Talk:Arguments for and against drug prohibition/point-counterpoint

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Point-counterpoint for drug prohibition[edit]

These are the main points people make for drug prohibition, and counter-points made by people against it:

Immoral[edit]

  • A state cannot tolerate or be involved with the distribution of substances the use of which is considered immoral by much of the population.
    • The charge of "immorality" is subjective, and can be defined differently according to different perspectives and beliefs, all of which may be valid. Thus, with such conflicting views, a law based on "morality" cannot be fairly applied to any population.
      • This is not entirely true. Murder is certainly immoral, and based on the set of "morality" that most humans share. There is no truly objective (i.e., not based on morality) way to determine if murder or anything else is 'right' or 'wrong.'
        • Murder is, by definition, an unjust (or "immoral") killing. There are a vast array of ways to kill someone that are not considered immoral, including defense of self, others, and property. Saying that murder is immoral is a tautology.
        • Murder is prohibited because it directly violates the rights of another person. Drug use does not. Morality is not the basis of laws against murder, theft, and rape, rights are.
          • Morality is the basis of all laws. The claim that "rights" are the basis for all laws makes sense only if you also make the claim that it is immoral to violate another's rights. Think of it this way: Why is murder illegal? Because it is wrong. What about it makes it "wrong"? Well, nothing, really, just our innate moral sense that it should be wrong. There's really no logical reason to make murder illegal. Murder is only wrong from a moralistic point of view.
            • The idea that morality is inherently the basis of all laws, as expressed above, is overly simplistic. Violating another's rights should not be restricted because such is immoral. Upholding another's rights should be performed because of a given governmental system's agreement in doing so and stated commitment to equal support of such rights.
          • Drug use falls into the class of victimless crimes, such as prostitution; the only victim is oneself, as it is with alcohol use. Declaring these drugs immoral and others not is the greatest form of hypocrisy.
            • Drugs are not a "victimless crime," unless you don't consider Phil Hartman to be a victim. Even if they were, this would still not be an argument for making them legal.
              • "The reasons for the murder/suicide are unknown, although friends of the Hartmans speculated in the press that the combination of their marriage problems and Brynn's drug addictions probably contributed" is stated in the Phil Hartman wikipedia article quite clearly. However, even if Byrnn Hartman's drug addiction was decidedly a contributing factor in her committing murder, it is clearly known that Phil Hartman was killed with a bullet, not a drug.
                • Arguing that the primary harbinger of a murder (in this case, drug abuse) should not be condemned because its effects were indirect is at best illogical, and at worst highly irresponsible. As murder is universally condemned, it is only logical for a society to look for ways in which murders can be prevented, or at least, minimized. It is for this exact reason that certain acts (such as drunk driving) and possession of certain paraphernalia (such as deadly explosives, various drugs) are outlawed. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 99.235.4.6 (talk) 20:57, 16 January 2011 (UTC)
        • While there are some acts which could be referred to as universally immoral, drug use lies well in the grey area where determination of morality is at best subjective and at worst entirely arbitrary.
    • In the general sense, the argument for the prohibition of drugs because they are immoral ignores many other substances which remain legal but have many of the same addictive, behavioral, and health effects as drugs. However, there are many advocates of drug prohibition who also advocate the prohibition of substances such as alcohol and tobacco. Of course, the unaccountable power the black market held in the US during the 20's and South America for the past few decades is staggering. That anyone considers Al Capone's reign of terror to be "The Golden Years" of morality-based law enforcement just goes to show how far removed from reality Prohibitionists are.
    • The state already tolerates the distribution of many things much of the population considers immoral, such as pornography, alcohol, various religions/atheism, and Internet access that allows access to things that are clearly illegal or 'immoral.' There is a very large debate open as to whether the government should even be allowed to have a say in so-called 'moral' issues (see Same-sex marriage).
      • These last two statements are both examples of the Two wrongs make a right fallacy. Just because A is more dangerous than B and A is legal, does not mean that B should be legal.
        • The above statement pre-assumes the legalization of drug of any kind to be unequivocally wrong. This is an example of the "Begging the Question" fallacy. Virtually all acts are a mixture of good and evil, and the specific question in this discussion is whether the use of currently illegal drugs is more or less evil than the act of prohibiting them. It is in response to a statement that prohibition has already been deemed more evil than (for instance) the use of alcohol, and that the use of alcohol is at least as damaging as currently prohibited drugs. A simple A > B > C comparison suggests that A > C (drug prohibition is more harmful than the drugs it prohibits).
        • This last statement demonstrates the common misconception that an individual should be prohibited by criminal law from harming him- or herself. If A is more dangerous to the user than B is, and both dangers are solely directly to the user, and A is legal, both should be legal because neither is harmful to anyone except the user. A single act of target skydiving has a inordinately stronger chance of killing the indulger than a hit of marijuana (which has nearly no chance at all of doing so, unless the user has an anomalous allergic reaction), but in both cases the decision to take the risk is be made by the indulger, and affects the indulger solely, and the responsibility will ultimately rest in the hands of the indulger. Effectively, when a drug user chooses to indulge in drug use, they are making the decision and in many cases taking the chance that they will not die from the result. If they do die, they are not punished, therefore only those who have correctly assessed that they will not overdose are punished, as those who guess this incorrectly cannot be punished.
  • What the morality argument appears to ignore is the fact that morality appears to be changable, flexible and at least in the case of drugs, morality has followed law, rather than vice versa. Laudunam (opium in alcohol), heroin, cocaine preparations and other opiate based preparations were all legally and freely available at the turn of the century in most western countries. There was as far as I am aware little or no stigma attached to their use. They were used as patent medicine, baby pacifiers, headache cures, "tonics" (ie depression cures) and as cure alls (not surprising as they do make many common conditions feel better).

