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Drug Prohibition Essay, Research Paper

Drug Prohibition

There are no panaceas for the world’s drug problems, but legalizing

drugs, un-clog the court system, and free prison space for real criminals. comes

as close as any single policy could. Removing legal penalties from the

production, sale and use of “controlled substances” would not create a “heaven

on Earth,” but it would alleviate many of the nation’s social and political

problems. Legalization would reduce drug-related crime, save the U.S. billions

of dollars

In 1984, a kilogram of cocaine worth $4000 in Columbia sold at wholesale

for $30,000, and at retail in the U.S. for some $300,000. At the time, a Drug

Enforcement Administration spokesman noted that the wholesale price doubled in

six months “due to crackdowns on producers and smugglers in Columbia and the

U.S.” The consequence of this drastic factory-to-retail escalation is a rise in

crime. Addicts must pay hundreds of times the costs of their habit, and often

turn to crime to finance their addiction. Also, those who deal in the selling

of the drugs become prime targets for assault for carrying extremely valuable

goods. The streets become battlegrounds for competing dealers because a

particular block or corner can rake in thousands of extra dollars a day. Should

drugs be legalized, the price would collapse, and so would the drug-related

motivations to commit crime. A pack of cocaine becomes no more dangerous to

carry than a pack of cigarettes. The streets would be safer to walk, as

criminal drug dealers are pushed from the market.

Legalization would also deflate prison overcrowding. Out of 31,346

sentenced prisoners in federal institutions, drug law violators were the largest

single category, 9487. By legalizing drugs, there would be no more drug

offenders to lock up. Since many drug users would no longer be committing

violent or property crimes to pay for their habits, there would be fewer real

criminals. This decrease in inmates would bring the overflowing federal prison

system down to its rated capacity. The excessive efforts now used against drug

activity and drug related-crimes by police would then be put to use more

effectively for catching rapists, murderers, and the remaining criminals who

commit crimes against people and property.

It takes a month to bring a person accused of a crime to trial. It’s

even slower for civil proceedings. There simply isn’t enough judges to handle

the ever-increasing caseload. By legalizing drugs, thousands of cases would be

wiped off the courts permitting the rest to move faster. Prosecutors would have

more time to handle cases, and judges could make more considered decisions.

Better decisions would lead to fewer grounds for appeals, reducing the huge

amount of appeals courts.

The federal, state, and local governments spend about $100 billion a

year on law enforcement and criminal justice-programs. About $35 billion of

that is directly related to drug-law enforcement. Approximately $15 billion is

related to drug crimes committed to obtain drug money or other related drug

commerce. Therefore, around $50 billion spent on law enforcement could be saved

by legalizing drugs. “fighting drugs is nearly as big a business as pushing

them.” As Gore Bidal so rightly put it. Legalizing drugs would endanger the

jobs of police officers, and politicians campaigning on war on drugs.

Legalization would threaten thousands of careers that the taxpayers would no

longer need to support.

About 70 percent of the drug budget is used to reduce drug supplies

while 30 percent is used to reduce demand through prevention and treatment

programs. Some policymakers believe the government should use most of the funds

to limit the supply of drugs by hiring more customs agents and border patrol

officers and by training foreign police officers to catch drug traffickers.

This policy would lead to a large increase in futile spending. There is a

common misconception among those who want drugs to remain illegal forever, and

that is that by eradicating the supply, the drug problem will eventually

disappear. The problem is, drugs can never be eliminated. As long as there are

people who want drugs, there will be those who are willing to sell. By getting

rid of one drug dealer, another takes its place. By getting rid of one drug

cartel, another emerges. The funds spent on reducing supplies could be better

used to reduce the amount of demand by better educating children and adults

alike, and also by treating addicts.

Governments exist to protect the rights of the people. By prohibiting

drug use, American’s civil rights are betrayed. How is prohibition protecting

American’s rights? Prohibition increases crime and corruption. It also wastes

billions of dollars in taxpayer’s money in the futile effort of eradicating

drugs. It also violates American’s rights as free persons to do themselves as

they wish. Prohibition is constitutionally incorrect and obviously isn’t

working. When are American’s going to stop wringing their hands and start

solving the problem at hand?

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