There is a compelling need to control the use of drugs, alcohol and other forms of psychoactive substances by individuals and groups in a given population over time. There are two approaches to this – one relates to demand reduction activities and the other that relates to the international interdiction activities of and by citizens of a country. Thus, drug use (and trafficking) must be seen, first of all, as a major social problem. If drug use by the population and trafficking in it are viewed as serious social, economic and political obstacles to the nation, then to that extent can steps to stall such activities be effectively coordinated and monitored.
It is well known, the world over, that drug and alcohol abuse affect not only the individual, but also the individuals family, his relations, friends and the community in which they live. In other words, an individual loses his health to drugs and alcohol, incurs losses in the form of family breakdown, increases likelihood of involvement in criminal behaviours, demand for social and legal and health care and services and involves in criminality to finance and sustain addiction.
The economic impacts of drug abuse are myriad. They range from distortions of the national economy generally, to specifically frustrating economic plans, monetary controls, inflation and devaluation. Colombia, Bolivia, Mexico, Panama and even the United States of America at various times have witnessed such trends especially due to money laundering. Politically, criminal activities are known to be financed to undermine legitimate business, corrupting public institutions and officials of government; and this makes it hard, if not impossible, to control drug use and abuse. Where government officials and drug barons are known to co-exist, drug control campaigns are frustrated and prevented while insurgencies are supported.