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Drug abuse

Drug Abuse

Drug abuse is one of the most discouraged behaviors in our country. Use of illegal drugs is harmful to the user and all those with whom the user comes in contact. There are over 40 million illegal drug users in the world today and America is the biggest market for drugs. There are more drug dealers in this country, than there are dentists. Illegal drug abuse must be stopped. Every type of insurance goes up because of drug abuse, including auto, health and homeowners. Worst of all, the crime rate will sky rocket if we let this behavior continue. Illegal drugs and their abusers are a plague to society for many different reasons. Drugs have very harmful effects on the user and the people with whom the user interacts. The user is affected in many ways. The most popular drug in America, alcohol, is generally thought of as socially acceptable and relatively harmless. But it can have devastating effects. Alcohol might seem very harmless but it can harm the user very easily. Alcohol is easy to obtain and consume. It is taken as a beverage, and since it is legal, it can be purchased at the corner store. The immediate effects on the user are relaxation and a slight anesthetic effect. Alcohol is a very addictive drug. There are more than 18 million alcoholics in America, an indication of how widespread its harmful effects are. Alcoholics normally drink a lot on mornings and weeknights, times which separate them for normal "social" drinkers. Often, the alcohol will bring out a violent temper in alcoholics. They may physically and mentally abuse their friends and family. Drinking makes the drinker feel he or she is more confident. The drinker thinks he is in control, even if a little high, and he might get behind the wheel of his car and go for a drive. Drunk driving is deadly. Hundreds of thousands of people get killed every year due to drunk driving. Other physical effects of drinking are vomiting, passing out and sometimes, if enough alcohol is consumed over a long enough period of time, or if mixed with other drugs, death. Marijuana is a popular, and illegal, drug. Its largest consumers are young adults. Marijuana is smoked in a pipe or rolled in a cigarette. Thirty-seven percent of people between ages 12-17 have tried marijuana. Marijuana gives a slight buzzing feeling of light-headedness. Experimentation with marijuana is dangerous because studies show that 60% of people who smoke marijuana on a regular basis move on to try harder drugs soon after. Marijuana tends to diminish the ambition and motivation in the user. In the long run, it may cause lung cancer and other respiratory problems. Cocaine is another popular, illegal, street drug. Cocaine is snorted or smoked as " crack"(a cheaper and, as a result of being so affordable, more addictive way). Cocaine gives the user a sense of well-being and extra energy. Cocaine is one of the most dangerous drugs. In 1995, over 500,000 emergency room accidents were cocaine- related. Cocaine is one of the worst drugs because it causes respiratory illness and kills mucus membranes. Heroin is the most addictive dangerous illegal drug on the streets. You'll become a so- called "junkie" if you use it. It affects the hygiene and personal appearance of the user a great deal, because nothing is as important to the user anymore as where that next hit will come from. Heroin is injected and sometimes snorted. It causes great euphoria, but also nausea and vomiting. Like any street drug, its user does not know what potency he is getting from batch to batch. Therefore, there is always the risk that he will overdose and die. Withdrawal from heroin can cause severe illness and death. Drug abuse leads to all sorts of other crimes. Drug addicts need money to support their habits, and all users, addicts or casual users, are careless and reckless when under the influence. Drug users commit property crimes, such as robbing a house or a store. Drug users also commit personal crimes, like mugging, armed robbery and even murder. Drug use, itself, can be a crime. It makes innocent citizens scared to walk out of their own homes, in their own neighborhoods. Drug abuse is a plague to society. Drug abuse drains society's resources by requiring that taxes be spent on funding enforcement agencies, educational programs and treatment facilities and on prosecution of drug users and dealers. Drugs hurt future generations of citizens, because drug abuse, particularly of marijuana, is predominantly a problem among teens and teens are our future. Our society is hurt economically because every year millions of American dollars leave this country illegally, invested in places such as Turkey and Colombia, as a result of Americans trafficking in the drug trades of those countries. Drug abuse must be stopped. We should attack the supply and demand. We should keep drugs from entering the country and incarcerate dealers and smugglers. To attack the demand, we should educate young people on the risk of bodily harm, mental harm and the damage to family and relationships. Legalization of some less harmful drugs, such as marijuana, might help reduce the crimes associated with them, but it would be hard to regulate and legalization would only eliminate some of the direct criminal results, not the actual harm of the drug. Drug abuse is a plague to society and must be stopped. It is hurting our country by causing increased crime and soaring insurance rates, stealing tax dollars, hurting families, and hurting children. If fighting drug abuse were made a top priority, we could probably wage an effective war, through education and enforcement of laws, to stop drug abuse.

