Legalization of Drugs Ever Since Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

He argues that 15 million Americans used drugs over and over again last year, but very few harms were actually produced. To punish all 15 million users for the few harms is unfair, but again he does say that. He also argues that racial inequalities make the system unfair. Minorities are no more likely to use drugs, but they are far more likely to be arrested, tried, and convicted, and minority communities are devastated because of this selective enforcement. He finally takes a stand and admits Americans should be outraged by this.

The author effectively refutes arguments that drug use would soar if it were decriminalized. The price of drugs would not go down, he claims, even if it became legal to sell them. Taxes would take care of that. Lawsuits would be allowed against producers for harmful effects. To remain in business, drug producers would have to pay the costs. Husak also argues that if a legalized drug were really dangerous, it would be taken off the market. His rhetorical strategy seems to be a dispassionate "objective" approach with strictly logical arguments and no emotional undertones. I am not certain that this is altogether effective. All these arguments make a good case for decriminalization but do not consider the human beings who actually use (and abuse) drugs.

If illegal drugs were decriminalized, not just for users but for producers as well, the same people who use drugs now would probably continue to use them. However, they could live more normal lives, so drug-related crimes would likely be reduced. They could seek medical treatment without fear of prosecution. They could keep their jobs instead of going to jail. People who now reject using drugs would continue to reject using them because the reasons why they do not use drugs have little to do with legal or illegal. They reject drug use because they have other more important things to do with their lives, such as getting ahead in the world, earning a living, and paying a mortgage. Drug use gets in the way of upward mobility and success.

Making "war" on a medical/social problem makes no sense. People who are alienated from society become addicted to drugs, as Sen. Robert Kennedy pointed out back in 1965. Solving the drug problem, he said, means "solving poverty and broken homes, racial discrimination and inadequate education, slums and unemployment" (cited in Goldberg, 2005 p. 11). Until these complex, hard-core social problems are addressed in a meaningful way, drug abuse will continue to be a problem. Drug abuse is a symptom of societal sickness, and making "war" on a symptom without addressing the disease itself is useless, expensive, and makes everything worse. It limits the range of our solutions, and we cut ourselves off from social policies that might actually reduce the problem of drug abuse. I agree with Husak that users should not be punished. But in his plan, the great waste of effort and taxpayer money now being plundered in a "war on drugs" against the producers would still be going on. Doing more of the same will never produce a different result.

Works Cited

Goldberg, Raymond (Ed.), Taking Sides: Clashing Views in Drugs and Society, 7th edition.

New York: McGraw-Hill/Dushkin.

Husak, Douglas. "Drug Legalization," Criminal…

Sources Used in Document:

Works Cited

Goldberg, Raymond (Ed.), Taking Sides: Clashing Views in Drugs and Society, 7th edition.

New York: McGraw-Hill/Dushkin.

Husak, Douglas. "Drug Legalization," Criminal Justice Ethics, (Winter/Spring, 2003), 21-29.

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