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Published by: bluetub debate on Aug 16, 2008
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A proposal for a debate resolution on
Reducing Drug Abuse in the United States
Prepared for the 2008National Debate Topic Selection CommitteeNational Federation of State High School Associations
Submitted by:Kenneth RohrbachThree Rivers High SchoolThree Rivers, Texas
writing forThe University Interscholastic League
“Let us not forget who we are. Drug abuse is arepudiation of everything America is.”-
 Ronald Reagan
 Abuse of illegal and prescription drugs has been a problem in the United States for wellover a century. Since 1906, the United States federal government has waged a war, of sorts, on drug production, possession, and use in this country. This has been the longestand most costly war in the history of our nation. Our government has spent countlessbillions of dollars waging this war and has made little measurable progress. While gainshave been made in reducing drug use among teenagers, the gains have been minimal. Atthe same time, abuse of prescription drugs has risen considerably. It is time for thegovernment of this nation to establish measurable goals for reducing drug use in thiscountry and then to set policies to achieve those goals.In the history of national debate resolutions, neither illegal nor prescription drugs havebeen debated. This topic is addressing a national problem that affects all communities inthis nation, regardless of size. Drugs are found in our schools and businesses. No sectorof society is immune to this problem. This topic needs to be debated
Prior to the twentieth century few restrictions were placed on drug trade and use. Opiumand cocaine flowed freely into the United States. Drug abuse was considered more apublic health problem than a criminal activity. Drugs such as opium and cocaine werecommon in medicines. Opium, which affects the brain and spinal cord, had been apainkiller and sedative for centuries. Opium and cocaine were also used to fightdepression, relieve chronic pain, serve as an anesthetic, settle intestinal disorders, andrelieve a variety of other afflictions. Cocaine was even used as an ingredient in wine andCoca Cola. Other drugs were processed from opium, such as morphine, a major pain-fighting drug for the wounded in the American Civil War (1861–65; war in the UnitedStates between the Union [North], who was opposed to slavery, and the Confederacy[South], who was in favor of slavery). Drugs derived from opium are called opiates. In1898 a process to derive heroin from opium was discovered, becoming the most additiveopiate of all.
1906 – Pure Food and Drug Act
Preventing the manufacture, sale, or transportation of adulterated or misbranded orpoisonous or deleterious foods, drugs, medicines, and liquors, and for regulating traffictherein, and for other purposes. Punishment included fines and prison time.
1909 Smoking Opium Exclusion Act
Banned the importation, possession and use of “smoking opium”. Did not regulateopium-based “medications”. First Federal law banning the non-medical use of asubstance.
1914 – The Harrison Act
In summary, The Harrison Act of 1914 was written more to have all parties involved inimporting, exporting, manufacturing and distributing opium or cocaine to register withthe Federal Government and have taxes levied upon them.
– Supreme Court
ratified the Harrison Anti-Narcotic Act in Webb et al., v. UnitedStates, holding that doctors may not prescribe maintenance supplies of narcotics topeople addicted to opioids.
1922 -- Narcotic Drug Import and Export Act
Enacted to assure proper control of importation, sale, possession, production andconsumption of narcotics.
1924 Heroin Act
Prohibited manufacture, importation and possession of heroin illegal – even for medicinaluse.
1927 -- Bureau of Prohibition
The Bureau of Prohibition was responsible for tracking bootleggers and organized crime leaders. They focused primarily on interstate and international cases and those caseswhere local law enforcement official would not or could not act.
1932 -- Uniform State Narcotic Act
Encouraged states to pass uniform state laws matching the federal Narcotic Drug Importand Export Act. Suggested prohibiting cannabis use at the state level.
1938 -- Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act
The new law brought cosmetics and medical devices under control, and it required thatdrugs be labeled with adequate directions for safe use. Moreover, it mandated pre-marketapproval of all new drugs, such that a manufacturer would have to prove to FDA that adrug were safe before it could be sold
1951 -- Boggs Act
Imposed maximum criminal penalties for violations of the import/export and internalrevenue laws related to drugs and also established mandatory minimum prison sentences.
1956 -- Narcotics Control Act
Increased Boggs Act penalties and mandatory prison sentence minimums for violationsof existing drug laws.

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