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WrittenAssignment9_ENC-102_RaymondMilek - 1 Raymond Milek...

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1 Raymond Milek SID#0483682 12/01/2011 English Composition 2 ENC-102-OL Thomas Edison State College October, 2011 Semester Written Assignment 9 Original 3 Body Paragraphs At this very moment, the United States has less than 5% of the world’s population (U.S & World Population Clock). Of these 312.6 million people, 2.29 million (or approximately 23% of the world’s prison population) of them—including juveniles—are being held in penal institutions, as either pre-trial detainees or sentenced inmates (Walmsley, 2009, p.1). According to the International Centre for Prison Studies, “The United States has the highest documented incarceration rate in the world at 754 per 100,000 (as of 2009)” (2010). Of these millions of inmates, “approximately half a million people are in prison for a drug offense today compared to 40,000 in 1981—an increase of 1,100 percent”, says author Michelle Alexander (2010, p.59). Since this number is already exponentially higher than every other nation in the world (excluding Communist China), can trying a radical experiment that may actually decrease the population of prisons in the U.S. truly be harmful? Other countries that are using the experiment have nowhere near the crime we have in this country. Consequently and ironically, addiction rates have increased in almost every country that has decriminalized drugs and put addicts on maintenance programs. In brief, the U.S. is already teeming with its own crime and addiction rates, so obviously the “War on Drugs” has been a failure. Why not try a newer, alternative method besides punishment?
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2 The decriminalization of drugs in certain parts of Europe, and the highly debated use of drug maintenance programs (mainly the use of heroin maintenance) have been a topic of controversy since Great Britain first tried the method almost 100 years ago. The definition of heroin maintenance (or doctor prescribed heroin), according to the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network (Canada is a participant in the program), is "Heroin prescription is a form of medical care that involves strictly regulated and controlled prescription of heroin. Offered on its own or as a complement to treatment programs, it is often targeted for use by people for whom opioid substitution treatment and other programs have not succeeded." (2006, p.7-8). Although this method of free and legal heroin distribution would lead one to rationally consider that the treatment would eradicate the crime that is typical of accompanying heroin addiction, e.g. theft, burglary, robbery, prostitution, etc., the fact that the treatment actually decreases crime has been argued (official numbers are listed in a later paragraph). Some of the health benefits to the program that have been listed are “helping people to stop or reduce their illegal drug use, avoiding illness and death as a result of overdose by ensuring access to a drug of known quality
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