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You Are Here: Home > Essay Topics > Health Essays and Research Papers > Drugs and Drug Abuse  

  Drugs and Drug Abuse

Today, child abuse and neglect is widely recognized as a major social problem and policy issue in the United States and throughout much of the world. During the last 50 years, the United States and many of the world's nations have responded to child abuse and neglect with legislative efforts, a variety of programs and interventions, and organizational efforts to identify, respond to and prevent the abuse and neglect of dependent children. Today, there are innumerable local, national and international organizations, professional societies and advocacy groups devoted to preventing and treating child abuse and neglect.

While international concern about child maltreatment is relatively new, child abuse and neglect is not a recent phenomenon. The maltreatment of children has manifested itself in nearly every conceivable manner--physically, emotionally, sexually and by forced child labor (Ten Bensel, Rheinberger and Radbill, 1997). Historians have been able to document the occurrence of various forms of the mistreatment of children back to the beginnings of recorded history. In some ancient cultures, children had no rights until the right to live was bestowed upon them by their fathers. The right to live was sometimes withheld by fathers, and newborns were abandoned or left to die. Although we do not have the means to know how commonplace abandonment or killing was, we do know that infanticide was widely accepted among ancient and prehistoric cultures. Newborns and infants could be put to death because they cried too much, because they were sickly or deformed, or because of some perceived imperfection. Girls, twins and children of unmarried women were the special targets of infanticide (Robin, 1980).

Many societies subjected their offspring to survival tests. Some Native Americans threw their newborns into pools of water and rescued them only if they rose to the surface and cried. German parents also plunged children into icy waters as a test of fitness to live (Ten Bensel, Rheinberger and Radbill, 1997). Greek parents exposed their children to natural elements as a survival test.

Survival tests and infanticide were not the only abuses inflicted by generations of parents. From prehistoric times to the present, children have been mutilated, beaten and maltreated. Such treatment was not only condoned but was often mandated as the most appropriate child-rearing method. Children were, and continue to be, hit with rods, canes and switches. Boys have been castrated to produce eunuchs. Girls have been, and continue to be, subjected to genital surgery or mutilation as part of culturally approved ritual. Colonial parents were implored to "beat the devil" out of their children (Greven, 1991; Straus, 1994).

Summing up the plight of children from prehistoric times until the present, David Bakan comments that "Child abuse thrives in the shadows of privacy and secrecy. It lives by inattention" (Bakan, 1971).

Worldwide, there is no universally agreed upon definition of what constitutes child abuse (or child maltreatment), although each country has its own definition of child abuse. In its broadest sense, the term child abuse refers to any harm, physical or emotional, that is done intentionally to a child. Abuse may include physical assault, sexual exploitation and verbal or emotional assault. Some states include the presence of controlled substances in a child at birth or in the child's home as a form of child abuse. No state bans corporal punishment as of this writing, although some states prohibit extreme corporal punishment.

Child abuse also encompasses child neglect, which is the most common form of child maltreatment, and which can lead to severe injuries or even fatalities among infants and young children.

Traditionally, child abuse has been limited to the actions of a parent/guardian or other person responsible for a child's welfare. Crimes committed against children by strangers or by other children were not, strictly speaking, known as child abuse. More recently, however, child abuse statutes in many states have expanded their state laws to encompass teachers, day-care workers and others who are responsible for the out-of-home care of children.

References:

1) Bakan, D. The Slaughter of the Innocents. Boston: Beacon Press, 1971.

2) Greven, P. Spare the Child: The Religious Roots of Punishment and the Psychological Impact of Physical Abuse. New York: Knopf, 1990.

3) Robin, M. "Historical introduction: Sheltering arms: The roots of child protection." In E. Newberger, ed. Child Abuse. Boston: Little, Brown, 1980, pp. 1-41.

4) Straus, M. A. Beating the Devil out of Them: Corporal Punishment in American Families. New York: Lexington Books, 1994.

5) Ten Bensel, R. L., M. Rheinberger, and S. X. Radbill. "Children in a world of violence: The roots of child maltreatment." In M. E. Heifer, R. S. Kempe, and R. D. Krugman, eds. The Battered Child. 4th ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1997, pp. 3-28.

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Essay on Stimulant Drugs Abuse
Stimulant Drugs Abuse Research Paper, Custom Essays and Term Papers Writing on Health. The stimulants are some of the most commonly used drugs throughout the world. They include legal and illegal variants. Since the legal drug caffeine, found in coffee and sodas, is ubiquitous and socially accepted, some people don't realize that it is indeed a drug. Stimulants can be found in cold and flu preparations where they are used as bronchodilators and to counteract the sedation of antihistamines. Stimulants are promoted on television as weight reduction pills, although their effectiveness is extremely short-lived and of little true help. Stimulants such as cocaine and the amphetamines are ever-present street drugs. Modifications in route of administration have given the world crack cocaine and ice amphetamine...
Essay on Stimulant Drugs Abuse » 
Essay on Cocaine: A Drug and Society
Cocaine: A Drug and Society Research Paper, Custom Essays and Term Papers Writing on Health. Because cocaine is illegal, everything about its social status remains half-concealed; because the large-scale interest in it is so recent, there has been little time for a new descriptive literature to accumulate. It is impossible to find out the true extent of the illicit traffic; no substantial public surveys on cocaine use and users are available; even arrest statistics are unreliable, because the Federal Bureau of Investigation continues to lump cocaine with opiates (as a "narcotic") in its Uniform Crime Reports. Most important of all, the situation is changing fast; no stable pattern has yet emerged either in the use of the drug or in attitudes toward it. What we write today may seem naive or outdated...
Essay on Cocaine: A Drug and Society » 
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