Drug abuse takes a toll on society that can only be partially measured. While we are able to estimate the number of drug-related crimes that occur each year, we can never determine fully the extent to which the quality of life in America’s neighborhoods has been diminished by drug-related criminal behavior. With the exception of drug-related homicides, which have declined in recent years, drug-related crime is continuing at a strong and steady pace. Numerous Drug-Related Arrests Occur Each Year. In 1994, state and local law enforcement agencies made an estimated 1.14 million arrests for drug law violations. The largest percentage of these arrests was for drug possession (75.1 percent). Arrestees Frequently Test Positive for Recent Drug Use. The National Institute of Justice Drug Use Forecasting (DUF) program calculates the percentage of arrested individuals whose urine indicates drug use. In 1995, DUF data collected from male arrestees in twenty-three cities showed that the percentage testing positive for any drug ranged from 51 percent to 83 percent. Female arrestees ranged from 41 percent to 84 percent. Among males, arrestees charged with drug possession or sale, were most likely to test positive for drug use. Among females, arrestees charged with prostitution, drug possession or sale, were most likely to test positive for drug use. Both males and females arrested for robbery, burglary, and stealing vehicles had high positive rates. Drug offenders crowd the nation’s prisons and Jails. At midyear 1996, there were 93,167 inmates in federal prisons, 1,019,281 in state prisons, and 518,492 in jails. In 1994, 59.5 percent of federal prisoners were drug offenders as were 22.3 percent of the inmates in state prisons. The increase in drug offenders accounts for nearly three quarters of the total growth in federal prison inmates since 1980. Most drug offenders are imprisoned for possessing more drugs than possibly could be consumed by one individual distributing drugs or committing serious crimes related to drug sales. In 1995, for example, only 4,040 people were sentenced in federal courts for marijuana-related charges and 89.1 percent of those offenders were facing trafficking charges. Inmates in federal and state prisons were often under the influence of drugs when they committed offenses. A 1991 survey of federal and state prisons, found that drug offenders, burglars, and robbers in state prisons were the most likely to report being under the influence of drugs while committing crimes. Inmates in state prisons who had been convicted of homicide, assault, and public order offenses were least likely to report being under the influence of drugs. With the exception of burglars, federal prison inmates were less likely than state inmates to have committed offenses under the influence of drugs. Offenders often commit offenses to support drug habits. According to a 1991 joint survey of federal and state prison inmates, an estimated 10 percent of federal prisoners and 17 percent of state prisoners reported committing offenses in order to pay for drugs. Drug trafficking generates violent crime. Trafficking in illicit drugs is often associated with violent crime. Reasons for this relationship include competition for drug markets and customers, disputes among individuals involved with illegal drugs, and the location of drug markets in disadvantaged areas where legal and social controls against violence tend to be ineffective. The use of lethal weapons in recent years has also made drug violence more deadly. Drug-related homicides have declined. There was a steady decline in drug-related homicide between 1989 and 1995. The Uniform Crime Reports (UCR) indicated that of 21,597 homicides committed in 1995 in which the circumstances of the crime were known, 1,010 (or 4.7 percent) involved drugs. This figure was significantly lower than 7.4 percent in 1989. Drug trafficking generates tens of billions of dollars a year. The total amount of money involved cannot be calculated precisely. In September 1996, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) estimated that 60 percent of the money laundering cases it investigated during that fiscal year were drug-related.

