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"Start by doing what's necessary; then do what's possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible."
Francis of Assisi
 

Read the following text about drugs. 6 pieces of text have been removed from the text. Choose the best piece of text from Section Two (A-G) for each space. There is one extra piece that you do not need to use.

DRUGS – A WORLDWIDE PROBLEM

- The illicit drugs trade is one of the world’s largest global businesses. According to the UN World Drug Report, 2007, it has a value of US$322 billion. Although it may come as no big surprise that drug trafficking is lucrative, why has the illegal use of drugs become such a worldwide epidemic? It is unlikely that we can pinpoint one single cause, and the demand for illegal drugs is paralleled by legal prescription for tranquillisers and sedatives, and by the totally legal use of alcohol and cigarettes. (1)

- Mikel Blundstatt is a behavioural psychiatrist with a practice in Luntz, Austria. He writes:
‘For many juveniles, taking drugs signifies ‘being someone’ for the youth who does not otherwise know who he or she is, what he or she is worth, or where he or she is going in life.” (2)

- A person on the road to drug abuse quickly becomes a member of a group. Rapidly replacing any family and work group, the addict is soon outside his or her previous circles and with nowhere else to go. Even gasoline and glue-sniffing are often group activities. (3)

- It’s only a matter of time before the psychological addiction becomes also physical. The addict becomes increasingly dependent on the drug, and more money is needed to feed the habit. (4)

- To a large extent, governments have not tried to deal with the social reasons for addiction. They have targeted the dealers, the distributors, the growers and the smugglers. Generally speaking, their efforts have not met with much success. For example, in Singapore, 292 people were executed for drug-related offences between 1991 and 2001. In spite of the harsh laws, the number of heroin abusers increased by 21% in 2009, according to the Central Narcotics Bureau (CBN). (5)

- However, the world’s first modern drug epidemic took place on America’s own doorstep. In the early 1980’s most of the cocaine arriving in Miami came through the Bahamas and the Dominican Republic. In the Bahamas more than 10 per cent of the population are addicts. Many are teenagers, hooked inside 10 minutes of their first introduction to drugs by “free-basing”. Free-basing is a lethal method of smoking a “rock” of cocaine that is 80 per cent proof, compared with 30 per cent from sniffing. (6)

 


Section Two

A) Most of them, as in other parts of the world, are in their teens and early twenties; although, of course, it isn’t often that drug users reach pensionable, or even middle, age.
In addition to efforts by local police forces, governments also sign agreements to control international drug trafficking. The United Nations International Drug Control Programme (UNDCP), has a budget of US$160 million, and involves the United States, the European Union and other UN countries.

B) The addict becomes dependent not only on the drug itself but also upon the other people within the drug-taking group. He or she needs their support.

C) In such places, the American government uses all possible means of economic persuasion to put pressure on countries which tolerate the drug trade. In some parts of the world, a country’s economy may depend on the coca crop.

D) When the habit reached New York, Miami and Los Angeles around 1984 and 1985, the substance became known as “crack” because of the sound made during its manufacture. Crack is instantly addictive, and the addict, as usual, requires rapidly increasing quantities. Being addicted to free-basing is just about as deadly as contracting Aids. Chances are that if you experiment with crack, you’re days are numbered.

E) On the whole, drug addicts, whether legal or illegal, are insecure and dependent youngsters who have a need to escape responsibility.

F) This puts into context the quote by the famous American author and ex-drug addict, William Burroughs: ‘You become a narcotics addict because you do not have strong motivations in any other direction. Junk wins by default.’

G) This is often the point at which drug-taking becomes criminal as well as antisocial, as the addict breaks the law to buy drugs.

Answers Check your answers.

Answer the following true or false questions.

