Drug Enforcement: What Is the Most Effective Form?
While discussing the most effective form of drug enforcement, it is, first and foremost, necessary to identify the main driver of the growing flow of drugs within the country. Abadinsy explains that the incidence of the use of drugs is in direct proportion to their availability. As such, it becomes evident that the most effective way of drug enforcement should target reducing the availability of drugs.
From this perspective, the method of street-level law enforcement seems to be an effective way of addressing the problem of drugs. On this face, this method cannot resolve the problem from a large-scale perspective. In the meantime, it can help to prevent potential escalation. Thus, Abadinsy points out that the major benefit of the street-level law enforcement method is that it helps to prevent drug sellers from acting openly. While drug sellers become more cautious, the drug buyers are, on the contrary, involved in actively searching for the sources of drugs or their substitutes. As a result, drug consumption, as well as the associated consequences, reduces naturally. The reduction is not very significant. In the meantime, this practical outcome speaks in favor of the method’s efficiency.
Moreover, the street level is considered to be effective since it addresses the problem of drugs at different levels. As such, Abadinsy suggests differentiating between community-focused, geographically-focused, and the so-called “hot-spots” approaches. Every approach is designed to resolve a particular set of problems and implies the involvement of different parties such as directed patrols, community entities, and government agencies to name but a few. Therefore, this form of drug enforcement features a complex approach to addressing the problem of drug use and abuse.
It is important to note that the effectiveness of this form of drug enforcement has been empirically proved. As such, recent research has revealed a series of positive outcomes associated with the implementation of this method. First, Strang et al. point out that street-level law enforcement helps to lessen the misuse of highly available drugs such as pharmaceuticals. Second, the authors mention such an advantage as a preventative effect. Thus, their findings show that the implementation of street-level law enforcement leads to the reduced initiation of drug use in the young population. On the whole, the researchers characterize the outcomes of this form of drug enforcement as the maximization of the public good.
Another method of drug enforcement that seems to be productive is the so-called “call-in” method that involves social dialogue and provides a criminal with a chance to give up illegal activity and avoid imprisonment. The method is another form of the street-level law enforcement form described above. From the ethical perspective, the method has a well-developed design since it targets to reshape the criminals’ mentality rather than to suppress it using legislative pressure.
Meanwhile, to date, there is little empirical research that would evidence the positive outcomes associated with the implementation of this method. Abadinsy, however, notes that the existing research findings provide valuable insights into the method’s productivity. As such, it has been revealed that the implementation of this drug enforcement method leads to “a remarkable level of success in shutting down drug markets”. Additionally, it helps to reduce aggression and violence. Therefore, it might be concluded that this form of drug enforcement is likely to show further improvements in the nearest future.