Why Drugs Should Be Legalized Debate

In the United States, prescription opioids are legal and regulated. But according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, prescription drug overdose deaths have reached «epidemic proportions.» More than 8,400 people died from drug overdoses in Europe in 2015. Legalizing harder drugs like heroin would only lead to more addiction and more deaths. Even if the harder drugs remained illegal, the softer drugs would only serve as a gateway to more dangerous substances. The war on drugs has cost society more than drug abuse itself. The cost includes the $16 billion that the federal government alone spent on counter-narcotics in 1998. Of that $16 billion, $10.5 billion will be spent on measures to reduce the supply of medicines. Most of these measures include enforcement measures to stop or intercept the flow of drugs across borders. Costs also include corruption, damage to poor and minority neighborhoods, a global black market in illicit drugs, enrichment of criminal organizations through their involvement in drug trafficking, and an increase in predatory crimes such as theft and burglary committed by drug addicts enslaved by drugs. Paul Butler (left) and Nick Gillespie celebrate their victory in a debate on U.S. intelligence.

They advocated for the legalization of drugs. Samuel LaHoz Hide the legend Easing the availability of psychoactive substances that are not already commercially available, opponents generally claim, would lead to an immediate and significant increase in consumption. To support their claim, they point to the prevalence of opium, heroin and cocaine addiction in various countries prior to the entry into force of international controls, the increase in alcohol consumption following the repeal of the Volstead Act in the United States, and studies showing higher rates of abuse among health professionals with better access to prescription drugs. Without explaining the basis of their calculations, some have predicted a dramatic increase in the number of people who use drugs and become addicted. These increases would result in significant direct and indirect costs to society, including increased public health spending as a result of overdoses, foetal malformations and other drug-related accidents such as car accidents; loss of productivity due to absenteeism and accidents at work; and more drug-induced violence, child abuse and other crimes, not to mention school unrest. The question of whether Bill Clinton «inhaled» when he tried marijuana as a college student came closest to the drug problem during the last presidential campaign. However, the current one could be very different. For the fourth year in a row, a federally backed national survey of U.S. high school students conducted by the University of Michigan found an increase in drug use. After a decade or more of declining drug use, Republicans are certain to blame President Clinton for the bad news and attack him for failing to maintain the high-profile stance of the Bush and Reagan administrations on drugs. The extent of this problem is less certain, but if the worrying trend of drug use among young people continues, the public debate on how best to address the drug problem will clearly not end with the elections. Indeed, there are already growing fears that the large wave of adolescents – the group most at risk of drugs – that will peak at the turn of the century will be accompanied by a further increase in drug use.

Ultimately, even though hard drugs pose greater health risks than marijuana, we cannot rationally prohibit them without comparing the harms of prohibition to the harms of the drugs themselves. In a society that legalizes drugs, users are only confronted with the negative aspects of use. Under the prohibition, they also risk being arrested, fined, losing their professional licenses, etc. Prohibition clearly harms those who use despite prohibition. If they do not harm others, the government has no right to restrict what consenting adults do in their personal lives. Every individual has the right to decide whether he or she wants to use drugs. Drug use is a «victimless crime» in which only the user takes a risk. Yes, a violent industry has emerged around drug trafficking, but it is a direct consequence of drug prohibition. It is immoral to tell people how to have fun or not. The legalization of drugs will not stop violence and social problems.

Just look at Amsterdam or the Czech Republic, where more liberal approaches have led to an increase in drug tourism and public unrest. In the Netherlands, some cities have tightened restrictions on cannabis for this reason. In addition, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration states that «crime, violence and drug use go hand in hand.» They argue that «six times more homicides are committed by people under the influence of drugs than by those looking for money to buy drugs.» While the alternative of legalization usually emerges when fear of drugs and public despair of existing policies are at their peak, it never seems to disappear from the media radar screen for long. Periodic incidents — such as the heroine-induced death of a wealthy young couple in New York City in 1995, or then-surgeon general Jocelyn Elders` remark in 1993 that legalization could be beneficial and should be investigated — guarantee this. The importance of many of those who have advocated for legalization at various times, such as William F. Buckley, Jr., Milton Friedman, and George Shultz, also helps. But every time the issue of legalization is raised, the same arguments for and against are dusted off and trampled on, so we don`t have a clearer understanding of what it might entail and what the implications might be. Given these arguments, would the U.S. be better off legalizing all recreational drugs? A panel of experts — including former Drug Enforcement Administration chief Asa Hutchinson — addressed this issue in the latest issue of Intelligence Squared U.S.

They faced off two-on-two in an Oxford-style debate on the «legalization of drugs» motion. It turns out that legalizing drugs is not a public policy option that lends itself to simplistic or superficial debate. It requires the dissection and revision of an order that has been conspicuously absent, despite the constant attention it receives. Apart from the discussion of some very broadly defined proposals, there has been no detailed assessment of the operational importance of legalisation. There is not even a lexicon of universally accepted terms to allow for intellectually rigorous exchange. As a result, legalization means different things to different people. For example, some use legalization interchangeably with «decriminalization,» which usually refers to the elimination of criminal penalties for possession of small amounts of drugs for personal use. Others equate, at least implicitly, legalization with complete deregulation, without acknowledging the extent to which currently legally available drugs are subject to strict controls. If drugs were legal, it would be easier to identify and treat addicts. Drug abuse should be treated as a medical problem, not a criminal justice issue. Drug addicts are driven underground when the purchase and possession of drugs is illegal. The legalization of drugs could be accompanied by more effective means of rehabilitation and support for addicts.

Most illicit drugs are no more harmful than legal substances such as cigarettes and alcohol, and therefore drugs should be treated in the same way as these other substances. To the extent that prohibition reduces drug use, the effect is likely to be less for hard drugs than for marijuana. This is because the demand for cocaine and heroin appears to be cheaper. From this point of view, the legalization of cocaine or heroin is even stronger than marijuana; For hard drugs, prohibition mainly increases the price, which increases the resources spent on the black market while having minimal impact on consumption. But perhaps the best reason to legalize hard drugs is that people who want to use them have the same freedom to determine their own well-being as those who use alcohol or marijuana or whatever. In a free society, the assumption must always be that individuals, not the government, can decide what is in their own interest. The same condition applies to hard drugs. Media accounts focus on users who perform poorly because they are dramatic or newsworthy. Yet millions of people are at risk of being arrested, raising prices, contaminating and suffering the whims of black markets to buy these products, suggesting that people are profiting from their use. What do you think recreational drugs should legalize or decriminalize? Which of them? Is drug legalization lax on crime? Does drug prohibition complicate police work and divert resources from other, more important issues? Join the discussion and share arguments and resources in the forum below.

However, what is generally presented as a fairly simple process of lifting prohibitionist controls to reap these supposed benefits would actually mean addressing an extremely complex set of regulatory issues. As with most, if not all, goods supplied by individuals and public funds, the main regulatory issues concern the type of medicines legally available, the conditions under which they are supplied and the conditions under which they are consumed (see page 21). Is legalization worth playing? The arguments on both sides are compelling. What should we do if we cannot accept or clearly reject the legalization of drugs? One approach proposed as reasonable is to suspend the verdict, acknowledge that legalization advocates are partly right (that the war on drugs has proven ineffective in reducing drug abuse and drug-related crime), and recognize that it`s time to explore new approaches.