1. Mikel Blundstatt thinks that a lot of young people use drugs because they lack self-confidence, self-worth and direction.
2. According to the text, addiction is less likely if a person has strong family and work ties.
3. It is because governments have taken a hard line on drug dealers, distributors, growers and smugglers that the situation has not become a lot worse.
4. The number of people taking heroine in Singapore went up in 2009.
5. The United States have US$160 million a year to spend on solving the drug problem.
6. Around 10% of the population of Miami are drug addicts.
7. Sniffing cocaine is not as addictive as free-basing.
8. The name crack is derived from the sound it makes when it is heated.

Answers Check your answers.

Read the complete text again and check difficult words and expressions in the help box.

DRUGS – A WORLDWIDE PROBLEM

The illicit drugs trade is one of the world’s largest global businesses. According to the UN World Drug Report, 2007, it has a value of US$322 billion. Although it may come as no big surprise that drug trafficking is lucrative, why has the illegal use of drugs become such a worldwide epidemic? It is unlikely that we can pinpoint one single cause, and the demand for illegal drugs is paralleled by medical prescription for tranquillisers and sedatives, and by the totally legal use of alcohol and cigarettes. On the whole, drug addicts, whether legal or illegal, are insecure and dependent youngsters who have a need to escape responsibility.

Mikel Blundstatt is a behavioural psychiatrist with a practice in Luntz, Austria. He writes:
‘For many juveniles, taking drugs signifies ‘being someone’ for the youth who does not otherwise know who he or she is, what he or she is worth, or where he or she is going in life.” This puts into context the quote by the famous American author and ex-drug addict, William Burroughs: ‘You become a narcotics addict because you do not have strong motivations in any other direction. Junk wins by default.’

A person on the road to drug abuse quickly becomes a member of a group. Rapidly replacing any family and work group, the addict is soon outside his or her previous circles and with nowhere else to go. Even gasoline and glue-sniffing are often group activities. The addict becomes dependent not only on the drug itself but also upon the other people within the drug-taking group. He or she needs their support.

It’s only a matter of time before the psychological addiction becomes also physical. The addict becomes increasingly dependent on the drug, and more money is needed to feed the habit. This is often the point at which drug-taking becomes criminal as well as antisocial, as the addict breaks the law to buy drugs.

To a large extent, governments have not tried to deal with the social reasons for addiction. They have targeted the dealers, the distributors, the growers and the smugglers. Generally speaking, their efforts have not met with much success. For example, in Singapore, 292 people were executed for drug-related offences between 1991 and 2001. In spite of the harsh laws, the number of heroin abusers increased by 21% in 2009, according to the Central Narcotics Bureau (CBN). Most of them, as in other parts of the world, are in their teens and early twenties; although, of course, it isn’t often that drug users reach pensionable, or even middle, age.
In addition to efforts by local police forces, governments also sign agreements to control international drug trafficking. The United Nations International Drug Control Programme (UNDCP), has an annual budget of US$160 million, and includes the United States, the European Union and other UN countries.

However, the world’s first modern drug epidemic took place on America’s own doorstep. In the early 1980’s most of the cocaine arriving in Miami came through the Bahamas and the Dominican Republic. In the Bahamas more than 10 per cent of the population are addicts. Many are teenagers, hooked inside 10 minutes of their first introduction to drugs by “free-basing”. Free-basing is a lethal method of smoking a “rock” of cocaine that is 80 per cent proof, compared with 30 per cent from sniffing.
When the habit reached New York, Miami and Los Angeles around 1984 and 1985, the substance became known as “crack” because of the sound made during its manufacture. Crack is instantly addictive, and the addict, as usual, requires rapidly increasing quantities. Being addicted to free-basing is just about as deadly as contracting AIDS. Chances are that if you experiment with crack, you’re days are numbered.


pinpoint = localizar
Junk = slang for dangerous drugs, especially heroin
glue-sniffing = inhalación de pegamento
to a large extent = en gran medida, en gran parte
dealer = traficante de drogas
grower = cultivador
 
smuggler = contrabandista
harsh = duro, fuerte
budget = presupuesto
doorstep = umbral, peldaño de la puerta
to be hooked (on) = estar enganchado/a (a)
proof = graduación
AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) = SIDA
your days are numbered = Tienes los días contados

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