Drug Legalization In America A Radical Stance

1278 words - 5 pages

Is the use of illicit substances really much of a problem in America? According to The Federal Government's Household Survey on Drug Abuse, often cited by the DEA, roughly 12.7 million people used an illicit drug in the past 30 days. Another 30 - 40 million people admit to having used an illicit drug in the past 12 months. (SA&MHSA) With countless government programs to combat drugs, it would seem that there is a lack of significant progress. However, common sense dictates that these numbers are grossly under-reported as the survey is conducted by randomly calling people asking them about their illicit drug use. Other surveys report numbers more than twice as high as those reported by the Household Survey. The lack of reliable information on the true number of illicit drug users in America today is a direct result of their prohibition, which proves to be a most convenient by-product for those tax-hungry government programs. According to another recent survey, the National Institute on Drug Abuse reports roughly 11 million Americans ages 12 and over consumed illegal substances at least once a month. In fact, the percentage of 12th graders who have ever used illicit drugs is up from a low of 32% in 1992 to a high of 49% in 2001. (NIDA) Noting these statistics, one may begin to question the effectiveness of the current drug laws and enforcement agencies in this country. Is there really a need?Sure, it may seem radical to suggest the abolishment of our current drug legislation, but the justification for such an act is quite rational. The "war on drugs" has been in effect for decades, but with what success? The federal government spent about $1.5 billion on prohibition back in 1981. Today we are nearing $50 billion a year at the federal level by many estimates, and states are spending nearly that much again - approaching $100 billion a year total. (ONDCP) The federal government arrested a few hundred thousand people on drug charges in 1981. Today we arrest 1.6 million people a year for non-violent drug offenses. Since prohibition measures its success by those incarcerated for failing to follow the law, one cannot help but wonder where the money comes from for all those non-violent offenders.If you did not guess already, surely it is the taxpayer who shells out those billions of dollars every year. With such an apparent lack of progress, though, the question of government integrity arises. If they permit us to consume tobacco and alcohol, both of which are obviously detrimental to one's health, then why should they not allow the consumption of other substances? This is a question that remains to be addressed rationally given the facts: All illegal drugs combined kill about 4,500 people per year, or about one percent of the number killed by alcohol and tobacco. (SAMHAS) Tobacco kills more people each year than all of the people killed by all of the illegal drugs in the last century. Could it be corporate affiliations that cause such ignorance?...

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