Should drugs be legalized? According to



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Should drugs be legalized?

According to Joseph A. Califano Jr, the objective of a drug-free America, brushed aside by advocates of legalization, is a statement of hope that a generation of children can come of age largely free of the life-destroying effects of illegal drugs. Drugs like marijuana, heroin and cocaine are not dangerous because they are illegal; they are illegal because they are dangerous. If drugs were legalized, it is the nation's children who could suffer long-lasting, perhaps permanent damage.

There's been no progress in the war on drugs. The National Household Survey on Drug Abuse reports that current drug use in America has fallen by half in the last fifteen years, demonstrating that there has been progress in the war on drugs.

Whether to use drugs and become hooked is an adult decision. Hardly anyone in America begins drug use after age 21. An individual who does not smoke, use drugs or abuse alcohol by 21 is virtually certain never to do so. That's why the nicotine pushers fight so strenuously to kill efforts to keep their stuff away from kids.

Legalized drugs would be available for adults and not to children. Nothing in the American experience gives any credence to our ability to keep legal drugs from children. It's illegal for children to purchase cigarettes and alcohol and yet three million adolescents smoke and twelve million underage Americans drink.

Greater availability and legal acceptability of drugs would not increase use. This defies human nature. In the 1970s we de facto decriminalized marijuana. The result? A soaring increase in marijuana use, particularly among youngsters. Today, we have 50 million nicotine addicts, 18 million alcoholics and alcohol abusers, and 6 million drug addicts. It is logical to conclude that, if drugs are easier to obtain, less expensive, and socially acceptable, more individuals will use them. With legalization, experts believe the number of cocaine addicts alone could jump beyond the number of alcoholics.

Marijuana is a benign drug. Marijuana is particularly harmful to children and young teens. It can impair short-term memory and ability to maintain attention span; it inhibits intellectual, social and emotional development, just when young people are learning in school. CASA's study shows a powerful statistical correlation between using marijuana and use of other drugs such as heroin and cocaine. Recent neurological studies give clues to why this strong statistical link exists. They indicate that marijuana, cocaine, nicotine, alcohol and heroin all affect dopamine levels through common pathways in the brain. Another study demonstrates that cessation of marijuana use brings on withdrawal symptoms, which may encourage a user to try drugs such as cocaine or heroin.

Today, most kids don't use illicit drugs, but all of them, particularly the poorest, are vulnerable to abuse and addiction. Russian roulette is not a game anyone should play. Legalizing drugs not only is playing Russian roulette with children, it is slipping a couple of extra bullets into the chamber.

Some believe that all drugs should be legal, regardless of how they affect users, some believe that only mild drugs should be legal, and some believe that all currently illegal drugs should remain that way.

Ecstasy, for example, produces many negative effects such as dizziness, vertigo, dry mouth, nausea/vomiting, headaches, constipation, erectile dysfunction, fever, insomnia, and raised blood pressure. However, it also has some positive effects such as a loss of negative emotions like fear and anxiety and a heightened sense of both self-worth and love for others. In addition, it increases the sensations brought on by touch, sight, and sound, and it is suggested to be very useful for psychotherapy.

Most, if not all illegal narcotics are extremely bad for you (like alcohol), and should not be taken. However, I think all drugs should be de-criminalized at the very least. This means that some could perhaps remain illegal, but the penalty for purchasing/using would not be jail time. The problem should be considered a health problem.
In some countries, this is already the case, and seems to be working. In the United States, jailing criminals has done nothing to help the problem. In fact, to keep some dealers in jail, they let out dangerous criminals to make room.
People should research and review the fantastic failure of Alcohol prohibition, and consider a comparison to the current Drug prohibition.

If all the drugs were legalized then we would have a modest economic boost. The problem is that not all drugs should be legalized. The legalization of heroin will cause obvious problems like more access for kids to try it and increase in addicts. Although I am not sure just how many new addicts it will cause. Legalizing just marijuana may not cause as much of an economic boost in my opinion. I am not worried about the physical effects but I am worried about what it does to the mind. I believe the government should regulate marijuana by allowing only a certain amount to be possessed and only give fines when this amount is exceeded. As for the harder drugs, they should not be legal.

