Teachers typically assign research papers to give students the opportunity to write in-depth about a particular subject. For a research paper about drugs, you’ll want to narrow the topic to one that is specific, manageable and supported by credible evidence and source materials. You can approach the topic for your paper in various ways.

Drugs and Society

Both prescription and illegal drugs have had a profound influence on society, and scholars have written plenty of articles on the subject. As such, you could write a research paper about the effects that drugs have had on society as a whole and examine the impact of drugs on local communities, the economy, and families and children. You could also address how drugs have affected crime rates on local, state and national levels.

Types of Drugs

One of the most straightforward approaches to writing a research paper on drugs is to choose one specific type of drug or class of drugs. If you’re writing an expository paper of some length, you may want to focus on an entire category of drugs, such as narcotics, hallucinogens, prescription painkillers or street drugs. You can focus on the chemical composition of these drugs, effects of these drugs on the body, the repercussions of long-term use and the costs. For shorter papers, you may want to focus on one particular drug and address the same concepts.

The War on Drugs

Launched in 1971 by President Richard Nixon, the government’s official war on drugs has undergone many transformations and variations since its inception. Depending on the length requirement for your paper, analyze the history of the war on drugs, its efficacy, its shifting policies and its cost to taxpayers. You could also focus on international efforts or the impact of modern drugs, such as methamphetamines and prescription painkillers, on drug control success rates.

Mandatory Drug Testing

One of the most controversial issues surrounding drug use and abuse is mandatory drug testing. If you’re writing an argumentative or persuasive research paper, you could examine whether certain groups of people -- such as students, student or professional athletes, employees and welfare recipients -- should be required to submit to mandatory drug testing. Whether you choose to focus on one specific group or the issue of mandatory drug testing at large, you’ll want to analyze the efficacy of such programs by presenting evidence that allows you to support your position while refuting the other side of the argument.