The Case For Legalizing Drugs Essay

3046 words - 12 pages

Man, as a creature, is inherently bored. Since the dawn of time, it has been the natural instinct ofman to find alternative methods to enhance his being. The many means by which man has turned toinclude sex, gambling, and the consumption of substances beyond the requirements of nutrition. Theconsumption of substances can be further broken down into legal and illegal substances. Thequestion then becomes, who are we to place labels on certain substances by deeming them legaland prohibit others by creating penalties for their use?The issue of prohibition is certainly not a new one to our nation. In 1919, the 18th Amendmentprohibited the manufacture, sale or transportation of alcoholic beverages. 'Suddenly honest,responsible Americans who just wanted a drink, were turned into criminals. Respectable barsbecame underground speak-easys, and legitimate liquor manufacturers were replaced by criminalbootleggers.' Gang warfare, bribery, and criminal activity reached an all-time high. Standards onillegal alcohol were much lower than those on the previously legal alcohol which led to the blindingor death of many consumers. Finally in 1933, politicians buckled and repealed the 18thAmendment. The Prohibition attempt of the early 20th century provides the perfect historicalsupport for the decriminalization of drugs.'Prohibition will work great injury to the cause of temperance. It is a species of intemperance withinitself, for it goes beyond the bounds of reason in that it attempts to control a man's appetite bylegislation, and makes a crime out of things that are not crimes. A Prohibition law strikes a blow atthe very principles upon which our government was founded.'The rise in violent crime over the years has been a concern to most. A major cause of this increasein crime is the illegal trafficking of drugs. As violent crime continues to increase, we are unable todevote our financial resources and time into preventing and prosecuting those who commit crimessuch as murder, rape, and assault. The reason we are unable to devote these resources where theyare needed is because we are foolishly spending them on a battle that we cannot win-the 'War onDrugs.'Prior to Ronald Reagan's 'War on Drugs,' America's crime rate had been declining. Since theintroduction of the new wave drug laws, violent crimes have increased 32% between 1976 and1985. Eighty percent of all violent street crimes are now drug related.Most of the violent crime associated with drugs can be traced directly to the drug dealers and notthe users. 'The 'war on drugs' drives up prices, which attracts more people to the drug trade. Whenpotential profit increases, drug dealers resort to greater extremes, including violence.' For example,the street price of heroin has risen 5,000 times that of hospital costs. These artificial prices lead toturf wars in which one dealer attempts to protect his sales from another. These turf wars causedealers to kill each other, law enforcement officials, and often innocent...

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