Douglas N. Husak's A Moral Right to Use Drugs
In Douglas N. Husak’s A Moral Right to Use Drugs he attempts to look at drug use from an impartial standpoint in order to determine what is the best legal status for currently illegal drugs. Husak first describes the current legal situation concerning drugs in America, citing figures that show how drug crimes now make up a large percentage of crimes in our country. Husak explains the disruption which this causes within the judicial system and it is made clear that he is not content with the current way drugs are treated. The figures that Husak offers up, such as the fact that up to one third of all felony charges involve drugs, are startling, but more evidence is needed than the fact that a law is frequently broken to justify it’s repeal.
Husak attempts to discuss drug use legality aside in order to prove his argument. He looks at drug use in a three fold manner exploring; the reasons Americans use drugs, the justifications behind the war on drugs, and a discussion on which drugs, if any, should be affected by the law.
In understanding Husak’s beliefs on the reasons for drug use it is first important to look at his definition for recreational use verses drug abuse. Husak defines recreational use as either consumption for enhancement of an experience, such as at a concert, or for alleviation from boredom, like while doing household chores. Husak admits that there are gray areas between this recreational approach and the universally reviled drug abuse. However, Husak is right in saying that drug use that occurs in the ghetto is not recreational, and goes on to explain that rich white people are even more likely to use certain drugs, notably cocaine. It is here that the crux of Husak’s argument is revealed, “a legal policy applicable to all should not be based on the perceived problems of a few.” This is an excellent argument, but I believe it would be helped by empirical data. Just why does Husak use the phrase “perceived problems,” does he leave room for the allowance of hard drug addiction to not necessarily be considered a problem? I believe a brief discussion on the numbers of recreational users verses abusers is needed. True this data, as with any data concerning an illegal and disapproved behavior, may be skewed, but if Husak is right in asserting that these “problems” only occur in “a few” then he should attempt to prove this. The line between use and abuse may be unclear, but it should be sketched out if a relevant discussion of legalization is to be had.
Husak believes a large part of the reason the drugs are so looked down upon in our society is simply because they are used as a scapegoat. Politicians are able to use drugs to explain away crime, poverty, unemployment, the destruction of the American family and many other hot button issues. Because of the fact that drugs are so taboo it is a widely held belief that drugs are just so...