Numerous strategies have been proposed by governmental authorities with an aim of tackling the problem of illicit drugs. Despite these efforts, the problem still continues to affect a larger segment of our society. According to Miller, Hess, and Orthmann (2010), illicit drugs continue to exact a high toll on the American communities regardless of the attempts that have been made to address the problem. Hence, this calls for the implementation of a proven drug control strategy, which will protect the society from further problems. To address this problem, the most effective strategy will entail launching a community policing program that is problem oriented and focuses on a specific target group of the affected community.
First, community policing programs that focus on the specific segment of the affected community have proven to be effective in reducing the consumption of illicit drugs. Before launching the program, it is important to establish the profile of drug dealers and offenders in the community by focusing on factors such as age, gender, race, social class, education level, and criminal track record (Hendricks, 2006). These variables will be used to define a target group, which the program will use in its pilot program. The aim is to narrow down the focus of the program on a group that needs the most help from the society (Hendricks, 2006). Once this has been established, the next step will involve establishing contact persons in the community. The contact persons should be trusted people in the community who are able to interact with drug offenders in a proactive manner.
A good example of a community policing program that targeted specific persons in the community is the ‘Union for One’ drug community policing program, which was implemented in Durban, South Africa (Hendricks, 2006). The program established a target group of male drug belonging to middle class families and aged between 18 and 25 years. The program achieved tremendous success prompting its implementation in other geographical areas. An efficacy of 95% was achieved where more than 90% of the respondents participated throughout the course of the program.
Secondly, having a community policing program that is problem oriented achieves better outcomes compared to ordinary programs. The problem oriented approach enables the program to utilize its resources economically. When resources are used this manner, the program is able to achieve better objectives. In the problem centered approach, police officers develop a trust framework by forming close relationships with community members. The program also focuses on the underlying factors that are responsible for causing the problem. Moreover, focus is placed on forming better relationships, which increases the approachability of the police to community members.
A good example of the problem centered approach of community policing is the Neighbors against Drugs program (Lyons, 2002). In this program, the main focus groups were drug dealers and police administrators. It entailed finding out what factors drug dealers focus on when recruiting new members and the extent to which police administrators are involved in fueling the crisis. The program was successful because it brought on board two major stakeholders in the problem: the police administrators and the drug dealers. It also achieved a good outcome in terms of the behavior change strategies that were adopted by both the police and drug dealers.
Finally, in as much as community policing is not a new concept in the field of drug control, the proposed model seeks to incorporate a problem centered approach while focusing on a specific target group. By doing this, it is possible to narrow down the scope of the program to a definite factor. In practice, most programs tend to have wider objectives, which ruins there efficacy. Therefore, adopting this drug control program will provide lasting solutions to the problem of illicit drugs.