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The Paper Tiger Reasons for Legalizing Drugs - Essay Example

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There is no controversy surrounding the fact that drug use in America is a national epidemic. Yet while many people call for continued and increased enforcement efforts, others call for the legalization of many drugs that are currently outlawed. …
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The Paper Tiger Reasons for Legalizing Drugs

Download file to see previous pages... Legalization arguments are paper tigers that, when confronted by reason, leave no doubt that drugs should not be legalized.

Advocates will often point to our Constitution to justify the stand that all people should be free to ruin their life with a drug habit. Of course while no one but the most radical elements advocate legalization for children, assuming that it only applies to adults stretches the meaning of freedom to the point that it becomes unrecognizable. Adults are not simply individuals living in a vacuum, unaffected by and having no impact on the world around us. People have families, communities, cultures, and societies that they are a part of. A person's freedom of choice must be carefully balanced against societies obligation to protect all of its members. The myth that the abuser is the only victim of drug addiction simply does not apply to the parent who is neglecting their children because they are too high to understand the responsibilities of adequate parenting.

Legalization advocates often link the ideal of freedom with ethics.
They point to the inherent unfairness and hypocrisy of a government that condones alcohol use but condemns marijuana users to prison or probation. However, this argument merely draws attention away from the real issue. The controversy is not the safety and status of alcohol. The issue should remain focused on the legalization of drugs and not an issue of which drug is better or worse. Proponents likewise point to the unfairness in the application of the drug laws as a reason for legalization. They cite the disproportionate number of minorities and poor in prison for violating the drug statutes. Milton Friedman, a leading legalization advocate, asks, "Can any policy, however high-minded, be moral if it leads to widespread corruption, imprisons so many, has so racist an effect" (P14}. While his sympathy may be admirable, his reasoning is flawed. If police forces are using racism or a policy of corruption to enforce the law, then that is the issue that needs to be addressed. It is not the drug law; it's the application that needs examined. If a preponderance of murderers on death row are minorities, and they probably are, no one would advocate legalizing murder, and we should not legalize drugs in a misguided effort to correct deficiencies in our enforcement efforts.
Our current strategy of enforcement has resulted in a ballooning population of prison inmates, many who are there as either a direct or indirect result of drug addiction. Opponents of strict drug enforcement question whether we can afford the continued incarceration of drug offenders (Currie, P10). The real question is; can we afford not to Crimes resulting from drug use often fall into two categories; the property crime committed to get money to purchase drugs, and the crime committed during an altered state of mind and loss of rational behavior. Bennett tells us that if drugs were legalized, "drug use would soar" (P13). The crimes that result from the drug user's impaired judgment would increase proportionately. But would legalization reduce property crime Advocates would have us believe that the greater access to a legal supply ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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