Social Question

Vortico's avatar

Besides the obvious disadvantage of betraying my friends, should I report instances of drug abuse to the police and local authorities?

Asked by Vortico (3123points) October 7th, 2011

I’m a bit angry that drugs can cause so many problems and how easily people can buy them and get away with using them. It seems to be destroying their personality and preventing them from having success in the future. I want to change this, but I’m wondering if reporting marijuana, drug use, underage drinking and smoking, etc. to the police would be a lost cause.

Would this even be the right choice? How would one even go about doing this? Finally, would it solve problems in society and possibly in the drug users’ lives?

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25 Answers

Aethelflaed's avatar

Just no. Everyone, from the police to the underage drinkers to you, has better things to do with their time, and no one actually benefits from this.

Response moderated (Writing Standards)
Bellatrix's avatar

Well I don’t think smoking is illegal for a start. Underage drinking etc. yes, however informing on your friends is pretty much guaranteed to leave you with no friends. If you want to do something about the harm drug use does, why not volunteer at a drug rehabilitation centre or do something positive to help people who are addicted?

JLeslie's avatar

Is under age under 18? Send an anonymous note to their parents if you want to try and do something to change the course they are on. Or, tell your parents and let them decide what is best.

Actually, what I would really advise you is find new friends. Distance yourself from them if they are going down a destructive path. You won’t be able help them most likely.

bkcunningham's avatar

Are they driving under the influence?

Vortico's avatar

Thank you for all the responses to shed some light on the topic. However, I should change a few of my points to clarify a few few things.

Underage drinking isn’t really an issue with the people I know—I suppose I just randomly added that to the list. The problems are mainly coming from marijuana use, cocaine, narcotics, and all that.

Also, these people are not so much “friends” as they are acquaintances. I have two actual friends, and neither of them apply to the drug use issues. I just find myself witnessing and experiencing some of the social effects of what drugs do to your mind.

Aethelflaed's avatar

@Vortico How much pot are we talking? How much cocaine? Are we talking about being high 24/7, or every now and again at a party?

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

That all depends on whether you believe ‘the police and local authorities’ do squat about decreasing drug use.

TexasDude's avatar

A good rule of thumb is to MYOB unless people are directly threatening the well-being of others.

bkcunningham's avatar

If they are driving under the influence and I was a witness to the fact, I’d report the tag number and vehicle to the police.

Blackberry's avatar

I don’t even know where to start…...

Who the hell are you to impose your beliefs on others? Get your own life. There’s people doing drugs right now, all around the world, and you can’t do anything about it.

lillycoyote's avatar

I would absolutely not take this approach. You won’t really change anything and you could damage or even destroy these peoples’ lives in ways more serious than the drugs do. If you know for a fact that someone is either driving under the influence or is seriously endangering the welfare of their children, then yes, consider reporting it, at least think about it, but otherwise no, no, no. It is not your place to decide for these people how drugs may or may not be “damaging” their lives. It is not your place to put them in a position where they risk losing their jobs, losing their children, losing their property or going to jail. And as @Bellatrix mentions if you really care, if you really want to do something about the problem, then see if you can’t find some sort of drug treatment program where you can volunteer.

The solution to drug abuse is not arrest and jail. Contrary to what many people seem to believe, drug abuse, and I am talking about abuse and not merely use, is a public health problem and in my opinion shouldn’t be criminalized. You will not help anyone by getting them thrown in jail.

tinyfaery's avatar

You’re a buzz kill.

Why do you feel the need to intrude upon other’s lives? Maybe you should become a narc.

wundayatta's avatar

Waste of time reporting it to the police. Unless it’s a schoolteacher corrupting minors, I doubt if the police will be interested. Second of all, it is a very rare policeman who has any sympathy for drug users and who will help them get help. Their answer to all problems is to thrown the perp in jail. If you wanted to find an environment to keep a user using, you couldn’t find a better place than a jail.

Vortico's avatar

There now seems to be just one consensus. Rather than trying to fix the problem myself, I should just leave them behind, no matter how much impact they have on my own life. There does seem to be a reason that drug use is illegal, but maybe that is a more complex matter than simply to benefit the greater good.

This raises another question. Am I really that much of a radical thinker..?

JLeslie's avatar

@Vortico Part of the reason drug use is illegal is because the pharmaceutical companies don’t want competition. That is just one reason out of many.

When I was in college my university charged a $5 fine for smoking marijuana. Needless to say the campus police rarely cared about answering a call about a dorm room being a big fog.

