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The War on Drugs: A Controversial Solution

Originally Published: Thursday, March 1, 2007
Written by: Kim Hurley 

Exploring the Alternative Perspective

It is a common occurrence in the straight edge community to hear arguments for the reinstatement of prohibition and other similar ideas. However, it is very rare to hear arguments for the opposite side- legalizing drugs. It is important for people to hear both sides of a story, and it is very unfortunate that many people in the community don’t get to hear both sides of this issue.

The Failed War on Drugs

Drugs have become a huge problem in the United States, and a major issue resulting from that is how to deal with the problem. Currently, there are harsh laws set into place to deal with the issue of drug use and distribution., which is part of the country’s war on drugs.

Unfortunately, war is not working. People are still doing drugs, and the drugs are getting worse and worse. Obviously, the current way of dealing with this problem isn’t effective.

The Case for Prohibition

One solution that is proposed most prominently in the straight edge community is prohibition. In theory, this is an excellent idea- ban all drugs and alcohol so that everyone leads a healthy, positive lifestyle. Unfortunately, real-life doesn’t work the same way that theories do.

Prohibition in this country has already been tried, from 1919 to 1933. There were more alcohol-related problems during prohibition than there were before and after.

A Counterargument: Legalizing Drugs

When looking at Prohibition of the 1920s and the current prohibition on drugs, the pattern seems to say that when something is banned, it seems more desirable to people. For example, people under the age of 21 who drink are more likely to binge drink than people that are of-age (21 or older). Because alcohol is banned for those under the age of 21, it seems more desirable for them to drink it than those who are of-age. One solution that is supported by a large number of people, including former law enforcement officers, is to legalize drugs.

Regulation and Taxation

Obviously, there would be a limitation on the types of drugs that were legalized based on their severity, just like alcohol (there are limitations on the percentage of pure alcohol in beverages in the United States). However, this would still have a positive effect on the drug problem in this country. The government would have more control over the distribution of drugs, just like they do with tobacco and alcohol.

Potential Benefits of Legalization

While underage people still find ways to get alcohol and tobacco, it is harder for them to get these than it is for them to get illegal drugs. Also, the government would be able to tax these products, which could potentially be put towards drug rehabilitation programs, needle exchange programs, and other programs designed to help people with drug problems.

Harm Reduction through Legalization

Another benefit has to do with these programs themselves. Programs like needle exchange programs are very beneficial but are hard to get going when the problem it deals with is illegal. Needle exchange programs are places where drug users can go to exchange their dirty needles for clean needles. They also provide information about rehabilitation for people using the program. While it doesn’t directly cut down on drug use, it helps those who use drugs stay a little bit safer. Dirty needles enable diseases like Hepatitis and AIDS to spread rapidly between users. If drug users are able to exchange their needles, they will at least cut down on the spread of such diseases.

However, these programs are hard to start because of the fact that drugs are illegal. There are other programs running in clubs that test “club drugs” to determine what is inside of them. Oftentimes, people will buy pills that are “advertised” like ecstasy, etc. but are really filled with things like bleach and other toxic chemicals. These programs test pills to ensure that they are what they’re supposed to be. While the use of these drugs is not very safe, the program ensures that the drugs people are taking are not more harmful than they should be.

The Call for a New Approach

Drug use in this country is a serious problem that needs to be solved. The war on drugs has been very costly and very ineffective and needs to end. The best solution for this problem is to legalize drugs. While it is a controversial subject, it is one of great importance that can have a huge effect on the future of our country. It is important to see the benefits of legalization and not just ideas about why it is not a good plan.

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