Social Equity in a Time of Change
Edited By Richard Greggory Johnson III
Chapter Six: China’s History of Brutal Response to Drug Addiction and Trafficking
Worldwide drug addiction, or what The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th ed., DSM–5, American Psychiatric Association, 2013) now terms “substance use disorder,” reached epidemic proportions by the end of the 20th cen- tury. Systems that have emerged to supply the demand for more drugs are now a global phenomenon that has operations on nearly every continent and threatens the stability of the global economy. A 1997 study by the United Nations found that global distribution in heroin, cocaine, marijuana, and amphetamines supplied 51 million users, creating a $400 billion industry covering 8 percent of world trade (McCoy, 2000). According to one expert, “transnational crime has become a seri- ous international security issue… [that] can pose a direct threat to the political sovereignty of the state [due to] the capacity to undermine and subvert the author- ity and legitimacy of governments” (Dupont, 1999). There is a grave concern that this pervasive criminal activity can erode the economies of developing nations because both ordinary people and officials have become accustomed to operating without regard to laws and regulations, thereby diminishing the capacity of the state (Dupont, 1999, p. 436). The greatest demand is for heroin, a morphine deriv- ative, with opium from the poppy plant as its original source. This is not the first time drug use and trafficking has been a problem for mul- tiple societies. Most human societies have used drugs for a variety of reasons that include medicinal purposes, religious rituals, as well as a...
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