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Against the Legalization of Drugs

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Drug legalization or decriminalization is opposed by a vast majority of Americans and people around the world. Leaders in drug prevention, education, treatment, and law enforcement adamantly oppose it, as do many political leaders. However, pro-drug advocacy groups, who support the permissive use of illicit drugs are making headlines. The legalization of drugs would make harmful and addictive substances affordable, available, convenient, and marketable. It would expand the use of drugs. It would remove the social stigma attached to illegal drug use and would send a message of tolerance for drug use, especially to youth.

It's the individual's choice to take these drugs, is the main argument made by those who are for the legalization of drugs. Individuals have the right to do as they see fit, as long as they do not harm anyone else. They choose to put the drugs inside their body, and they have the right to make that choice, without government interference. In theory, I understand this argument, because our present government limits individuals' rights too much with many inappropriate laws and regulations. But the argument regarding an individual's rights has some major flaws. For instance, we don't have the right to do anything we want with our body. In addition to people not being able to do "whatever they want" with their bodies, drugs do not just hurt the person who chooses to use them. The notion that drugs only hurt the people who use them is very shallow and illogical. One needs to look beyond themselves and look at the entire picture, and it becomes obvious that drugs have drastic effects on many people besides those who use them. A

woman who is raped by her boyfriend while he was high on PCP, is an example. All the taxpayers who will be paying for higher insurance rates, more taxes for drug rehabilitation programs, and more money for court cases due to the increased number of drug related offenses, are also examples of how drugs do not just affect the people that use them.

Crime will also not be reduced by drug legalization. Studies show a correlation between drug use and crime; violent crimes such as homicides, assaults and domestic violence. This is simple because drugs lead to violent behavior. Crimes and violent behavior would not magically go away if the drugs were legal. In actuality, crime will rise when drugs are legal because more people will be taking drugs. "Removing criminal sanctions against the possession and distribution of illegal drugs would make them more available and, hence, would create large numbers of new users."2 Crime is high in high-drug use areas not because people are committing a crime to get drugs, but the influence of the drugs made them more inclined to commit a crime. Legalization proponents ignore the fact that the people committing violent crimes are career criminals who will not stop their illegal activities once drugs are legalized; they will instead seek new sources of illicit revenue.

"Cannabis, in the form of marijuana and hashish, is by far the most popular illicit drug in the United States."1 When in actuality, the strongest supporting issues for the legalization of drugs are the medical uses of marijuana. "Nationwide, two-thirds of the public supports the use of marijuana to ease severe pain. Although most people regard

marijuana as a much less dangerous drug than cocaine or heroin, a solid majority opposes general legalization of marijuana, and an even more substantial majority opposes the overall legalization of drugs."3 People have used marijuana as a medical treatment for thousands of years, but controversy still remains about the plant's ability to treat pain, nausea and other side effects of medical treatment.

Another argument we hear is how legalizing drugs will take the thrill out of them so people will be less inclined to use them. Past experience shows that this isn't true. Alcohol use did not decrease when legalized for those of a certain age. When abortion became legal, abortions did not decrease. When an action becomes legal, the number of people carrying out that action increases. Drugs aren't any different. In addition, unless the most harmful and addictive drugs such as crack and heroin are made legal, people will still

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