Blackberry's avatar

@Vortico Alcohol is a drug, and marijuana is illegal for political and economic reasons.

lillycoyote's avatar

@Vortico Not all drug use is illegal. Two perfectly legal drugs, alcohol and tobacco wreak a lot more havoc and pain and misery on peoples’ lives and on families than all illegal drug abuse combined. You might want to educate yourself on that and think about it. And when celebrities or even suburban soccer moms get addicted to prescription narcotics they usually have access to treatment, whereas street addicts who get addicted to illegal street drugs, to illegal narcotics, get thrown in jail, merely because the narcotic they happen to have access to and get addicted to is illegal. The process, the mechanism, the addiction to something like oxycontin is no different than that of being addicted to heroin. One is legally available with a prescription and one is illegal.

Alcoholism and alcohol abuse cause far more damage, of all kinds, than the use, abuse and addiction to illegal drugs do, yet we as a society, generally look at alcoholics, alcohol addicts, as people in need of treatment while we look at the abusers, the addicts of illegal drugs as criminals to be thrown in jail. An addict is an addict, a substance abuser is a substance abuser. What is the difference, other than some substances are illegal and some are not? It certainly has nothing to do with how dangerous the drugs are or how much damage they cause.

woodcutter's avatar

Sooner or later they will hang themselves with their own rope anyway. The trick is to not be with them when they do it. Avoid these people any way you can if drug use bugs you because if they, when they, get popped you don’t want them thinking you had anything to do with it. That would be bad.

Aethelflaed's avatar

@Vortico No one said you shouldn’t do anything. If these people are harming you, then don’t hang out with them (many people already said this). If you see people treating you like crap when high, then by all means have a talk with them and say “When you smoke weed, you then (for example) get in fights with me and call me names, and that’s not ok”. The consensus was that the specific action involving reporting them to the police was ineffective at best, and actively harmful (and more so than the actual drug use) at worst.

jrpowell's avatar

Go for it if you like having no friends.

martianspringtime's avatar

I really don’t think that cops fining/jailing people for having marijuana does anything positive for anybody. If you’re worried about your friends, I would advise actually talking to them rather than just informing on them. Some drugs might prevent them from becoming successful, but I think if you got them arrested, that might have an effect as well?

If you’re primarily talking about weed, I personally think it’s completely pointless to get them into any kind of trouble or even really be concerned about them.

GabrielsLamb's avatar

Honestly, and this might sound like a cop out… But I don’t get involved to that extreme in anyone else’s business unless it reflects negatively on me, or screws with me, or my life in some way.

The cops don’t do anything but take bad situations and make them worse. Telling someone’s family doesn’t ever stop the person from doing whatever they are going to do anyway. People have to go through what they do and it might best serve them if you were a friend, instead of a narc if they aren’t trying to mess up your life in any way, force drugs on you, steal from you, or risk getting you into trouble… And even still, your choice to walk away when all of the information you need is right there in lieu of the potential risk to you is an option that would remove you and hurt no one by your actions.

I believe that people have to live their own damn lives and make their own choices, getting the law involved will just make them hate you if they weren’t hurting you.
Seriously, it’s useless and a waste of time.

If you can’t influence your own friends in a positive way… Maybe you should just get new friends instead?

People are going to do what they feel they need to do, we all like to believe we influence others in positive ways, mostly we don’t, but if that’s the way you want to go… I can assure you the chances are slim that it will change or prove anything and statistically it may make it all worse?

Prison doesn’t rehabilitate people… it turns minor infractions into jail time which turns otherwise okay people into animals.

Soupy's avatar

I would not report things like this, unless the users were children. I believe that adults should have the right to do what they like with their own bodies, so long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else.

Besides, do you really think law enforcement will help these people? Going to prison won’t help people with drug habits, it just ruins their lives.

Sinqer's avatar

This is a matter of personal ethics, morals, and so forth… a subjective judgement, if you are to make one. I wouldn’t make one. I agree with individual freedom, so if they want to use the stuff, I would let them, but I would also let them suffer the consequences when they arrived. And though I wouldn’t alert the police, I would certainly refuse to be party to the proceedings, because among those consequences that might arise, getting busted by the police is one of them.

If I cared about the people, be it from an ethical detached perspective or personal one, I would talk to them about it… express my concerns, and then let them decide for themselves as equals in control of their own decisions, rewards, and consequences.

Freedom to reap rewards is also the freedom to suffer the consequences, that’s what being an adult is all about, making decisions for yourself.

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