States make Bandits and Bandits make States

Drug hysteria was rooted in the changing perception of the use of drugs in the 1980s and 90s in the United States of America (Courtwright, 2009). Over the decades of the twentieth century, the use of the drug has gone through cycles of extreme public concern and awareness and comparative indifference (Goode& Ben-Yehuda, 1994).For most of these decades the public, reformers, legislators or the media concentrate on a particular drug which represent or stand for the drug challenge generally. The laws that were made to regulate the abuse of drugs like marijuana and cocaine facilitated the act of states making bandits and bandits making states. In other words states supporting lawlessness.

There were various types of drugs that led to drug hysteria and they were being abused by various groups of people (Courtwright, 2009). Marijuana was the most widely abused drug in the US during this period (Goode& Ben-Yehuda, 1994).The drug was mainly abused by the youth. In a study that was carried out in the US in 1978, only a third of American high school seniors believed that individuals who smoked marijuana regularly risked harming themselves. In the same study, only a quarter of the high school seniors said that private use of marijuana should be prohibited (Goode& Ben-Yehuda, 1994).In another study that was carried out in 1979, six out of ten American high school seniors had used marijuana at least once during their lifetime.

Cocaine was another drug that its use began increasing at alarming levels in 1985 (Spillane, 2000).A study that was done among the high school seniors in 1986 found out that four percent of the students admitted having used cocaine at least once in their lifetime (Goode& Ben-Yehuda, 1994).Alcohol abuse was widespread among American youth and adults due to the American culture of drinking. Some historians stated that America was born a nation of drinkers (Frydl, 2013).Other drugs that were abused in large quantities were narcotics such as morphine and heroin (Courtwright, 2009). These drugs were mainly used by physicians and they caused aIDictions on the patients who continued to abuse them after recovering from illnesses.

The US government began fighting this vice of drug abuse. Many states in America had criminalized the possession of marijuana. Later they decriminalized small passion of marijuana. In the late 1980 and 1990 two states, Oregon and Alaska recriminalized the possession of small quantities of marijuana (Goode& Ben-Yehuda, 1994).Drug testing emerged as a major issue in the 1980s. Celebrities such as First Lady Nancy Reagan and Bob Hope began talking against the drugs (Goode& Ben-Yehuda, 1994).Anti-Drugs propaganda proliferated. Organizations designed to deal with drug abuse increased.

President Reagan was very strict in drug abuse which led to an influx of the number of those behind bars due to nonviolent drug offenses (Alexander, 2010). President Clinton said in an interview that marijuana should be decriminalized. He wanted to reduce the number of those put behind bars due to nonviolent drug offenses (Alexander, 2010). President Bush was very strict on drug abuse, but later the state-level reforms finally started to slow the growth of the drug war. Politicians began to routinely admit to having used marijuana and cocaine when they were younger. Michael Bloomberg when he was questioned in 2001 about drug abuse he admitted having used marijuana when he was young(Alexander, 2010). These actions demonstratestates supporting drug abuse in the US. In other words, it is bandits forming the states. Bandits represent leaders who do not support the law that fight drug abuse in America. Hence, states makes bandits and bandits make states.


Courtwright, D. T. (2009). Dark Paradise: A History of Opiate AIDiction in America. Harvard University Press.

Spillane, J. F. (2000). Cocaine: From Medical Marvel to Modern Menace in the United States 1884-1920. The John Hopkins University Press.

Frydl, K. J.(2013). The Drug Wars in America 1940-1973. Cambridge University Press.

Goode, E. & Ben-Yehuda, N. (1994). The American Drug Panic of the 1980s. Retrieved from:

Alexander, M. (2010). The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. New York: The New Press.

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