We must also remember that the western powers, inlcuding Britain and the US fought several wars to make sure the chinese would keep buying their opium. This tends to indicate that there was nothing publicly immoral in Britain, the US, France etc about the use of opium at the time. Subjectively I think most people would consider the turn of the century to be a "more moral" time - at least for personal (ie non coporate/business morals) than today. It seems to be then that the morals of drug use have changed with it's legal status, rather than vice versa. It would seem to me that the moral objections would dissappear within about 10 years of the lifing of prohibition, as this is about as long as it seems to have taken for what was perfectly acceptable drug use to become immoral when prohibition was introduced. From what I have read the morailty argument against drgs when they were prohibited was not that hey themselves were imooral, it was more that they might lower the inhibitions and thereby encourage imooral behaviour, such as sex out of wedlock (teenage girls using drugs), rape (black men using drugs) and gasp - lateness or absence from productive labour (working class users of drugs).

Dangerous to self[edit]

  • Recreational use of certain drugs is unhealthy and dangerous for the user's body. Therefore, it cannot be produced or distributed with the help of the state, because the goal of the state is to protect citizens' health and not to expose them to risk.
    • Exercise is dangerous and unhealthy (heart attack, stress injuries, broken limbs, soft tissue injury etc - never sprained my aknle sitting in an easy chair watching daredevels lead risky lives on TV!) to the exerciser's body. Therefore it should not be allowed. The state should prosecute people that undertake physical exercise, because the goal of the state is to protect citizens' health and not expose them to risk. Oooh better add driving to that list. Members of the state expose themselves to needless risk when they drive. Of course with the ban on physical exercise our mobility wil be reduced and our ecnomic model will probably change, but hey the state will have fulfiled its role of reducing risk to citizens. Of course legalising the 6th or so biggest industry (ie illicit drugs) in the world would not have any economic benefits would it?
    • This is a fallacious generalization. In order to determine the level of acceptability of risk, each illegal drug must be judged on its own. Marijuana, for instance is far safer than alcohol or tobacco. Heroin and methamphetamines may be more harmful than alcohol or tobacco, but that does not make a statement about any other illegal drug's degree of danger. Please divide this argument into separate discussions about each group of drugs.
    • Certainly, drugs are produced and distributed with the help of the state, as apparently the goal of the state is to protect corporate profits and expose citizens to risk. Indisputably, well over half a million North Americans die every year from the use of taxed and regulated tobacco, alcohol and pharmaceuticals.
      • Please provide some sort of proof of this inflammatory statement.
        • The World Health Organization unambiguously stated in the 1990s that "(b)y the end of the 20th century, cigarette smoking will have killed about 62 million people in developed countries: 52 million men, 10 million women." Today, the WHO notes that alcohol in Europe causes 9.2% of all ill-health and premature death.
        • The British newspaper The Guardian, in co-operation with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists exposed tobacco firms as participants in the wholesale smuggling of cigarettes into third world countries.
        • Not coincidentally, manufacturers of cigarettes, intoxicants and medications are among the world's largest political contributors.
        • In Canada, the regulatory agency charged with protecting their citizens, Health Canada provided pharmaceutical companies with a speedier approval process in exchange for drug evaluation fees, with the result that 19 harmful drugs had to be removed from the market in the last 11 years, compared to 25 drugs withdrawn in the last 30 years.