The repetitive death of drug users has become an everyday phenomenon that most of us have gotten used to. The number of the victims has increased rapidly. There has been an alarming increase in drug abuse in college. Many students take cocaine, heroine, LSD, hash, crack, and other drugs. All of these illegal substances provoke addiction. There are different reasons why students turn to drugs. Firstly, the alienated interpersonal --relationships has decreased the esoteric communication between people. The hostile environment of the megalopolis has worsen the communicational impasse and has attacked the psychic equilibrium of individuals. Secondly, the faulty function of the family; the chasm between them, turns young people to other types of ‘families’ of the demiworld. Even overprotection some times makes them ask for a gateway. Thirdly, the imitation of musicians and actors can lead many young people to drugs, as they are trying to look alike them. Nevertheless, as we now, today all this staff about being ‘cool’, affects mostly young people and it is more obvious in places where there are many gathered, like in college. Moreover, another reason can be the fact of the provocative easiness to find drugs in college, whenever and whatever drug you want. Finally, a disappointment from a relationship or school, for example a fail in the finals, can be a good reason for those young people to turn in to drugs. For this bad situation that exists in our college, counselors and teachers have to undertake control. They have to inform and consult students about the danger of taking drugs. Also, college besides of education has to try to nourish a positive personality. This will succeed with the existence of corporation between students and teachers, the reinforcement of activity leading, the growth of positive thinking and ensurance of freely expression of students. Teachers and counselors have to penetrate into young people’s problems and try to help them, by showing to them that they care and they are willing to help them. In addition, an introduction of a club with the corporation of teachers and students with an ulterior target to talk about problems that are annoying them organizing exhibitions that will inform substantially about dangers of drug abuse, visiting centers of detoxification to see with their own eyes the truth about drugs. Hence, young people constitute the warranty for a better future. Consequently, every investment of love and care we to them it will attribute in the future. None of our tries will go to the trash.

Drug use is part of life in the United States. Some people use drugs for medical purposes and some use them to escape from reality or as a way to cope with problems. There are two main types of drugs, medicines and psychoactive drugs. Medicines are used to help the body fight injury and psychoactive drugs are used to cause a change in the users brain activity. Psychoactive drugs are very dangerous. They produce very powerful changes in the body. What a drug does is called its action and unwanted effects are called side effects. The side effects of a psychoactive drug can range from uncomfortable to life threatening. Abuse of a psychoactive drug often results in dependence or addiction where the body needs the drug to function normally. Withdrawal happens when the body is reacting to not having the drug. Withdrawal can be very painful. There are many risks of using drugs besides what they do to you. You can get AIDS from sharing needles, it can cause mental and physical problems in babies, family relationships can be strained, there are sever legal risks, and there are major cost to society. There are many reason why people us drugs. There are 3 major factors that contribute to the risk of drug abuse in teens. Those factors are family, social, and personal. A family risk factor is poor relationships with family members. If teens have close relationships with their family member they are less likely to experiment with drugs. But if parents do no guide their children and are not supportive of them then they might alienate from the family and feel closer to peers so they are more vulnerable to drug abuse. Social factors are peer pressure. Your friends urge you to try a drug and you do it to be "accepted". Another factor is personal factors. These are stress, low self-esteem and lack of confidence that can place a teen at risk. Drugs are categorized into their actions. The 3 main types of actions are depressants, stimulants, and hallucinogens. Depressants slow down the heart rate and breathing rate, lower blood pressure, relax muscles, and relieve tension. An example of a depressant would be heroin. Stimulants speed up body activity. And example of a stimulant is cocaine. Hallucinogens alter perception, thought, and mood and have no medical use. An example of a hallucinogen is LSD. Some drugs are made to look like other drugs and then sold on the street as the drug they resemble. These are called look-alike-drugs and can contain any kind of substance. Before a drug abuser can be helped they must first admit that they have a problem. Then they can seek treatment. There are different ways to treat drug abuse one is called detoxification. This program involves gradual but complete withdrawal from the substance. Another treatment method is called therapeutic communities. In this treatment, drug abusers live in a facility and learn to adjust to drug free lives. Another type of treatment is methadone maintenance treatment. In this treatment, users are given a drug called methadone that produces the same affect as heroin but does not have the same high as heroin. This treatment involves substituting methadone for heroin. Staying clean of drugs is a difficult decision when you are faced with peer pressure. But you can void drugs in your life by just being honest and saying no. Also, try to manage you stress level this will help you to avoid drugs. There are many alternatives to drug use. You could play sports, get involved in various groups and organizations can help you gain self esteem and self-confidence. Do something that makes you happy so you can be drug free and be in control f your life

