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Drug Legalization Essay, Research Paper

Mark DeOrio

December 8, 1999

Dr. Bechtel


Drug Legalization

The question of whether to legalize drugs or not is a very controversial and important issue. Drugs affect so many areas of society. Several groups have formed and spoken out regarding their position. Speaking out against drug legalization is the first step in helping to deliver the credible, consistent message about the risks and costs of the legalization of drugs to people in terms that make sense to them. The anti-legalization message is effective when communicated by representatives of the Federal Government, but takes on even more credibility when it comes from those in the community who can put the legalization debate in local perspective.

After learning about the issues regarding both sides of the argument, I would choose to support those who oppose legalization of any drugs. Drugs simply create problems which effect society in several ways. The government has made several efforts to control drugs and their users. However, to most of society, the drug problem appears to be out of hand. Others see potential profit in legalizing drugs and still others simply believe that individual rights to take drugs should be protected. The legalization concept appeals to people who are looking for simple solutions to the devastating problem of drug abuse. Society s answer to the problem is to trick the drug user by giving him what he wants. People believe that making drugs legal will take away the temptation to use them. This idea is wrong and far from logical. If drugs are legalized then they will be more accessible to the young, addicted, and ignorant. The only resulting effect will be a negative one. There are no positive aspects of putting drugs on the streets with a label reading “legal”. There are plenty of people in society that find enough trouble on their own without the help of their country. Legalizing drugs would have a devastating result that would affect society as a whole.

One of the greatest concerns of drugs is their contribution to the crime rate. Crime will always be a problem as long as drugs exist and are abused. One category of crime is the victimless crime, which includes drunkenness, drug addiction, prostitution, and gambling. The use of the term victimless is an extremely qualified one. It refers to acts committed by people in private or public. The acts involve only the participants and are not harmful to others. If harm occurs, it is inflicted only upon the willing participants. Victimless crimes are often characterized by the exchange of sought after goods and services, and they generate huge amounts of illegal income. It has been argued, however, that no crime is victimless. The drug addict suffers physical and emotional harm and often commits property crimes to obtain money for buying drugs. Crime too often is the result of a drug problem. Even if drugs were legalized, it would even take more government officials to stop crime. People who are for drug legalization believe that the market for drugs and criminal activity would decrease:

Participants in the Anti-Legalization Forum, who are experts in crime and violence, disagreed strongly with the notion that crime and violence would be reduced if drugs were legalized. It is widely claimed by those advancing the case for legalization that drug traffickers protecting their turf largely commit crime. Sadly, it is the experience of many local police officers that crime is committed not only because people want to buy drugs, but more often because people use drugs (1. Internet)

All the officials that were trying to stop drug trafficking would have to be reassigned to stopping crime. More people would be on drugs if it were legal, which in return would increase the crime rate. There is no denying the fact the drugs change people s behavior. When they do take drugs, they can no longer distinguish right and wrong with a clear conscious. Legalizing drugs would just add to an already rising problem.

Socially, the problem of legalizing any drugs would be devastating. Businesses, homes, and any jobs that people worked out would deteriorate. People in society would be arriving to their jobs and businesses on drugs since it has such a long lasting effect. This problem would make a huge impact on the economy. The rate of production would fall dramatically decreasing people s salary. People s work would be less efficient causing less business. Since they are not receiving enough money from work, they will not have any money to buy their drugs that they are addicted to. This will show that drugs and crime go hand in hand:

From every conceivable methodological perspective, data consistently show that there is a strong correlation between drug use and criminal behavior and that increases in drug use are related to increases in crime (Gaines & Kraska, 101).

The lack of money to buy drugs makes people innovative and they turn to property crime or any other type of crime to conjugate some money up.

People who are in favor of legalization also use the idea that if drugs were legalized some of them could help people medically. Marijuana, heroin, and cocaine are the three biggest drugs that people want to be legalized for medical purposes. The amount of money that the economy would receive from selling drugs would be quite profitable. On the other hand, the costs that null this profit would be people getting sick and dying from drugs:

Not one American health association accepts marijuana or any other illegal drug as medicine. Statements issued by these organizations express concern over the harmful effects of the drugs and over the lack of solid research demonstrating that they might do more good than harm (1. Internet)

People would be entering hospitals left and right because they are sick without any means to pay for their care. The tax payers money would increase more in trying to get the sick better than trying to stop drug trafficking and using. The public would be paying for addicts, people who have been injured by people on drugs, and accidents that have occurred to someone at work due to the effects of drugs.

Alcohol and tobacco already create and cause problems in society. If illegal drugs that become legalized enter the streets as accepted ways of life, the problem could only get worse. Instead of having criminals and troubled people on drugs, they are going to be kids of all ages on them too getting addicted. Legalization would increase the number of hard-core addicts. Surveys show that hard core drug use fluctuates proportionally to availability, price, and stigma associated with use (2. Internet). Even if there is an age limit on who can get drugs, kids are still going to get them using fake ids and other means just like they do for alcohol and tobacco products.

The problems that society already faces with the unemployed, homeless, criminals, and high school dropouts will simply increase. Society would not want such problems to escalate. The thought of how seriously this could impact our entire nation is both ridiculous and terrifying. I strongly believe that there is a great deal of people who have not tried drugs out of fear of getting caught. If this fear were taken from them, they would probably become drug addicts.

1. http://www.usdoj.gov/dea/pubs/legaliz/claim01.htm

2. http://www.nonline.com/procon/html/drugscon.html

3. http://www.olywa.net/when/main.html

Bayer, Ronald & Oppenheimer, Gerald. Confronting Drug Policy,

Press syndicate of the University of Cambridge, 1993.

Gaines, Larry & Kraska, Peter. Drugs, Crime, and Justice,

Waveland Press, 1997.

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