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Essay/Term paper: Nightclubs' role in our drug problem

Essay, term paper, research paper:  Alcohol and Drugs

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Nightclubs' Role In Our Drug Problem

Cultural beliefs, expectations, and ideals - how they contribute to drug use.
Why they cause certain anti-drug efforts to fail

The extermination of illegal drugs has always been one of our most
important, worldwide issues. Ending the existence of drugs is one of the
toughest and most complicated goals we face. Despite our constant battle
against them, illegal substances continue to exist and thrive in our culture.
With all the effort we put into the war against drugs, why is there little
success? Lack of effort is not a major reason our attempts are failing. It is
the lack of understanding that leads to the misdirection and failure of our
attempts. Obviously a strong desire to use drugs exists, and it is the
prevention of this desire that we need to focus on in order to wipe out drugs
from our lives.
In fact, our focus is strongly on punishing drug users, yet
applying laws against committed drug crimes has not proven to be an effective
solution. Drugs are still produced and distributed everywhere, and are taken by
many. -- despite
Obviously our focus is mid-directed. Because all types of people use
illegal substances, pinpointing one specific group to "bust" is not effective.
Recently, we have tried to track the location of drug use. We find places where
drugs tend to be, and seek to close them down as an effort to decrease the
overall use of drugs.
This has proved to be an ineffective technique because it does not
change people's craving for drugs. Reasons leading up to drug use still exist.
Arresting people for drugs does not kill their desire to use them. Closing
down a crack house does not end the residents addiction, it just forces them to
move. Reprimanding committed crimes does not eliminate the reason they were
committed. Addressing drug offenses after they have been made is not an
effective deterrent because the desire for the drug's effect still remains.
Why is this desire more influential than the law? Partly because the
potential benefits of drugs overwhelm us, and turn our focus away from the
potential dangers and consequences. People will go to extreme lengths to be the
best, or better than what they presently are. Culture's attitudes toward beauty,
money, power as a representation for success drives us to turn to drugs.
Drugs symbolize power, status, freedom, and the ultimate "high" in our world.
Drugs can help people achieve higher status, more power, as well as the
overwhelming physical and emotional "escape." Ultimately, the desire for the
drug high is worth the risk -- which we conceive to be very small -- of being
caught. In reality, the risk of getting caught is extremely slim. Only a
small percentage of all drug crimes do get caught, so our fear of the law is
minimal. Therefore, we continue to use drugs, and are rarely deterred by the
infrequent actions taken to stop what we so badly want to achieve. In addition,
many people are willing to risk getting caught, because the benefits of drugs
outweigh the risks.
Despite our strong cultural expectations which encourage this rampant
drug use, we continue to rely on the law to solve the drug problem. Today, one
popular technique is closing down high-drug use establishments, the most
prevalent in our country being nightclubs. These exist for people's pleasure,
and serve as a site of experimentation and enjoyment; in many different ways.
People are interested in all aspects of clubs, and are drawn into being a part
of them. Nightclubs are a combination of many aspects within the entertainment
industry; including music, fashion, beauty/modeling and acting. Along with
working in, and striving to be a part of, these industries comes the pressure to
keep up with the competition. Those involved in these industries compete just
as much as those who are not; generally, everyone strives to achieve what they
do not have.
Our cultural beliefs about success in these areas include the use of
drugs as a means of reaching our goals. Drugs have always been closely linked
to the entertainment industry, and regardless of their illegal status, many of
us succumb to the temptation. This is often a direct result of the pressure
and competition that our culture puts each individual through. We are not
easily deterred from using drugs because we refuse to give up our dreams and
goals, and often are willing to do whatever it takes along the path to success.
These strong values keep laws from stopping our drug use. While the
closing of a nightclub may stop us from using drugs there, it will not stop us
from using them somewhere else. Our desire to reach success and be accepted do
not die because of an these infrequent, insignificant actions. When an
establishment closes down, people can easily find another one which fulfills the
same purpose. For example, when a movie theater or restaurant closes, patrons
locate another one. No one stops seeing movies because one theater closes. No
one stops eating because one restaurant closes. Needs and desires still exist -