Drugs are stronger and more dangerous precisely because they are illegal. This is explained by the fact that low-potency drugs become relatively more expensive to supply when enforcement increases. The demand for narcotic effects is extremely inelastic; as we ramp up enforcement, people come up with newer and better ways to serve the demand. One way they do this is by increasing the potency of the product. The drug war is an arms race in which “mutually assured destruction” is not a threat that prevents conflict, but a part of the process itself

Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders seems to spark controversy nearly every time she stands up to speak. It was her suggestion that the legalization of drugs might make sense and that, at a minimum, we should study the ramifications. In this, she is hardly alone: Several public officials, most prominently Baltimore Mayor Kurt Schmoke and U.S. District Court Judge Robert Sweet, and a growing number of academic experts have urged that we consider options outside the current range of criminal sanctions. All begin at the same place, a street corner in Big City, U.S.A., where violent dealers and dopers prove daily how America is losing its war on drugs.

The argument for legalizing drugs, or at least "decriminalizing" them, draws heavily on history. Many drugs, including heroin and cocaine, were pretty much legal early in the century, most often in the form of over-the-counter medicines. In 1914, Congress imposed the first major restrictions on drugs and drug sales; a Supreme Court decision five years later effectively criminalized sales and consumption.

Turn-of-the-century America did not suffer from drug-associated violent crime, so pro-legalization forces--or "anti-prohibitionists," as some prefer to be called--argue that legalization today might have a beneficial impact by sharply reducing crime linked to illegal narcotics. Furthermore, strict labeling would be required, and drugs would no longer be adulterated with chemicals that often make them even more dangerous. Sales to minors would be outlawed, drugs could be sold only during prescribed hours--probably through registered pharmacists--and they would carry warning labels as cigarettes now do. The states would probably regulate the business, and there would almost certainly be state and federal taxes on drug products. The appropriate analogue, pro-legalization types say, is alcohol, which was prohibited for 14 years earlier in this century--to disastrous effect.

But there is a big difference between alcohol and some of today's illegal drugs of choice. Although alcoholism remains a serious problem in America, medical evidence indicates that having a drink or two a day does no physical harm. Can anyone seriously argue that crack cocaine is similarly benign? One of the main attractions of crack is its potency, a quick, simulative hit to the nervous system that demands fairly prompt repetition.

In any legalization scheme, a baseline assumption must be that the new rules would not increase demand. But this is a dubious proposition. Prices would fall, even with taxes; if they did not, bootleggers would return with a vengeance. Would we be successful in keeping legal drugs out of the hands of minors? Perhaps as successful as we have been in keeping legal liquor from them.

The authorities, of course, would determine which drugs to legalize; marijuana, heroin and cocaine would top the list. What about PCP? Unlikely, the experts say, which of course would guarantee continued illegal trafficking in it. But even a three-drug market would be trouble enough, given powerful hybrid forms of these drugs. And what about the rest of us? If demand did rise, drugged driving might replace drunk driving as a national curse. The impact on business--everything from industrial accidents to productivity--might be profound.

Still, what animates Joycelyn Elders and others is beyond dispute: Casual use continues to decline, but hard-core use is rising, and violence related to illegal sales now seems endemic. Public policy at every level focuses on supply--interdicting illegally imported narcotics, arresting dealers, imposing tough sentences. Law enforcement absorbs 70 cents of every dollar spent in the drug war. But the war, after a generation in the trenches and at least $100 billion spent since 1981, does not go well. As many experts suggest, we should place more emphasis on the demand side: better education, more rehabilitation. Drug treatment for inmates, a captive audience if there ever was one, should be accelerated; only 2 in 10 inmates get treatment even though nearly 1 million of America's 1.4 million prisoners have dependency problems.

It's unlikely that a fair-minded study could make a convincing case for legalization, but new research might well turn up some useful information. Right now, the drug fighters can use all the help they can get.

This has been one of the most interesting topics that I have researched. So many different opinions and views on this issue. There was a lot of great points brought up in our discussion about this and also articles that I read. I don’t feel there is a right or wrong answer to this question at this point.



Based on the information that I found above and the different views of my class mates, a black and white answer cannot be given but personally I feel that we are telling our children that it is okay to do drugs if we legalize them and I feel that we have to draw the line somewhere. We have to have morals in place and provide a good example for our youth.


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