Drug prohibition is expensive, does not work, and causes more harms than the behavior it is intended to suppress, therefore the war on drugs should end and the legalization should begin. In 1999 alone, the government issued a whopping $17.1 billion towards the war on drugs. That’s roughly $600 per second. According to the United Nations, profits in illegal drugs are so inflated, that three-quarters of all drug shipments would have to be intercepted to seriously reduce the profitability of the business. Current efforts only intercept 13% of heroin shipments and 28%-40% of cocaine shipments. Obviously international drug businesses aren’t getting very hurt by our $17.1 billion war on drugs project, so why even waste the money? That money must have been obtained from our tax dollars considering that 60 percent of all U.S. inmates are drug offenders. Obviously the $17.1 billion didn’t help very much, because the percent of imprisoned drug offenders still remains steady. In federal

court today, low-level crack dealers and first-time offenders sentenced for trafficking of crack cocaine receive an average sentence of 10 years and six months. This is only 18% less than the average prison sentence received by those who committed murder or manslaughter, 59% longer than the average prison sentence received by rapists, 38% longer than the average prison sentence received by those guilty of weapons offenses. A person is arrested every 20 seconds for drug violations in America. The number of female inmates has tripled since last year, and the majority of them are low-level drug offenders. 80 percent of all female prisoners are mothers, and 70 percent are single parents and drug offender. I wonder why so many children are neglected?

All this can change if we are willing to experiment and break away from an orthodox style of thinking and governing. Obviously the war on drugs isn’t working, so it’s now time for a new solution, but first we must be willing to agree as a society to accept the fact that drugs do exist, and that they will continue to exist until the end of time. Drugs that are currently legal and socially accepted in our society such as tobacco and alcohol are the leading causes of all deaths in America. Annually tobacco kills 430,700, alcohol 110,640, adverse reactions to prescription drugs 106,000, suicide 30,575, homicide 18,272, all licit and illicit drug-induced deaths 16,926, non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin 7,600, and marijuana 0. Tobacco and alcohol are the leading causes of death in America yet licit and illicit drugs and marijuana are amongst the lowest causes of deaths in America. Over 75 million Americans have tried marijuana, 25 million have tried cocaine, 5.9 million have tried crack, 3.05 million have tried heroin, and more than 87.7 million Americans aged 12 or over have used an illicit drug at least once. Obviously prohibition is not the answer, because as long as there are drugs, than there are users.

Although we know the effects of drugs can be harmful, it is still our decision to use or abuse them. The use of drugs should still be part of our liberty that we are all granted in part of being American. Many other products that we all use daily can be potentially hazardous, but it is still in our liberty that we are able to use them. However if the government were to legalize drugs they would only be sold in their safest, cleanest and purest form. A large part of drug related deaths occur largely from the use of laced drugs. When drugs are bought off of the street, especially from unknown sources, they can be extremely dangerous and can easily cause sudden death. Use of crack by the urban poor and the criminal market for crack have become the most feared problems of drug abuse. A 27-year-old man from San Francisco, California quoted, "Heroin may be safe, maybe. But if you’re gonna buy it on the street, chances are it’s gonna be cut with aspirin, or powdered milk, or rat poison, or speed, or Comet...and all that s#[email protected] is so bad for you!" Also, many diseases are spread through the use of needles and then sharing them amongst other drug users. The spread of infectious disease like AIDS and hepatitis through syringe sharing by injection drug users is one of the most serious threats to public health being faced today. More than a third of all reported AIDS cases in the U.S., had contracted AIDS directly or indirectly through shared needles, drug injectors, their sexual partners, and their children, over 128,000 had died. The government could easily slow down the spread of disease through needles simply by selling heroine for example in a certain dose, packaged with a needle intended for one time use. Therefore when the user returns for another package, he/she gets a new needle, and disposes old needle because it’s use is pointless.

