In most countries, including the United States, drugs such as marijuana, cocaine and heroine have been deemed illegal. Using and simply just the possession of these “harmful substances” will send anyone to prison. However, many liberals and even conservatives have been calling for the legalization of drugs and their arguments prove to be strong. The US maintains its stand that these drugs should remain illegal but the calls for the legalization of the drugs are almost everywhere and they present convincing arguments.
According to Benson Roe, Professor Emeritus and former Chair of Cardiothoracic Surgery at the University of California at San Francisco, calling drugs as “deadly poison” is a “hoax”. “There is little or no medical evidence” which proves that drugs such as marijuana, cocaine and heroine has long-term negative effects. To date, no medical evidence shows that illegal drugs have been directly associated with death aside from a few cases of overdose. Roe argues that if illegal drugs is responsible for some diseases, there should have been clinical findings that associate drugs with a disease.
He narrated that during one of his visits in the San Francisco Coroner and the coroner reported that “clean, reasonable dosages of heroine, cocaine and marijuana are pathologically harmless” (Roe, 2008). In another point of view, drugs have a very negative connotation because of propaganda. Through the media, crimes are being related to drugs although there is little evidence that drugs actually has something to do with the crime that are being committed. This gives drugs a very bad image. More so, politicians have always been calling for stricter drug laws to boost their political careers (Jackson, 1998).
Holland is one country where drugs are legally accepted. Crime, however proved to be more prevalent in countries that ban the use of such substances. The International Crime Victims survey indicated that the most common crimes committed people who are addicted to drugs are burglary, robbery, shoplifting and theft from cars. It was also indicated that the rate of such crimes proved higher in Britain compared to Holland, whereas Britain has always been talking about eliminating the use of illegal drugs in the society (Rose, 2002).
Through this example, one may see that legalizing drugs does not necessarily mean that crime rate would go up. It may likewise be noted that restrictions only fuel drug addicts to acquire drugs through illegal means. According to Roe, education and support is a better way of controlling addiction rather than deprivation, which never really works (Roe, 2008). Instead of shelling out funds in the campaign against illegal drugs, Roe said that it would be much better if drugs would be legal because it will be subject to regulation and drug trade would result in additional revenue for the government.
Safety would also be ensured because drug use would be regulated which means that drug prices controlled and quality would also be assured. Legalization of drug use would also result in reduced spending for the expensive reinforcement of anti-drug laws as well eliminating vigorous marketing efforts of drug pushers to persuade drug use. (Roe, 2008). If drugs remain at a fair price, drug dependents do not need to resort to crime to fund their need for the drug.
Legalizing drugs would also impose other regulations such as the banning of the sale of potentially low quality drugs which could prove harmful. Information on the proper dosage would also prevent deaths from overdose. Drugs have almost been ubiquitously known as an illegal commodity but similar addictive substances such as alcohol and tobacco remain to be legal and no one has ever thought of making it illegal. Tobacco could be considered the most addictive substance known to man (Roe, 2008) and has caused millions of deaths worldwide but still remains to be legal.
It is not only harmful to the smoker but also to those exposed to second hand smoke including children. The only regulation done to tobacco and alcohol was to ban its use in specific areas but not necessarily a total ban. Alcohol has been associated with many incidents of death because of drunk driving, homicide, murder and liver diseases whereas the use of illegal drugs which has not been proven to cause any negative effects on the human anatomy when taken in the correct dosage has been deemed illegal.
The argument that taking drugs s an individual’s choice as long others are not harmed as a result may be acceptable. However, this argument has been argued as invalid because aggressive behavior caused by the use of these drugs affects a lot of people and is sometimes associated with crime (Gargaro). It is also emphasized that crime is directly linked to crime and violence as six times as many incidents of homicide involve people who are under the influence of drugs or are looking for money to buy drugs (Drug Enforcement Administration).
Those who support the legalization of drugs also argue that the campaign against drugs cannot be won but data indicate that drug use has decreased by more than a third during the last 20 years. Also, 95 percent of Americans are non-drug users. Despite the arguments by drug legalization lobbyist that drug use does not affect health, “illegal drugs are illegal because they are harmful”. Yet again, arguments for legalization of illegal drugs that clean drug intake at the proper dosage does not pose any real harm are countered.
Based on statistical data provided by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 2000, there are 15,852 drug-induced deaths while alcohol induced deaths number 18,539 (Drug Enforcement Administration). It is also indicated that amount allocated for drug control is only consist a minor portion of the total US budget if it is compared to the amount spent on the social costs of abuse and addiction of the illegal substance. Additionally, legalization of marijuana has been tested in Alaska and this resulted to double the number of teenagers that smoke marijuana.
Due to the rise in the number of marijuana users, the drug was again made illegal at the turn of the 90s (Drug Enforcement Administration). Those who want to legalize drug use have particularly been calling for the legalization of marijuana because unlike cocaine, heroine and methampetamine, the marijuna is “less dangerous” and has medical benefits. However, it anti-drug advocates specify that marijuana still has many harmful effects and that the same medical product from marijuana is Marinol comes in the form of a pill and is a prescription drug.
Marinol is approved by the food and drug administration (Drug Enforcement Administration). Marijuana has also been referred to as a “gateway drug” which means that the use of marijuana could eventually lead to the use of more harmful drugs. Research findings also indicate that marijuana users experience more work, home and school problems compared to those who do not use marijuana. Studies also show that marijuana contains cancer-causing agents and could also lead to othe various respiratory diseases (Marijuana Is a Harmful Drug that Should Not Be Legalized, 2007).
Argument for and against the legalization of illegal drugs present different and contrasting arguments which might make it hard to decide whether drug use should legalized or not. Though legal drug use in Holland did not provide much negative effects, probably because it is properly regulated, the same may not be applicable in the United States. Drugs, being illegal in the United States has not really proved to be a nuisance to the society so it may be fit that the situation stay the way it is. It is much better for the welfare of the majority to keep drugs at bay than to gamble on legalizing the drugs.