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United States Drug Policy Essay

1459 words - 6 pages

US Drug Policy

Introduction
Drug policy is a crucial topic in the country today. Substance abuse, as well as drug-related crime rates, are a huge problem. This is a fact. The way to fix the problem of substance abuse, however, is widely disagreed upon. Some think that stricter laws regarding drug possession and use would solve the problem, while others believe that loosening the restrictions would be a better option. The issue of legalizing drugs, especially marijuana, is one that is debated all the time. In fact, in 1995, a survey was conducted on the most important policy issues and eighty five percent of the country placed drugs at the top of the list (Falco 1996). Many states are actually beginning to decriminalize, and even legalize, marijuana use for medical perposes. In fact, two states, Washington and Colorado, have legalized the recreational use of marijuana for anybody over the age of twenty-one since 2012. (Hawken, Caulkins, Kilmer, and Kleiman 2013)
The legalization and regulation of marijuana would greatly minimize crime and solve many problems including overcrowding of jails and prison, lowering the tax dollars that people need to pay in order to support these incarcerated criminals, and regulating the economy.

Importance of Drug Policy Debates
Most Americans would agree that the debate over whether to legalize drugs and which ones to legalize is an incredibly important topic. Whether you are a conservative, liberal, or anywhere in between, it is likely that you have thought about this issue and have some sort of opinion on it. It is not just a political issue it is a social one. Drug use and abuse affects countless people and their families and friends.
This issue does not affect only the drug users and dealers, and their loved ones, but each and every tax payer. This is true because the government spends $35 billion a year on drug control. (Boyum and Reuter 2005) Many people do not know that so much government money is going to this, and everybody should be aware of what their government is spending their money on.
Inciardi says that this issue may be so important to people because of the media. He says that the media portraying so much drug use brings this type of behavior to the attention of people including law officials as well as civilians. It is sort of glamorized on television, with stories of celebrities being sent to rehabilitation centers. (Inciardi 1999)
Besides this, many people are concerned because of the influx of hard drugs, especially heroin, to the mainstream rather than being hidden in the poverty-stricken inner cities. In recent years, crack, cocaine, and heroin have been more prevelant than ever, especially among the wealthy. Drugs are no longer something that only gang members and bad guys do, everybody is doing them. (Inciardi 1999)
Because it is so prevalent in pop culture and in the news, everybody should be up to date and aware of the current drug policy in their area.

America’s “War on...

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