These drugs should however be strictly regulated and not made available to just anyone. Just like tobacco and alcohol, an age limit must be required before the drugs can be purchased. Also a limit on the sale of certain drugs to any one person is a possibility as well. If drugs became legal and sold and taxed by the government, then they could definitely make a pretty penny off of them. Drugs, legal or illegal undoubtedly consume the largest market amongst all consumer products in the world. The cost of drugs, if sold by the government, would be substantially less than the street cost. Street value is much highest than the actual value of the drug mainly because of the risk involved with the transfer from grower or maker to distributor, from distributor to seller, and from seller to buyer. If drugs were cheaper legal, than no one would want to buy drugs off of the street anymore. This would basically put a stop to street drug dealing, which would be extremely beneficial in many ways. Violence caused from drug selling would virtually diminish. Drugs would be much more difficult to obtain for kids, which in essence could help kids focus and stay in school. Also, if street drug sellers went extinct, then they would basically be forced to work legitimately, creating an increase in employment and in some ways a decrease in poverty. These positive attributes and benefits of the legalization of street drugs would of course come over time but it would be well worth the wait.


The D.A.R.E. program is something that we are almost all familiar with, but how beneficial is it really? No that I think about it, DARE only teaches you that drugs exist and it introduces them to you at a very early age. I realized that I was basically right after I found a study performed by Dr. Dennis Rosenbaum, a professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago. After completing a six-year study of 1,798 students, she found that "DARE had no long-term effects on a wide range of drug use measures"; DARE does not "prevent drug use at the stage in adolescent development when drugs become available and are widely used, namely during the high school years"; and that DARE may actually be counter productive. According to the study, "there is some evidence of a boomerang effect among suburban kids. That is, suburban students who were DARE graduates scored higher than suburban students in the Control group on all four major drug use measures."

Legalized drugs and the Netherlands:

In 1995 there were only 2.4 drug-related deaths per million inhabitants in the Netherlands. The number of addicts remains steady at around 25,000 people. The percent of kids 10-18 that have tried marijuana in the U.S. is more than double the percent of kids that have tried it in the Netherlands. The percent of Dutch kids that have tried marijuana has dropped substantially for the first time in 16 years, but it is definitely a sign of progress. While the percent goes down in Denmark, the percent goes up in America. Also heroin has nearly been taken out of the hands of kids largely due to the policy of separating the users markets for hard drugs and soft drugs. The average age of heroin addicts is 36. 4.5 percent of the population of Netherlands has smoked marijuana in the past year, 6 percent has done cocaine, and only 0.1 percent has done heroin. That’s pretty darn low considering that marijuana is sold in coffee shops.

Drug Policy in the Netherlands: "The main aim of the drugs policy in the Netherlands is to protect the health of individual users, the people around them, and society as a whole. Priority is given to vulnerable groups, and to young people in both the demand and supply of drugs. Active policies on care and prevention are being pursued to reduce the demand for drugs, while a war is being waged on organized crime in an attempt to curb supplies. A third aim of policy is to tackle drug-related nuisance and to maintain public order. The Netherlands now has twenty years experience at working with these policies on drugs."

