Drug Policiess of Western Europe
This paper compares the United States’ war on drugs to the social welfare treatment of the drug problem in Western Europe.
An examination of two main strategies for dealing with drugs. The first is an all out prohibition targeting every one from major drug traffickers all the way down to the users, with harsh penalties – which is the approach used in the U.S. in its `war on drugs`. The second approach is one that sees drug abuse more as social welfare problem rather than a criminal justice problem, where treatment rather than harsh penalties are emphasized. This is the stance that most of the countries of Western Europe have adopted. This paper compares these two differing attitudes and examines which is more effective for which situation and whether the different regions can learn from each other.
Before the nineteen sixties the perception around the world and particularly in Europe was that there was little or no social problems with drug use or trafficking. Before 1960 no member State of the Council of Europe had any serious problem of a widespread kind and the few drug abusers identified in the various countries caused no particular anxiety or concern from a legal or public health point of view.(Strasbourg 1974 pg.10) As the sixties progressed drug use escalated in Europe and in the United States, which raised concerns among public officials and law enforcement agencies. Certain phenomenon were observed in the 1960s in most European countries which alerted the competent authorities to the dangers involved in drug abuse and helped to make chemical pollution of mankind one of the more recognizable preoccupations of society. (Strasbourg 1974 pg.10) Once drug use came to be seen as a problem, states began to take measures to curb the use of illegal drugs.