Essay, Research Paper: Drugs Legalization

Alcohol and Drugs

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The question of whether to legalize drugs or not is a very controversial and
important issue. Drugs affect so many areas of society. "The U.S.
population has an extremely high rate of alcohol and drug abuse" (Grolier).
Several groups have formed and spoken out regarding their position.
"Speaking Out Against Drug Legalization is the first step in helping to
deliver the credible, consistent message about the risks and costs of the
legalization of drugs to people in terms that make sense to them. The
anti-legalization message is effective when communicated by representatives of
the Federal Government, but takes on even more credibility when it comes from
those in the community who can put the legalization debate in local
perspective" (Internet). After learning about the issues regarding both
sides of the argument, I would choose to support those who oppose legalization
of any drugs. Drugs simply create problems which effect society in several ways.
The government has made several efforts to control drugs and their users,
however, to most the problem appears too out of hand. "Others see potential
profit in legalizing drugs and still others simply believe that individual
rights to take drugs should be protected. The group also acknowledged that the
legalization concept appeals to people who are looking for simple solutions to
the devastating problem of drug abuse" (Internet). Society's answer to the
problem is to trick the drug user by giving him what he wants. People believe
that making drugs legal will take away the temptation to use them. This idea is
wrong and far from logical. If drugs are legalized then they will be more
accessible to the young, addicted, and ignorant. "As a result the ready
availability of addicting drugs, and as a result of their heavy use for medical
problems, many individuals became addicted to the narcotics contained in these
potent medicines. In fact, in 1900, there were more narcotics addicts,
proportionate to the population, than there are today. At that time, most of the
users who became addicts were medical addicts. Very few abusers took drugs for
"recreational" purposes. In 1914, in an effort to curb the
indiscriminate use of narcotics, the federal government passed the Harrison Act,
making it illegal to obtain a narcotic drug without a prescription. During the
1920's the Supreme Court ruled that maintaining addicts on narcotic drugs, even
by prescription, was in violation of the Harrison Act. Some 30,000 physicians
were arrested during this period for dispensing narcotics, and some 3,000
actually served prison sentences. Consequently, doctors all but abandoned the
treatment of addicts for nearly half a century in the United States"
(Grolier). The only resulting effect will be a negative one. There are no
positive aspects of putting drugs on the streets with a label reading
"legal." There are plenty of people in society that find enough
trouble on their own without the help of their country. Legalizing drugs would
have a devastating result that would affect society as a whole. "Audiences
need to understand that 70% of drug users are employed, and that the school bus
driver who drives your children to school could smoke marijuana, that the
surgeon who operates on you may have cocaine in his system, and that the driver
in back of you may be on speed. The debate needs to demonstrate graphically how
the common man will be impacted by drug legalization" (Internet). There is
an idea that the "drug user" is a low class, unemployed junkie. This
is untrue. The drug user is often a white collared worker with a family and a
future. They are not all dirty with missing teeth and poor grammar. The common
misconceptions of the "user" are dangerous to those members of society
trying to rid the world of the problem. "Drinking on the job is a social
and economic problem with a long history. With the growing popularity of illegal
drugs in the 1960's and 1970's, it was to be expected that their use in the
workplace would emerge as a major issue by the 1980's. Estimates of employee
drug use vary greatly, ranging from 10 percent to 25 percent for the proportion
of workers who use drugs occasionally on the job. The safe performance of some
occupations - among them, airline pilot, air traffic controller, truck driver,
and physician - can be compromised by drug use" (Grolier). One of the
greatest concerns of drugs is their contribution to the crime rate. Crime will
always be a problem as long as drugs exist and are abused. "One category of
crime is the victimless crime, which includes drunkenness, drug addiction,
prostitution and gambling. The use of the term victimless is an extremely
qualified one. It refers to acts committed by consenting adults in private; the
acts involve only the participants and are not harmful to others. If harm
occurs; it is inflicted only upon the willing participants. Victimless crimes
are often characterized by the exchange of sought - after goods and services,
and they generate huge amounts of illegal income. It has been argued, however,
that no crime is victimless. The drug addict suffers physical and emotional harm
and often commits property crimes to obtain money for buying drugs"
(Grolier). Crime too often is the result of a drug problem. The crime rate would
probably lower if drugs were illegal because the drug abusers wouldn't need to
steal to pay for their drugs. Legalizing drugs would just add to an already
rising problem. "Compared with other countries that keep crime statistics,
the United States has the highest rate per 100,000 population for reported
murders, rapes, and robberies. It is important to remember, however, that the
incidence of crime is influenced by such factors as industrialization,
urbanization, drug and alcohol abuse, unemployment, and the availability of fire
arms" (Grolier). This should be reason enough to make all drugs illegal.
Legalizing drugs will just feed the problem that teenagers and young adults face
daily. Making drugs legal makes them more conscience accessible and easier on
the "The illegal use of psychoactive drugs is vast and extensive in the
United States. Some 70 million Americans age 12 and over have tried at least one
or more prohibited drugs for the purpose of getting high. The illegal drug trade
represents an enormous economic enterprise. Sales of illegal drugs in the United
States may have totaled $100 billion in 1986, more than the total net sales of
the largest American corporation, and more than American farmers earned from all
crops combined. About 60% of the illegal drugs sold worldwide end up in the
United States" (Grolier). The problems that society already faces with the
unemployed, homeless, criminals, and high school drop-out rate will simply
increase. What society would want such problems to escalate. The thought of how
seriously this could impact our entire nation is both ridiculous and terrifying.
I strongly believe that there are a great deal of people who have not tried
drugs out of fear of getting caught. If this fear were taken from them, they
would probably become drug addicts. As stated by the National Commission of
Marijuana and Drug Abuse, "The term abuse has no functional utility and has
become no more than an arbitrary code word for that drug which is presently
considered wrong" (Grolier). I believe that our country should uphold a few
basic standards, and keep drugs and the problems they create out of our society.
Legalization is an act of neglect and ignorance.
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