ALCOHOL AND DRUG ABUSE Alcohol and drug abuse is one of biggest problems in United States today. It is not only a personal problem that dramatically affects individuals' life but is a major social problem that affects society as whole. "Drug and alcohol abuse", these phrases we hear daily on the radio, television or in discussions of social problem. But what do they mean or what do we think and understand by it? Most of us don't really view drug or alcohol use as a problem, if that includes your grandmother taking two aspirins when she has a headache or your friends having few beers or drinks on Saturday night. What we really mean is that some drugs or alcohol are being used by some people or in some situations constitute problem with which our society must deal. It becomes a real problem when using or I should say abusing drugs cause accidents, antisocial behavior, broken relationships, family instability, crime and violence, poverty, unsafe streets and highways, worker absenteeism and nonproductivity, and the most tragic one death. The situation in which the drug or alcohol uses accurse often makes all the difference. The clearest example is the drinking of alcohol, when individual begins to drink during the job, at school, or in the morning, we have evidence that indicates a potential drinking problem. If a person takes narcotic drug because he just wrecked his knee while his physician prescribed playing football and the drug, most of us would be not concerned. If, on the other hand, he took the Same drug on his own just because he likes the way it makes him feel, then we should begin to worry about him developing dependence. Even use of illegal drugs are sometimes acceptable, but it also depends on situation, for example in some countries smoking marijuana is legal just like drinking alcohol in United States. Some subcultures even in United States that accept the use of illegal drugs may distinguish between acceptable and unacceptable situation, some college age groups might accept marijuana smoking at a party on weekends, but not just before going to a calculus class. Most of people would accept a fact that a bartender or a waiter who is working at a night club is having a beer or a drink on his break or that a landscape worker is having a cold beer with his lunch on a hot summer day. I'm not saying that it is "OK" but we wouldn't complain abut it or pay any attention to it. On the other hand we all would be totally shocked to see a school bus driver having the same bottle of a cold beer with his lunch on a hot summer day, or a doctor having a drink on a break between the operations. About 43 percent of all Americans have experienced alcoholism in their families and one in eight Americans is the child of an alcoholic. Thy grow up with or married an alcoholic or a problem drinker, or had a blood relative who was an alcoholic or a problem drinker. Excessive drinking exacts a heavy toll on family life. Of the estimated 19 million adult are problem drinkers, about 8 million of them are alcoholics, and almost half of them are women. It is not unusual to see a pregnant woman drinking alcohol or a mother being drunk while she is taking care of her young children or babies. Many children are being born with a Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (facial and developmental abnormalities associated with the mother's alcohol use during pregnancy). FAS itself seems to occur in 23 to 29 per 1000 births among women who are problem drinkers. If all alcohol-related birth defects are counted, the rate among heavy-drinking woman is higher, from 80 to a few hundred per 1000. About 28 million people are the children of alcoholics, and 7 million of these children are under age 18 and live at home with an alcoholic parent. "The combination of genetic and environmental factors makes sons of alcoholic fathers four times more likely to become alcoholics than sons of nonalcoholic. Daughters of alcoholic mothers are three times more likely to have the drinking problem. Finally, alcohol is present in more than one-half of all incidents of domestic violence, with women more likely to batter when both partners have been drinking. I work at the liquor store for the past eight years and I see drunken women every day. It is shocking and I don't think that I can ever get used to see drunken women, especially drunken mothers coming in with their children. My first experience with a drunken female customer was on the first day of my work, few days before Christmas. I know that that day will stay in my memory forever. Around 5 o'clock young woman came in with two small children. She asked where is the cheapest beer, bought 3 40-oz bottles and left. Around 10 p.m. she came back, except that this time she was crawled in. Her small children were still with her. The children were crying and I could see that they were tired, cold and probably hungry. While the mother was getting the beer, the older child went to look at the Christmas tree, which we had in the corner of the store. The woman was so drunk that it took her a long time to get the beer she wanted and then to find the money to pay for it. She finally did and she left. Since it was right before the holiday the store was very busy. There were a lot of people, some with children and I didn't notice anything strange. About 20 minutes later we were closing the store and I went to turn off the lights on Christmas tree. When I got closer to the tree I was shocked. The little boy who came with his drunken mother was still in the store. He was sleeping on the boxes right under the Christmas tree and holding a small Santa Clause ornament in his tiny, little hand. His mother forgot about him and didn't even notice that he was gone until Police found her around midnight. One of the police Officers talked me the next day that when they found the woman and asked her about her four year-old son, she said that the boy is home with her boyfriend. She still buys beer in our store. I see her almost ever day and she is usually drunk. In eight years she had four more children. Joel is 12 years-old now and he is usually watching the younger children so they wouldn't get lost." More than 4 million US women aged 18 and can be classified as alcoholic or problem drinker. The make up nearly a quarter of all individuals in treatment for alcoholism. Another tragic and very important issue ate the " Crack Babies". A crack baby is a child born to a mother who was smoking crack during her pregnancy and up until the time of birth. The infant is addicted at birth, suffers withdrawal agonies, and continues to suffer from developmental abnormalities. These tragedies occur at too high a rate no matter how many there are... The 1991 Household Survey data estimated that about 280,000 women of all ages might have used crack at some time during the year. Children are introduced to drugs and alcohol at a very young age. Many of them see alcohol and drugs in their homes, used by their parents on daily bases. Some of these children don't even realize that it is wrong, "not normal", and not accepted in other homes until they are old enough to understand that situation in their home is a problem and that it is wrong. Minors usually begin using alcohol at around age 13. Statistics show that by the time they are high school sinners, 81 percent of teens have used alcohol. Alcohol consumption and alcohol abuse are more widespread among young people than many adults realize. Drug abuse is also very high.



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New York: The Atlantic Monthly Press.

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Cleveland: The Press of Case Western Reserve University.

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