Does America Have a Future?
Can you picture this? Children and teenagers suffer from irreversible brain damage. Children go to school high, if they even to go school at all. Crime rates soar to outrageous proportions. Businesses fail because of decreased productivity and increased absenteeism. Families break up because a parent is in prison. Courtrooms and prisons are overcrowded with criminals convicted of drug-related crimes. These scenes could reflect America in the future if drugs such as cocaine and marijuana are legalized.
One argument for the legalization of drugs is that crime rates would be reduced. Former Surgeon General, Dr. Joycelyn Elders, stated on December 8, 1993, that "we could markedly reduce our crime rate if drugs were legalized." Her rationale is that drug users would not kill other people for drugs or drug money of drugs were legal. The logic is simple: if much of our growing crime rate is due to attempts by drug dealers to obtain and market drugs, and to attempts by addicts to obtain the money to buy their drugs at inflated prices, then legalizing drugs and controlling the cost would reduce the current crime rate.
However, legalizing drugs would most likely increase the crime rate, not decrease it. A close look at the dynamics involved reveals that legalizing drugs would bring nothing but disaster for our future.
First, legalizing drugs would promote further drug use. Current users would probably use drugs more often if they were legal, and people who do not currently use drugs might be tempted to try them for the same reasons. The National Institute of Drug Abuse reports that two-thirds of Americans between the ages of twenty and forty have used illegal drugs in the past year, and twelve percent of all Americans have done so in the last month. According to USA Today, a study by the Center of Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University found that 89% of people who use cocaine had first used three milder drugs: alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana. According to a recent study by the Senate Judiciary Committee, 2.2 million Americans are hooked on cocaine. Thus, with this number of people currently using drugs, more people, in all probability, would try drugs and potentially become addicted to drugs if drugs were legal and easier to obtain.
Second, drugs that are currently used alter a person's mental capability. Users may experience hallucinations, have episodes of irrational behavior, and experience a loss of judgement. With such psychological changes, users increase their risk of causing serious harm to themselves or others. According to Christian Social Action, 50% of all crimes and violet acts committed in Washington, D.C. were carried out by a person under the influence of cocaine. If more people began using drugs, the crime rate among those actually using drugs could only escalate.
Children and teenagers also face dangers when they use drugs, often...