Like any fatal ailment, drug abuse is also an epidemic that claims a number of our resources at state and national levels. The drug user impinges on not only himself, but also the people around him and also bears a financial burden on the government. Substance abuse costs the nation more than $484 billion each year as opposed to the cost of diabetes at $131.7 billion and the cost of cancer at 171.6 billion. According to these figures, the tax dollars that we are paying are being expanded more in the drug use problem than any other major disease. What’s more is that drug abuse gives way to a number of social issues in addition to drugged driving which might become the leading cause of fatal accidents on the roads. Drug use also promotes crime in our community and puts innocent people in the debts of notorious drug dealers. Drug abusers are also more prone to exhibit violence on their family members and others around them when under the influence and also when they are suffering from withdrawal symptoms. A person who uses drugs could also get his/her friends and peers to join in the habit which could deteriorate the quality of that many more lives. Drug abuse is a problem which if dealt with efficiently and properly could save us a lot of costs and health problems. This paper is being written with the intention of exploring legalization of drugs as a possible solution to this deplorable pandemic.
Legalizing the drug may be regarded as an unconventional solution to the problem, but it could nonetheless help in a number of ways. In the fear of becoming victims to the heavy punishment that the government is imposing on drug dealers and users, many people who are involved in the business are terrified of coming forward and talking about the problem more openly. Legalizing the practice could to some extent enable us to discuss and find solutions to the problem more unequivocally. Also, when drugs are available explicitly, the exposure to dangerous drug cartels and distributors could be greatly reduced and in conformity, the risks associated with such exposure would also decline. Also, due to drugs being illegal, it is practically impossible for the government to control and regulate its distribution. An opportunity however could present itself once the use of drugs is legalized. What’s more is that the criminalization of drugs isn’t known to be helping much with the problem. All it's doing is forcing users to employ harmful methods of taking drugs that could adversely impact their health. Legalization of drugs is also preventing us from using several of these drugs for medicinal purposes. Cocaine is widely known to be used to treat wounds in children and also proves helpful for adults, whereas heroin is known to relieve pain and acts as an even faster sedative when weighed against morphine. Heroin is often given to help with pain in surgery patients, women in labor, and is also known to slow down and in some cases completely stop bleeding. By declaring these drugs as illegal, we are giving up many incentives that could be derived from them.
When looking at the political aspects, drug legalization could reduce the costs that are being incurred for chasing huge drug lords and criminals. They could also bring in sizeable taxes that could be the outcome of open selling of drugs. Drug legalization is being estimated to yield taxes of up to $46.7 billion each year. Many also believe that Marijuana is the state’s number one cash crop and the benefits derived from it could exceed the combined profits that we obtain from wheat and corn. In addition to all other problems associated with legalization of drugs, it has also been estimated that black Americans are 3.6 times more likely to get arrested for selling drugs and are 2.5 times more likely to get arrested for possessing them in comparison to white people, even though black people aren’t known to use more. Arresting for drug abuse is a practice policeman carryout with a great deal of discretion and their ethnic prejudices are commonly known to cloud their judgment. Legalization of drugs could remove an entire set of laws that are being used against the minorities.
There is also however a darker side to legalization of drugs. We have already seen and lived through the upshots of legalizing alcohol in the country, and the consequences aren’t comforting. According to the statistics put together for the year 2002, 32 percent of the fatally injured drivers involved in vehicle accidents had Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or greater. Also, 45 percent of all fatal accidents took place because the drivers had BAC of 0.08 or above. Legalizing drugs might be successful in saving us the costs that are incurred on imposition of the law, but it may cost us a lot more in the increased number of accidents and medical problems that may result from excessive drug use. The people who become addicted to drugs are also going to influence the people around them in pessimistic ways, and the family members and friends may be abused, made victims to violence or worse when the drug abuser is under the influence. Drug abuse could also result in a number of health issues that we have already suffered through as a consequence of excessive cigarette smoking. A more intricate scenario could also come to light where these problems could also surpass the magnitude that we have already witnessed. Smoking pot, for instance, could affect the lungs and result in respiratory problems. Also, we regard tobacco to be full of carcinogens, but marijuana has 50-70 percent greater content of carcinogens, therefore, a higher risk of cancer.
On top of everything else, here’s a brief overview of the costs that the state might have to incur if drug distribution is made widespread. The government would need to set up a greater number of rehabilitation centers and support groups to support the increased number of users that the legalization is likely to give rise to. An increase in crime rate could also be anticipated due to the violent behavior of people under the influence. Also, people who become addicted to drugs are also likely to disturb the peace of their house as well as at public places to fulfill their drug requirements. Also, when more potent drugs are used and distributed, drug abuse may become a problem at a larger scale. It would also not be a good impression on the government or the law enforcing organizations if open use of drugs is supported since a number of people regard the practice of drug abuse as immoral.
Drugs however were not always as big a tribulation as they are today. Drugs were first introduced in the U.S. by doctors for medicinal purposes and were subsequently declared as illegal after the adverse ramifications started coming to light. Marijuana, one of the oldest and the most major drug was a great source of revenue in the U.S. before the civil war. It was mostly used for medicinal purposes and was very commonly available at shops and superstores. When prices of alcohol were raised in 1920, people started using marijuana in its stead and within no time, it became the reason for addictions and mental and health problems. In 1886, with the introduction of coca-cola as a soft drink which contained syrup from coca leaves, various unregulated tonics containing cocaine became common in the United States and by 1902, close to 200,000 people had become cocaine addicts. The government finally decided, in 1941, to ban cocaine use and sale. All other drugs have similar histories, and all were illegalized for the same reason; they started become a hazard to the health and lives of many. I believe that the step was quite calculated and very justified, and things should stay the way they are in the future too. Legalizing all of these drugs could bring many advantages, but it could also unravel monsters that might be beyond our power to regulate. And since we have not seen much success with legalization of alcohol and tobacco, the effects of these other drugs may be quite a few degrees too high.
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McCormack, S. (2014, 10 January). Blacks Less Likely To Sell Drugs, Much More Likely To Be Arrested For It: Study. Retrieved from Huff Post Crime: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/10/01/black-people-arrest_n_5914566.html
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