The paper “ Should Some Illegal Drugs Be Legalized or Not? " is a breathtaking example of a term paper on law. America’ s war against recreational drugs is an example of good intentions gone terribly wrong. While this country squanders over $50 billion dollars annually on the efforts to stop illegal drugs, trafficking and use continue. It has been said that trying to stop drugs is like trying to stop the rain. Over half of the prisoners in jail are there for drug ‘ crimes. ’ This causes overcrowding which results in the early release of dangerous, violent criminals.
This creates more of a public safety problem than does drug use. It is illogical from a societal view and inhumane to individuals who are marked as a criminal for life for the activity that causes no harm to others. Those who are addicted receive little or no therapeutic help in prison. Instead of imprisoning people that need help, rehabilitation programs are a much more effective method to treat the problem but a rehabilitation system will not succeed if drugs continue to be illegal. Drug abusers will hardly seek help from the same government that tosses them in jail for the same thing.
The question many ask is; what crime is it to smoke a little pot? Who does it hurt? Smoking marijuana affects no one else nor infringes upon other’ s rights. Still, if caught by the morality Gestapo, these people will forever be categorized amongst the murderers and rapists of society. While those that harm others certainly deserve the label ‘ ex-convict, ’ a student who shares a joint with their roommate in the privacy of the dorm room certainly does not.
The hypocrisy of the drug war is apparent to even very young children. All illegal drugs combined account for about 4,500 deaths in this country per year while tobacco is responsible for murdering 400,000 people annually and alcohol ends 80,000 people’ s lives every year. Legislators will not ban smoking because they indicate regulation regarding what adults do in privacy including what they can put into their bodies is clearly unconstitutional and an infringement on personal liberties. Everyone can differentiate the distinction between a person that takes in an occasional alcoholic beverage and one who commits crimes while drunk. Why can’ t this simplistic reasoning be applied to drug users? Our code of law is founded upon a principle of presumptive rationality. Rational adults should be allowed to make personal choices as long as those actions cause no harm to others.
The U. S. government is unequivocally unjustified in choosing this particular personal freedom to ignore at such colossal cost to society (Fu, 2006). Arguing for personal liberties when advocating the legalization of drugs might sound good to some but it ignores the serious consequences of endorsing this recommendation. The War on Drugs is winnable as witnessed by the steady decrease of drug use experienced from the late 1970s to the early ‘ 90s, before the ‘ War on Drugs’ was put on the back-burner of political priority. The key reason given for the legalization of drugs is typically that of personal choice, that it is okay if it does not harm anyone but the user.
Those that espouse that opinion usually refer to the smoking of pot within one’ s own home. However, drugs do harm people other than the person that does them as the public pays increased insurance rates for drug-related health problems as well as higher taxes for court cases involving drugs and for rehabilitation centers.
Even in cases where casual use affects only the user, the government is fully within its constitutional powers to pass laws that protect people from hurting themselves, seatbelt laws as an example. If you can get drugs like heroin by prescription, why not be able to use drugs which were pulled from pharmacy shelves because of dangerous side-effects?
If a person can use heroin whenever they choose, then there is no reason for having to regulate other drugs. If drugs were legalized, either the system of getting prescriptions would be non-existent or harder drugs such as heroin would be easier to obtain than prescription drugs that have been tested by the Food and Drug Administration. Another argument made by legalization advocates is that organized crime will cease to exist if drugs are made legal. The legalization of drugs, however, would mean increased tax rates to pay for additional rehabilitation facilities and for court cases involving drug-related crimes. This excess taxation would lead to less expensive drugs to be the drug of choice keeping organized crime in business.
A case in point is the Netherlands where crime increased after marijuana was legalized. If the U. S. legalizes drugs, more people will use and abuse them. This country has sufficient drug-related problems without adding to it by legalization (Li, 2006). Decriminalization implies different meanings to different people. To some, it means simply legalization which takes the profit, thus the crime out of the drug trade.
One interpretation involves three steps. The first is to make drugs such as marijuana legal under restricted circumstances, but not as controlled as it is now. Secondly, sound reasoning should prevail in substance abuse policies. The government should form a policy that is harsher in regards to alcohol and tobacco but not by enacting criminal laws. The third aspect is to manage our tax money more wisely and discontinue wasting billions of dollars on criminal law enforcement techniques. Instead, these funds should be diverted into treatment and abuse prevention.
When speaking of the decriminalization of drugs, prohibition policies should be examined to determine their costs in relation to benefits, then compared with other options. Many citizens believe that the best combination of costs and benefit may look much the same as legalization. Varying degrees of decriminalization is often confused with total legalization. Alcohol is legal, for example, but it is not legal to operate a car under its influence or to sell it to those less than 21 years of age.
Conversely, people speak of cocaine and the opiates as illegal, but doctors prescribe these drugs every day (Nadalmann, 1990).