even the country of Mexico feels the heat from the drug war.

The myth that crack is used almost exclusively by Blacks and is a special plague of the Black community is simply a discrepancy. While often characterized as a drug of the Black community, 60% of individuals who have used crack in the last month are White. (Reinarman and Levine, 1997) White crack users also account for 66% of individuals who have ever used crack in their lifetime. Simply stated, the majority of crack users are White. Despite this reality, 80% of people arrested for crack offenses in 2002 were Black. Consequently, a disproportionate number of Black crack offenders face the harsh mandatory minimums associated with crack convictions. (Reinarman

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