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Why it can be hard to get out of the drug game

Getting caught with marijuana or other drugs in North Carolina can result in a variety of punishments and penalties. Depending on the number of times a person has been charged with a crime like the sale or possession of marijuana, charges may be escalated. Because of the consequences associated with marijuana and other drug-related crimes, it may make many people ask why a person may continue to play a role in the illegal drug trade.

According to recent research presented in the International Journal of Drug Policy, a person who is involved in drug trafficking wants to get out of the so-called "game" at least once. But the study, which has been called one of the first ethnographic studies into drug traffickers, suggests that far too many people stay in the trade for far too long. So what does it take for a person to get out once and for all?

Often times, a drug trafficker stops working in the drug trade if he or she becomes a parent. If a person develops and ultimately recovers from a drug addiction, that is another way that a person leaves. Otherwise, the study concludes that without being able to leave the business with at least part of their identity intact, people will find it too difficult to leave.

Some of the motivating factors that drive people to get involved in drug trafficking include family involvement, sense of power, wealth and the fact that the industry is often glorified in films. In many cases, a person is a young, Mexican-American male who wants to change his life. Without more resources, these kids get an early start in the drug trade and are likely to stay in for awhile.

The complexity of the reasons that a person gets involved in trafficking drugs is matched by the complexity of reasons a person decides to leave. In many cases, jail time and fines are not adequate deterrents. Instead, researchers suggest more robust programs designed to help a drug trafficker develop insight into the actual effects their behavior has on the rest of their lives. Additionally, it should be understood that these problems are not developed overnight, and they cannot be solved overnight.

Source: KATU, "Drug trafficking: What keeps players in the 'game'?" Angela Yeager, Jun 27, 2012

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