War On Drugs: The Labeling Theory In The United States

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The United States War on Drugs has been ongoing since the 1870s. During the Drug War era, over 500,000 people were incarcerated for drugs, forty-five million arrests and it has cost over one trillion dollars. The interactionism theories best explain the social, cultural and economic impact of the U.S. War on Drugs. The interactionism theories focus on smaller social and cultural groups which is what happened in the War on Drugs. The labeling theory being a part of the interactionism theories plays a big role on the War on Drugs. Very often people put labels on certain cultures or people based off of their race or community which can drive people towards deviance. Deviance is the act of violating social norms that is socially constructed. There…show more content…
It is often that people put labels on certain cultures or people based off of their race or community. For example people who are said to live in “poor” “inner city” “troubled” neighborhoods are the ones who are labeled with drugs. For example Nathan Palmer gives this example in his article Socially Constructing Drug Users, Dealers, and Convicts: “when one turns on the TV, drug deals look like this a car full of bratty spoiled white kids roll through an inner city neighborhood where African American men stand on nearly every corner drugs in hand. The car stops, a dealer leans to the passenger window, and then drugs and money exchange”. Every racial ethnic group uses drugs. A study in 2004 found that the highest level of drug use is from people who are white, which is 38.2%. Another study was conducted and found that young white people have to go to the emergency room due to drug related emergencies three times the rate of blacks. Research by George Rengert and James LeBeau in 2007 found that drug users buy the drugs from people of their same race. This information suggests that the rate of drug use and sales are very similar across racial groups. Black Americans are also thirteen times more likely to be imprisoned due to drug related charges than whites. Black men represent over eighty percent of all people who are admitted into state prisons for drug charges (Socially…show more content…
The theory studies how criminal behavior is learned by associating with other criminal individuals. Also, it can exist in any income, race or background. Drug dealers are labeled as people who live in “poor” “troubled” neighborhoods. Black Americans are the most disproportionally represented people when it comes to drugs. (The house I live in) But as Michelle Alexander had said in The House I Live In, “In every war, you need to have an enemy.” In 1980, whites were about 45 percent more likely than blacks to sell drugs, according to an analysis of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth by economist Robert Fairlie. Christopher Ingraham analysis of data from the 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health shows that 6.6 percent of white adolescents and young adults (aged 12 to 25) sold drugs, compared to just 5.0 percent of blacks (a 32 percent difference). This partly reflects racial differences in the drug markets in black and white communities. In poor black neighborhoods, drugs tend to be sold outdoors, in the open. In white neighborhoods, by contrast, drug transactions typically happen indoors, often between friends and acquaintances. If you sell drugs outside, you're much more likely to get caught (White people). In black neighborhoods people would set up crack “shops” on side of street for 10-12 hour shifts and start selling heroin started around 4 am

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