Satisfactory Essays
Politicians and the media have both used their power to construct the image of the addict in the United States. It is not wrong that they have constructed an image, but the image that they have constructed is not true. Politicians and the media have scapegoated the addict for their own benefit. In Henry Brownstein’s article, The Social Reality of Violence and Violent Crime, he looks at how the United Stated has constructed the image of violence being associated with the drug user. Additionally, his article looks at how politicians such as Harry Anslinger built their career off these violence and drug narratives without statistical evidence. Furthermore, Craig Reinarman and Cere Duskin explain further how society can be fooled by sensational narratives such as the one called Jimmy’s World by Janet Cooke.
To equate how we have associated the drug user with violence we must look at the past of the United States and drugs. First we must look at the United States medical community in the 19th century. It was not foreign to see different forms of narcotics in medical products. For example, Bayer used heroin in its cough formula and Coca Cola used extracts of coca in their soft drink (Brownstein, 2000: 20). The medical community started to see problems with addiction in people using products that contained cocaine and opium (Brownstein, 2000: 20). The medical community soon labeled addiction as a health problem while law enforcement saw it in the form of crime (Brownstein, 2000: 20). Law enforcement saw people profiting by having others become addicted (Brownstein, 2000: 20). Soon legislation was passed to protect against these harmful substances (Brownstein, 2000: 20). In 1906, the Pure Food and Drug act was passed which required lab...

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...past culture has combined drugs with the thought of evil.
In conclusion, drugs have had a long history in the United States and will probably never stop being an issue. Our current society and past have associated drugs with violence to an extent that is not even true. Politicians and the media have the power to create moral panic based off of narrative and stories that are not even statistically backed. By creating these sensational narratives politicians are able to advance their political agendas by scapegoating a group such as addicts and the media is able to create these great stories everyone wants to hear. The media’s stories further pushes politicians to make policies that hurt certain groups because of the moral panic they create. At the end we must understand that there is a problem with our system and that by blaming the addict we are not really helping.
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