Essay, Research Paper: Drugs Legalization 

Alcohol and Drugs

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Should Drugs Be Legalized? For several decades drugs have been one of the major
problems of society. There have been escalating costs spent on the war against
drugs and countless dollars spent on rehabilitation, but the problem still
exists. Not only has the drug problem increased but drug related problems are on
the rise. Drug abuse is a killer in our country. Some are born addicts while
others become users. The result of drug abuse is thousands of addicts in denial.
The good news is the United States had 25,618 total arrests and 81,762 drug
seizures due to drugs in 1989 alone, but the bad news is the numbers of
prisoners have increased by 70 percent which will cost about $30 million
dollars. Despite common wisdom, the U.S isn't experiencing a drug related crime
wave. Government surveys show between 1980 - 1987 burglary rates fell 27
percent, robbery 21 percent and murders 13 percent, but with new drugs on the
market these numbers are up. One controversial solution is the proposal of
legalizing drugs. Although people feel that legalizing drugs would lessen crime,
drugs should remain illegal in the U.S because there would be an increase of
drug abuse and a rapid increase of diseases such as AIDS. Many believe that
legalizing drugs would lessen crime. They point out that the legalization of
drugs would deter future criminal acts. They also emphasize and contrast
Prohibition. When the public realized that Prohibition could not be enforced the
law was repealed. Drug Legalization. Since the prohibition of marijuana in 1965
there has been sparked a new heated controversy over the legalization and/or
decriminalization of this and other banned substances. Many politicians and
lawmakers as well as philosophers, doctors, students, etc. have weighed the
facts and opinions and have come to a decision on which side of the fence to sit
on. he arguments either for or against the legalization of drugs seem to stem
from two main focuses of thought. These two main ideas are that of
consequentialism and deontology. Consequentialism is defined as the position
that an action is right if it has good consequences and wrong if it has bad
consequences. On the other side, is deontology, the position that believes that
actions are right or wrong in themselves, regardless of their consequence. An
easy way to simplify these definitions is to think about how these two thoughts
would apply to murder. A deontologist would believe that murder is wrong simply
because it is the taking of another’s life, that the intrinsic value of murder
is bad so thus “murder is bad”. A consequentialist on the other hand would
look deeper at the motive and consequence of the murder, then form an opinion
from there. Looking past the intrinsic value of it, what if the one person that
was murdered, was killed because he had a bomb that was going to kill 300
people? If believing in this channel of thought, one might conclude that this
one sacrifice of life saved 300 others, thus the overall outcome is good, so the
action was right. any classical as well as contemporary philosophers maintain
opinions and ideals that can be classified as either consequentialist or
deontological. Classical philosophers such as John Stuart Mill and John Milton,
along with more modern writers like Milton Friedman and Ethan A. Nadelmann are
all examples of consequentialist thinkers. On the deontological side of the coin
reside such well-known purveyors of classical thought as Aristotle and Edmund
Burke, along with contemporaries like William J. Bennett and James Q. Wilson.
The two main ideas of thought held by the two divisions of these gentlemen have
a great deal to do with their positions on the legalization of drugs. It is
important to keep in mind that while the opinions of Friedman or Bennett, for
example, are known because of their writings and expression of these opinions,
we are only assuming at this point what an older philosopher, like Aristotle for
example, would think about the controversy. The deontologist way of thought
would conclude that the use of illegal substances is a bad thing and should be
banned from usage by authority. Aristotle for example believed that the job of
government was to make people virtuous and good. A consequentialist, on the
other hand, would not shun the drug use itself as bad, rather look past the use
of the drug and place their opinion on the outcome of the usage of the drug. The
consequentialist way of thought, coupled with Mill’s idea of the “Harm
Principle” makes for a “deeper” look into the right or wrong of drug use.
Loosely paraphrased, the Harm Principle can be summarized as the rights of an
individual extend as far as his neighbors’ face. Meaning that personal rights
are only endowed upon and justly held by the bearer of these rights so as long
that they do not harm nor infringe upon others’ rights (Mill). In keeping with
this, a consequentialist would conclude that the use of drugs and the
legalization to further the use of these drugs are not a bad things so as the
consequences were not ill and no one but the user was possibly harmed. 
Bibliography 
Bonevac, Daniel. Today’s Moral Issues. California: Mayfield Publishing
Company, 1999. Mill, John Stuart. On Liberty: Annotated Text Sources and
Background Criticism. Ed. David Spitz. New York: W.W. Norton & Company,
1975.
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