- and are no less important because there is one less way to achieve it.
Nightclubs apply the same way. People attend to party, relax, socialize,
and be accepted. These desires are not lessened because one place of achieving
them is unavailable, they simply need to be fulfilled elsewhere. And they can
be -- because drugs produce the same effects regardless of where they are
Our world is full of nightclubs and other establishments that attract
and contain high amounts of drugs. New establishments open constantly. If
one closes, the activity which would have taken place there moves elsewhere.
Recently, Manhattan's busiest nightclub, Limelight, was closed by the police.
The weekend after its close, three other top Manhattan nightclubs recorded a
significant increase in attendants. The approximately one-thousand regulars
from Limelight dispersed throughout the other three clubs. Regardless of the
closing, the same people still went out. The same people still did drugs. The
only change was their location. Results proved that intended activity was not
stopped, it just occurred somewhere else.
The weekend Limelight closed, I spent time at each of the other three
main alternative Manhattan nightclubs. After years of attending Limelight, as
well as these other clubs, I felt knowledgeable enough to determine what the
results of Limelight's close were. I observed change in people's attitudes and
actions, drug use, and overall events of each night. What I saw proved that the
closing of one nightclub did not end or change the events of the night. The
other clubs were twice as packed, contained significantly more drug use, and
served as new locations for former Limelight patrons. I saw the same faces
continuing to use drugs, their determination to do this obviously unaffected by
the closed club. I also saw the negative effects of this overcrowding due to
the close of Limelight. I saw people passing out from extreme heat and fights
occurring, direct results from the massive overcrowding. Many reports of
accidents, illness, and physical problems at nightclubs are result of the
overcrowding and social conflict, but are seen through the media as a result of
illegal drug activity. Despite Limelight's closing, the amount of drug use
remained the same, the place where it occurred was the only thing changed.
As a frequent club-goer, I have experience and knowledge about what
occurs in these clubs. I have seen what draws people to them, and have observed
their actions to achieve the desired goals; whether they be social, mental,
physical, or financial/career related. From my experiences, I have learned that
nightclubs exist to help people reach these goals, but are not the only way they
can be attained. People who attend clubs to seek out drugs do so for many
different reasons, all of which still exist even if the nightclub does not.
I have seen models addicted to drugs, flocking to nightclubs to be seen
and to enjoy the euphoric effects of the music, people and attention. Yet they
have another reason for using drugs; to stay thin for their career (which
demands this look). The majority of models use drugs consistently for this
reason alone, regardless if nightclubs are a part of their lives or not.
Cultural beliefs about beauty ideals -- not anything related to night life --
causes this use of drugs.
I have seen teenagers influenced by older people, introduced and
sometimes hooked onto drugs by them. The lure of the physical "high" as well as
peer pressure and the need for acceptance all contribute to their drug use.
These reasons do not exist solely within the confines of nightclubs, rather they
are present everywhere -- in schools, on streets, basically anywhere children
are. Some children find the physical effects of drugs so wonderful, that they
will do anything to get it again. I know of children as young as 14 using
drugs alone, in their homes, in school -- many places other than nightclubs,
because their only goal is to feel the physical "high." They are unaffected by
the closing of a nightclub because they are only focused on the drug, not the
surroundings. Children struggling towards adulthood, independence, and
confidence - without wisdom or knowledge to make educated decisions, often go to
extreme lengths (drug use)to fit in.
A lot has been written about nightclub's role in our drug problem.
Many have described clubs as "drug headquarters" where anyone can go to get any
drug they want. Without these sources would drugs be harder to find? Certainly,
it would not effect the amount of drugs produced. With the same quantity to
sell, dealers (formerly inside clubs) would then be on the streets, seeking out
customers. This way, the product is more available to the general public. In
addition to those who look for drugs, those who wouldn't ordinarily want them
often end up trying them. They are introduced into drugs by are intrigue and
curiosity, as well as the clever coercion of dealers who have no qualms about
approaching anyone and everyone they can find. A drug addict always knows where
and how to get what they need. And as long as there is someone who wants a drug,
there is someone else there to supply it


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