Legalization of All Drugs
The push towards legalization of all drugs previously been deemed illegal is a paradigm shift that is quickly gaining traction across the globe. Now commonly referred to as drug liberalization, this idea calls for the legalization of all drugs whose use had been prohibited while also working towards reducing and eliminating all laws that impede the actualizing this goal. All over the globe, attitudes towards drugs are transforming with many even suggesting that their legalization will solve those problems they have time and again been blamed for. The states of Colorado and California are prime examples of jurisdictions that choose to embrace this concept by decriminalizing marijuana and making it possible for those who required it the most (persons suffering from chronic diseases) to access it. These states are aping similar policy changes that had been implemented in The Kingdom of Netherlands where possessions use, and sale of marijuana had been legalized (Becker). It was through this pilot program that researchers were able to establish that the possession of this particular substance had no impact on the rate of use among individuals in a selected population. Legalization of other drugs was therefore seen as the only viable course of action that would now relieve governments and law enforcement agencies of the strenuous probation work. The purpose of this essay is, therefore, to help bring this issue into perspective by exploring arguments on the benefits of the legalization of drugs together with a look into possible adverse effects.
Legalization of drugs is fast becoming the best option since prohibition has apparently failed. The War on Drugs is an indication of the failure of this policy where the Federal government pumped millions of dollars in taxpayer money. Instead of using prevention and setting up social programs to tackle social issues that may be plaguing the inner city, the response to the drug menace has been the deployment of law enforcement agencies to curb drug use. The result of this strategy has been crippling to marginalized communities caught in the cross-fire. Young individuals have been arrested for possession of these drugs and slapped with mandatory minimum sentences (Bogart 34). It is even more surprising is that these sentences are handed out with full knowledge of the fact that a majority of the said individuals are non-violent first-time offenders. In most cases, these individuals are the sole breadwinners for their families and their incarceration deals a blow to their families. Criminalization of drugs has done more damage than good. Illegal trafficking of these drugs still thrives, leaving a trail of death and destruction. Abuse ruins the lives of habitual users while violence escalates to unprecedented levels. Mexico is a prime example of the damage caused by laws prohibiting drugs. Drug barons have made massive gains both in wealth and influence, sparking turf wars for the control of territories to conduct their illegal trade. Legalization of drugs would enable enterprising individuals to set up a legitimate business that will be taxed by the government, evaluated for quality control in addition to constant quality control.
Secondly, there is lack of reliable evidence on the purported harmful nature of illicit drugs. In fact, proponents of the criminalizing drugs are usually at pains to provide empirical evidence proving that illegal drugs are indeed detrimental in comparison to other substances and human activities. The only harmful effects that are apparently visible from making these drugs illegal are the thousands of individuals jailed for possession or intention to distribute, locking a considerable section of society behind bars. Housing these individuals is a costly venture that requires substantial funding from state and federal governments, money that could be put to better use dealing with social problems that draw people to drugs. Moreover, the intentions of those criminalizing drugs are not yet clear since most of them often use shibboleth principles to justify their stance. Legalizing drugs would have a wide range of benefits that may improve the lives of thousands of individuals. Most recently, scientists have acknowledged the benefits of using MDMA and psychedelic mushrooms in dealing with a wide range of depressive disorders. Persons that had been struggling with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and bipolar disorder have found reprieve in the use of these drugs since they aid them in suppressing symptoms associated with the conditions mentioned (Goldstein). Medical marijuana has been used as a remedy for patients experiencing chronic pain and is a better option compared to its synthetic counterparts. Opiates have been widely criticized for their adverse effects on patients in addition to being a leading cause of addiction. Even more surprising is the fact that they are legal while marijuana, a drug that has been found to have a wide range of medicinal benefits declared illegal. The only convincing argument explaining this phenomenon is that corporations (in the form of pharmaceutical companies) are trying to create a monopoly for their selfish gains.
Detractors of the Legalization Lobby often make repeated attempts to poke holes at the argument that billions of dollars have been wasted in fighting. The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) however claim that the money has been put to good use, preventing this menace from reaching dangerous levels. Their task has been to dismantle organizations responsible for trafficking and permeation of these drugs into the United States, and in the process saving young persons from descending into addiction. Legalization of drugs is hence viewed as an undoing of efforts that had been made previously in the fight against its spread. Addiction rates and use amongst underage individuals would soar as was the case in Alaska (Wainwright 13). Other view legalization of drugs as a dangerous mirage that is capable of harming a people more than they could even imagine. Legalizing drugs such as cocaine and heroin would make the drug easily accessible and cheaper, also when users are acutely aware of the extent to which it can harm their lives. It is viewed as an unrealistic approach since a black market for the drugs would still exist and with an increased chance of drug overdose. The numbers of individuals institutionalized due to addiction would also be on the rise since it is a widely known fact that there are those with an eroded sense of willpower that would be susceptible to drug abuse. Legalization is seen as allowing individuals to make conscious decisions that will most likely end up harming their bodies and the relationships that they have with those around them.
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In conclusion, legalization of drugs is a nascent point of view that is quickly gaining popularity around the world. Proponents of this idea believe it to be a lasting solution to the so-called drug nuisance coupled with the medical benefits that would accrue from lifting the ban. Nevertheless, legalization would also lead to a black market resulting in cheaper low-quality drugs worsening the state of addiction within a defined population.