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 Drugs Should Be Legalized

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PostSubject: Drugs Should Be Legalized   Tue May 25, 2010 5:49 pm

My position on the legalization of drugs is primarily based in my admittedly idealistic desire for people to possess as much personal freedom as possible. I understand that some people couldn’t handle that situation. However, I believe that short of causing intentional harm to another individual, in a “free” society you should be able to do what you like. I accept that this means some people will fail, but at least they will do so in their own volition. With that being said, I believe that the benefits for legalizing drugs are better than the supposed benefits of keeping them illegal.

I want to start with a few statistics that are important to the discussion. There were 1.5 million people arrested for drug related offenses in 2009, five-hundred thousand of them were convicted and sent to jail. It costs on average twenty-five thousand dollars a year to incarcerate one inmate; we spend from 6-10 billion dollars imprisoning these offenders per year. Approximately one-fifth of our 2.3 million convicts are serving drug related sentences. Also in 2009, the official spending on the war on drugs was listed as 52.7 billion dollars. This certainly isn’t helping the fact that the United States currently has a deficit of nearly thirteen trillion dollars. Meanwhile, it was estimated in 2008, that the United States could increase its economy by 76.8 billion dollars a year (based off of that year’s numbers), just by legalizing drugs. This estimate is based on the 44.1 million dollars (this number would increase now) that the government would save by stopping the “war” and a projected 32.7 billion dollars in tax revenue. After only ten years this action would give us nearly a trillion dollars in revenue, that we otherwise won’t have, and we could use it for something important like reducing the deficit.

After considering those numbers, consider the invasion of our privacy, and the impact on our freedom that the war on drugs has had. We are subjected to drug tests, to determine whether we will be hired or not, police can search our homes without a warrant if they suspect we have drugs, all for an activity that by itself only impacts the substance user. Drug convictions have some of the most severe sentence requirements, with many people serving life in jail for repetitive use (3 convictions). Why do we allow a government that is supposed to serve us, to throw us in jail for what we choose to do with our own bodies?

There is no justified reason for imprisoning drug users. The government cannot claim it is out of a desire to keep them safe from themselves when they allow them to smoke cigarettes and drink alcohol, two activities that have far worse consequences for the body then many drugs. Some try to argue that arresting drug users prevents them from committing other crimes. This however, is also not legitimate because we cannot arrest someone for what they may or may not do. And even if we could, there is nothing close to a guarantee or even really a probability that someone on drugs will commit another crime. But if we are going to start arresting people on this basis, then why shouldn’t we start with the drunks? There is plenty of scientific data stating how negatively alcohol is for the brain, and that it can lead to violent outbursts. It is recognized however, that we cannot punish one alcoholic for the actions of another, and therefore we only punish alcoholics when they themselves do something wrong. Drugs could be legalized in the exact same way as alcohol. Designate the age to 21, of course make it illegal to drive under the influence, and make it illegal to be a public disturbance.

When we don’t even get the final say over our own bodies, how can we pretend to be free?

(Note: I would have formally included statistics comparing the amount of deaths linked to the use of tobacco, alcohol, and drugs but I couldn’t find any reliable and verifiable sources. The only numbers I could find about drug usage claimed that in 2006 there were 435,000 tobacco related deaths, 85,000 alcohol related deaths, and 25,000 deaths related to narcotics use. I could not find any verification, and I don’t really trust these numbers because I would expect the drug related deaths to be much closer to the alcohol related deaths than was claimed in that comparison. Therefore I felt it would be dishonest to include them in my argument, but it wasn’t an issue I overlooked. There was only one other article worth mention that I found, a USA Today article that stated there were 26,000 drug overdoses in 2009, more than half though resulted from prescription drugs.)
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PostSubject: Re: Drugs Should Be Legalized   Sun Jun 06, 2010 10:11 am

Even worse than the alcohol and cigarettes is the use of psychotropic drugs which are prescribed as a common 'treatment' of psychological or physiological issues. These psychotropic medications have a consistently negative track record from numerous case studies within the past twenty years. These alleged 'medications' cause permanent and irreparable damage. 
Psychotropic medications flood your neurotransmitters with additional chemicals which temporarily reduce the symptoms that the medication was prescribed for. However, due to the increase in the specific chemicals without the natural/normal process these chemicals go through to be created and utilized, they cause damage to the neurotransmitters. These neurotransmitters are unable to be regenerated and this further reduced the amount of chemicals that may be transmitted through the brain. Therefore, these drugs cause dependancy issues due to the damage they cause. It amazes me how little morality is left in society. 
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