Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Drug Legalization

A controversial issue in which I hold a strong opinion is the legalization of illicit drugs. I believe they should be legal and regulated just like alcohol and tobacco. I came to this conclusion by observing the failure of the war on drugs. The continuing violence, crime, drug gangs, over crowded prisons, and substance use has led me to believe that legalization is the most effective tool in dealing with these problems by eliminating huge profits which generate from them. Drug addiction is not a criminal problem but a social one. Crime and violence are created through black markets because of the suppliers not being able to handle their problems in a court of law. Crime is also created by the high price of drugs, if they were legal, the price would drop dramatically therefore deceasing the need to steal. There are also many dangers in prescription medications taken as lifestyle drugs, yet those are presented to people as perfectly fine choices for their problems. Although drug use would increase in the short term if legalized, education on the real dangers and the proper ways of reducing these hazards will be available through the sanctioned scientific study of these compounds; thus causing the rate of abuse to go down, as well as the desire to use them. Anti-drug advocates need to understand that most of the appeal generated by drugs is because of their taboo image. In short, these illegal products are more dangerous illegal then legal, they are essentially valueless but our image of them would fool us into thinking they are something special. Crime is something one does to another, drug use is something one does to themselves; thus the drug war is not against crime, but personal liberty.
I personally feel that the drug war is a failure, but this does not mean drugs are benign. They are dangerous, but many things in life are dangerous which are completely legal and socially acceptable. For example, starting a business is very risky, so is gambling, skydiving, even falling in love. All these actions can cause disastrous outcomes, yet there are no laws banning them for their supposed consequences; so why should certain drugs be banned because of potential consequences. These laws reduce our autonomy by restricting our freedom to choose what we can do with ourselves. Drug use is natural and drug abuse is a health problem. There is a bar on every corner in some towns and alcohol is known to be a very dangerous drug, yet we accept this misfortune because it is ingrained in our culture. Does this mean we cannot accept other drugs because they don’t fit into our culture? This seems to be a very xenophobic declaration. The demand for these substances will not end. If I turn out to be wrong and this war does not halt, I would feel that the world would have to prepare for a war that will never cease to exist, as long as freedom remains a virtue.