Solutions For The Drug Epidemic? Essay

1684 words - 7 pages

Picture this-- a society is consumed and overrun with drug abuse. Children are combing the streets committing serious crimes in order to get money to fulfill their cravings for drugs. Addicts and pregnant women are overdosing on crack cocaine or other dangerous substances. The authority of the government and police is slowly slipping away to a thriving black market. This is not how anyone in the United States pictures the future of our country. However, we are being forced to face the possible reality of this fate because of the rapidly growing drug problem that is permeating the streets and the lives of the American public. The debate over whether drugs should be legalized is a constant back and forth battle that seems to have no end. Is it possible to find a solution that is completely based on legalization or on criminalization? The odds to that effect are slim to none. We must look deeper into the problem in order to find the solution.John Stuart Mills, the author of On Liberty, describes a concept that is rooted in how society and individuals should be governed. According to Mill's ideas, the individual is accountable for his or her own actions and the government has no right to interfere unless the individual's actions threaten to harm others. Freedom is defined by that sphere in which people are not prevented or forbidden from doing things even when it would be better for them not to do them. "The principle of freedom cannot require that he should be free not to be free. It is not freedom to be allowed to alienate his freedom..." (Mill 322). This concept is commonly known as the "harm principle". While the harm principle, when applied to drug policy and legalization within the United States, appears to have many benefits, it actually undermines its purpose and could even cause more damage.Drugs are related to crime in several ways. It is illegal to possess, manufacture or distribute drugs that have the potential for abuse, usually cocaine, heroin, amphetamines and marijuana. Every single time someone does drugs they are contributing to the collective amount of crime within the United States. In addition, within the black market, illegal drugs are very expensive. Because of this, many drug abusers resort to petty crimes such as stealing to acquire the money they need in order to buy drugs (ONDCP 3). The threat of violence is also a major issue. There is the chance of fights breaking out between rival drug dealers, which put passersby in danger. Because of the increase in crime caused by not legalizing drugs, then it should be safe to assume that the legalization of drugs would be a benefit to society according to Mill's harm principle. Individuals would be given the chance to decide for themselves whether or not they want to do drugs and overall, it would be lower the crime rate. But this is not true.In James Q. Wilson's article, Against the Legalization of Drugs, he discusses the impact that the legalization of heroin had on Great...

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