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Legalization of Drugs - Essay Example

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Legalization of Drugs

In addition to marijuana, others, such as Douglas Husak, want to decriminalize all drugs as he explains in Four Points about Drug Legalization, a philosophical commentary on the irrationality of the “war on drugs.” Of course the idea of legalization to some, such as James Wilson, suggests legitimizing the use of dangerous, mind-altering substances which would lead to the increase of addiction therefore crime and the decline of society. Wilson’s comments are based more in real-world terms rather than philosophical but both arguments are similar to the ones held in the medical, legal and philosophical arenas along with those by common citizens at the office, home and social settings. Husak favors decriminalization but not necessarily legalization. He believes users should not be punished for drug use just as alcohol possession was not illegal during the Prohibition era during the 1930’s. It’s a subtle yet important distinction in the national debate. Wilson contends the war on drugs is working. As an example, he points to the use of heroin, which has not increased since the drug war began in earnest during the early 1970’s. This is because it’s essentially the same - people are using it as back then. Young persons are afraid of getting caught and suffering through long prison terms in addition to not being able to afford the very expensive drug. Had heroin been made legal both those impediments to use would not exist. He provides evidence of the more liberal drug laws in Britain where heroin use has been climbing every year since the 1960’s to illustrate his point. On the other hand Husak argues that punishment should be reserved only for those who harm others such as assaults and theft. Imprisoning drug users is not rational. Millions of Americans use drugs but they use alone, and only very seldom does that do any harm except, possibly, to the person using. Yes, if that person commits robbery to support their drug habit, that’s a punishable crime but the actual use should not be. Additionally, the drug war has been employed unfairly, a circumstance that should nullify any law. “Drug prohibition would have vanished long ago had whites been sent to prison for drug offenses at the same rate as blacks. This is one of the features of prohibition that should outrage us all.” (Husak, 2003). Heroin is a debilitating drug, which, according to Wilson, serves the public good to be kept illegal. However, crack cocaine is worse and the thought of it being legalized is preposterous. At least when people are using Heroin, as Wilson says they are “helpless but at least harmless.” When using cocaine, people tend to become violent with the only goal of obtaining and using more, becoming binge users at the expense of their job and family. These addicts are impulsive, irritable, hyperactive, violent and uninhibited making them a constant danger to society. Therefore the user should be taken out of society. Women use crack cocaine more than men and cannot stop when they become pregnant which has very harmful effects for the innocent child. These are not isolated incidents, it is estimated that up to 50,000 babies are born every year addicted to cocaine in New York City alone. The reason people use crack more than heroin is the price. If we legalize drugs the price will drop for all varieties. We will see other drugs rise to the usage level of crack and beyond. Crack cocaine is a precursor, a lesson for future drug policies. (Wilson, 1990). Husak counters that one should not assume decriminalization will act to decrease the price of drugs. Again, the difference in legalization and decriminalization matters when discussing the method ...Show more


Legalizing marijuana is a concept that is growing in popularity. Proponents claim that it does society more harm than good to incarcerate people for a fairly harmless substance and is hypocritical for alcohol and tobacco to be legal because these substances are, too, physically addictive and deadly. …
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