I have been embroiled in numerous debates recently one of them regarding logic and the other the legalization of “illicit drugs”. I would like to post about the idea of legalization.
I, being a libertarian and a realist, believe that it is both unconstitutional and impractical to not only prohibit certain, discriminately selected, substances but to wage an all out war on them. It is unconstitutional to revoke the rights of private citizens in such a gratuitous, and oddly selective, manner. It creates, and has created, one of the world’s most heinous black markets in history ruled by gangs, mobs and terrorists.
The number of overdoses and health related toxic injuries greatly increases when you prohibit a specific drug forcing those that seek its use to attain it through the black market. Where there is a demand there is a supply and despite any effort to curb either the demand or the supply of certain drugs both steadily go on, if not increasing. When you relegate the supply of a drug that is in high demand to the clandestine and criminal elements you are effectively ensuring that the drugs offered are poorly produced and are of highly dangerous qualities. Drugs that are produced in a clandestine manner are replete with contaminant chemicals and toxic precursors that increase the drugs danger and the user’s health risks. Simply put drugs are far more dangerous when they are prohibited.
Some argue that legalizing and regulating illicit drugs would effectively send the use of them sky ward, I find that the opposite would be the likelier scenario. If one were to observe drug treatment center statistics and trends one would undoubtedly notice that the majority of addicts and abusers that occupy such centers are those that use and abuse illegal drugs. The majority of individuals that inhabit treatment centers and rehabs are there for illicit street drugs such as cocaine, methamphetamine, heroine, phencyclidine (PCP), etc. These are the drugs that people are supposedly doing less of because of prohibition. Then you have the individuals at treatment centers, at a far lower rate, for alcohol and prescription drugs (such as oxycontin, valium, vicodin, xanax, etc.). The drugs that are legal and regulated by the federal government have fewer addicts and abusers.
Our current jail systems are overwhelmed and under funded for the prohibition of illicit drugs. Many of the jails are full of individuals convicted of a drug related crime (mainly simple possession). Then there are the outstanding numbers of felons that occupy jails for heinous crimes such as grand theft and homicide that are drug related. Making it a crime to sell, buy or posses certain drugs greatly increases crime. If a cocaine abuser could readily purchase cocaine, that has been produced cleanly and regulated safely, they would not ever face the need of reverting to crime to fuel and pay for their drug.
Some also claim that the strain that legalizing certain drugs would have on healthcare and the taxpayers would be too great. The current war on drugs costs taxpayers an annual 40 billion dollars. This sum of money, no longer being thrown away in the name of a war on drugs, could easily be relocated towards programs such as healthcare. Not to mention the enormous revenue that would be produced by selling and taxing the drugs.
Also certain illicit drugs that so many people are appalled by and would never like to see legalized are already sold, bought and possessed for medical purposes. Cannabis sativa being the most commonly known case, however, far fewer people are aware that methamphetamine is being used for legitimate and legal medical purposes. Methamphetamine is a schedule II substance which means that while it is illegal within the United States to buy, sell or posses this drug without a DEA license or prescription that it is legal to buy, sell and/or posses this drug with a DEA license or prescription. Methamphetamine is currently being used by Americans all over this country for legitimate medical purposes and the regulation and distribution has not been a problem. The pharmaceutical name for methamphetamine is Desoxyn. Granted the regulation and distribution for medical drugs is different but not so entirely different for there to not be a logical inference.
In summation it is unconstitutional to deem certain substances illegal (and to erode private citizen’s constitutional rights and liberties) and the war on drugs that we now have the displeasure of waging is one of the most costly and damaging policies of our government. Prohibiting substances (as the prohibition of alcohol so readily proves) simply creates far more problems than it resolves.
I don’t believe that smoking cannabis sativa or opium on a regular basis is a wise decision but neither is smoking nicotine or drinking alcohol and it is my firm belief that all of these substances should be legal and that those that wish to use them should be able to do so. Only a country that is unconcerned with true freedom and liberty would make such substances illegal.