Psychoactive substances are drugs which alter a person's brain chemistry. They include depressants, stimulants, hallucinogens, and inhalants.
Drugs don’t mix well with other drugs, and they don’t mix well with guns either. Drugs put you in a state of mind where you are more willing to make risky decisions, especially if that drug is alcohol. Drugs have the ability to give you the excessive confidence (especially at high levels of intoxication) to build up the courage to do something you would never attempt if you were sober- say injure someone with a gun. Think about it: no matter how much you dislike a person, injuring someone while sober would take some time to think about. It’s rarely a spur of the moment idea unless substance abuse is involved. There are consequences that come with assault, especially homicide. But under the influence of drugs and alcohol… taking out a gun and shooting is all too easy.
After the drugs are released from the body and the action has occurred, regret sinks in. Now that your brain is functioning normally, you finally realize the consequences of each action. Pleading to the jury that the influence of drugs made you carry out the task may not be sufficient evidence to let you off the hook, simply because you made the choice while sober to take drugs and are therefore responsible for any actions that occurred while under the influence.
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Currently, 46 percent of the US federal prison populations consist of non-violent drug offenders, while a massive 70 percent of gang members grow up in broken homes. Even if only 5 percent of those who are currently imprisoned for drug crimes return to have a positive impact on their families, that’s over 100,000 fewer recruits for gangs across the country.
Preventing mental issues is another solution we can aim at in regards to stopping gun violence. Some believe if we adjust our justice system to reduce conviction of victimless crimes, we would have more parent figures for children to teach the basics of growing up as a decent citizen. Many children feel lost when a parent is in jail, feeling they have no one to turn to but drugs. Addictions develop quickly, leading to mental illness and irrational decisions. Perhaps if we provide more programs to help heal those who commit crimes and learn from their mistakes instead of locking them up in prison, they would pass on the motivation to be a better person to their children. Parents are one of the biggest role models for children. You can rear a child a certain way and help them develop the right morals to stay away from drugs and violence. Children with missing parents have a harder time focusing in school and on a bright future, thus turning to drugs and violence as an outlet for their anger and despair.
Many of the recent mass shooters in America were prescribed psychotropic antidepressants before going on their rampage; this type of medication has a well-documented history of causing hostility and homicidal ideation.
Another solution to prevent gun violence related to prescribed drugs would be stricter rules for obtaining drug prescriptions and replacing them with other forms of therapy. When a user is admitted to rehab, they may be prescribed drugs to cope with the pain, but a main focus in every rehab is support and therapy. Support can come in many forms and is very efficient in therapeutic environments. Thus, replacing prescriptions with support can be an alternative way to help people heal.
With the combined earnings in Canada, Mexico, and the United States, the pharmaceutical industry was valued at $446 billion in 2016. Imagine if we took half this money and instead of prescribing unnatural manmade medicine to those with an illness, we provided support programs and therapies to heal. We can teach those in need how to handle stressors rather than take a pill and possibly get addicted. We might be looking at a healthier and more natural way to cope with current and past problems.
Pharmaceutical companies profit billions from drugs, which is a big reason why they pump out so much and market them so widely. Many civil cases have been filed over the years aimed at stopping pharmaceutical companies from falsely advertising drugs that cause addiction. We are currently fighting a war on drugs, and people are starting to realize it’s not just illegal drugs that are ruining so many lives.
Gun owners who have been convicted of an alcohol-related offense, such as driving under the influence or drunk and disorderly conduct, are up to five times as likely to be arrested for a violent or firearm-related crime than those who have not, new research shows.
Alcohol intoxication triggers feelings of heightened excitement and aggression. It can reduce cognitive functioning which affects the ability to think logically and reasonably, leading to impaired judgement and higher chances of aggressive behavior. There have been countless numbers of homicide cases due to alcohol intoxication, which leads the belief that alcohol does have a significant effect on gun violence. One solution to counteract this issue is to make carrying guns into bars illegal, but this does not stop drinking at home where a gun might be present. It is a very difficult and controversial topic, but people are starting to take a greater stand to stop gun violence due to alcohol and drugs. We may not be able to abruptly stop the tendency of drugs and gun violence to cohesively work together, but we can fight for stricter laws and pass around new ideas for achieving a better tomorrow.
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