Drugs Should Not be Legalized
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
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,
"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"
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
"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.