This week, we talked about opioids, psychedelics, and cannabis. Each of these categories of drug is regulated differently, with different potential impacts. This activity is an exercise in critical thinking about how drug policy influences outcomes in society. For this assignment, choose two of the categories of drug discussed this week, and, in your own words: 1. Compare how they are currently regulated in United States federal (and, if it differs, state) policy. Have these policies changed over time in the U.S.? How recently? 2. Evaluate the rates of use of these drugs in the U.S. over time, citing statistics from a reliable source (provide a link to the website where you found your statistics).
3. Evaluate the rates of adverse effects of drugs in the U.S. over time, citing statistics from a reliable source (provide a link to the website where you found your statistics). 4. Discuss whether/how the regulations might relate to drug use and any associated harms in the population. Pay special attention to policy changes here! Have changes in the regulation of a drug resulted in changes in its use in society?
5. Harm reduction is a strategy to mitigate the risks of drug use, given that somebody is going to go ahead and use a drug. Discuss what effective regulation of drug access might look like from a risk prevention/harm reduction perspective: Do current policies achieve the goal of preventing/reducing harm related to drug use? What policies would help?