Shoreline Sober Living, San Diego, CA
Anti-drug abuse act of 1988

The Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988 was created and introduced as part of the Federal government’s person’ War on Drugs.’ The act was to increase the penalties for those involved in using and selling illegal drugs.

The Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988 contained various changes, penalties, enhancements, and funding for the war on drugs. Not only was the focus on individuals who were out to make money by selling the illegal drugs but also on the individuals who bought and abused these drugs. The government’s answer during the late ninety was to battle the growing drug epidemic by changing the law too much stricter and harsher sentences for all involved in the drug trade.

Death of Len Bias

The unfortunate death of Len Bias helped launch the United States war on illegal drugs. Len Bias was one of the basketball stars for the University of Maryland. He had been chosen as the second overall pick in the 1989 NBA draft, where he would have the fantastic opportunity to play alongside legends such as Larry Bird. Two days after the Boston Celtics chose Len Bias, he died from cardiac arrhythmia induced by a cocaine overdose.

The tragic death of a soon-to-be legend would be the ultimate push for a bill against drugs on the streets of the United States. Shortly after Labor Day in 1986, the House passed its version of the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986. The bill was seen to have a mandatory minimum sentence for drug dealers, which also called for further life imprisonment for anyone who sold and dealt drugs that subsequently resulted from another’s death. The legislation is now commonly known and referred to as the Len Bias Laws.

Enhanced penalties for crack cocaine

One of the main drugs that the government was targetting was crack cocaine. A substance that has very similar properties to powder cocaine. Crack cocaine was targeted due to its tendency to be significantly cheaper than powder cocaine, making it a lot more desirable to lower socioeconomic demographics.

In terms of the Anti-Drug Act of 1988, individuals caught in possession of only five grams of crack cocaine would carry a minimum of five years imprisonment. At the time, it was widely believed that crack cocaine was instantly and highly addictive, with the government becoming increasingly worried it was going to lead to a severe epidemic of the so-called referred to ‘crack babies.’ We need to note that those claims seem to have been wildly exaggerated at the time.

The death penalty

The 1988 Anti-Drug Abuse act additionally had legislation that included a provision that was at times referred to as the ‘Drug kingpin,” which inevitably was the death penalty for any individual or group of individuals involved in murdering civilians when carrying out certain drug trafficking activities.

Legal repulsions for drug possession today

Substances deemed problematic to the broader population will have a negative impact on the areas we live in, and socializing can come with heavy and severe legal consequences with effects that could last a lifetime and completely change an individual’s life.

In the United States, if individuals are caught engaging with illegal behaviors involving drugs will face a variety of severe consequences, which can include but is not limited to:

  • Community service
  • Probation
  • Heavy fines
  • Time in jail or federal prison
  • A criminal record that most likely will hurt your ability to maintain a job, get approved for college loans, own a gun, join the military, and vote
  • Other forms of confinement such as house arrest

Jails are filled with individuals who were charged with crimes relating to drugs. Some individuals are in prison for selling drugs, while others are behind bars for more deathly involvement in the drug business. In 2012 alone, judges within the United States sentenced nearly 95,000 individuals to prison for drug-related charges.

Penalties for drug abuse and possession-based on

A range of factors will determine the penalties surrounding drug-related charges:

  • Type of substance
  • Amount of the essence in question
  • Prior encounters with the law enforcement
  • Activities the individual was engaging in

Individuals who are caught and have repeatedly committed serious crimes with large amounts of lethal and dangerous drugs are significantly more at risk of receiving a harsher penalty from the judge.

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