        • The Canadian situation mimics the United States' Food and Drug Administration fee-for-speed user-pay system in which the proportion of newly approved and widely advertised drugs that had to be withdrawn tripled during the period 1997-2000, compared with 1993-96.
        • One particular pharmaceutical firm, Merck is widely alleged to have repeatedly [1] covered up safety and efficacy data of their palliative Vioxx, which caused between thirty and fifty thousand American deaths before it was pulled from the market voluntarily, without any FDA interference in the billions of dollars earned by the deadly and defective pain killer.
        • Merck and the U.S. Office of National Drug Control Policy blanket the public airwaves with commercials on National Public Radio, which to its credit has recently taken both to task for their deceptive practices.
          • The goal of the state is to protect citizens' health and not to expose them to risk. Just because the state does the opposite sometimes does not mean that their goals have changed, it just means that there are certain dishonest people working for the government who are not doing their jobs properly and should be fired.
            • The purpose of the government of a free society is to protect its citizen's freedom. The purpose of the government of the United States is clearly stated in the preamble to its constitution - "We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America." Nowhere in here does it mention anything about ensuring citizens don't make decisions that adversly affect their physical health. To suggest that it is the government's job to ensure that citizens don't make unhealthy decisions is arbitrary and unsupported.
    • It is more dangerous for both the individual and for society to prevent judicious access to certain drugs. For example, the exploratory use of hallucinogens has led to personal growth and increased awareness in those subjects (artists, philosophers and ordinary people) who have experimented with these substances. Likewise, the therapeutic use of hallucinogens helped a great many individuals with mental difficulties, including autistic children, and terminal cancer patients, for example. These uses, and the methods empoyed were documented in the studies of early researchers in the field, such as Stanislav Grof and others. Closing off access to these substances reduces the overall level of consciousness in society and puts out of reach a powerful tool for working with the mind to a positive end. This creates an unsafe situation for all, as the people prevented from functioning to the best of their mental capacity, often in positions of power, act in ways that are confused and destructive of themselves, others, and the environment.
    • Nearly any activity, from driving a car to cleaning the house, can be dangerous. The legalization of drugs can aid in the minimization of the dangers of drug use (see harm reduction). It is worth noting that the effects of marijuana on the mind (including "amotivational syndrome") and body are minimal to nonexistent, especially when compared with other, legal activities (e.g., drinking alcohol)
      • The dangers of driving and other legal activities are a result of accidents. The brain damage associated with drug use is a result of regular use and generally cannot be avoided.
        • Opiates (including heroin) do not cause brain damage. Marijuana does not cause permanent brain damage (it can impair some functions in the short-term through several months after cessation of use, but not permanently). LSD causes no damage at all. Alcohol does cause brain damage.
        • Most people are fully capable of assessing whether the damage from an activity is worth it, a skill that can be better developed with real, unbiased, factual education that does not exist now but would be essential to any legalization program. Furthermore, some people believe the direct and permanent damage inflicted to their bodies when they get piercings or tattoos is worth it, should those be banned?
          • The number of deaths per year due to tobacco use, alcohol, reckless driving by sober drivers, skydiving accidents, AIDS contracted through sexual contact, etc, would serve as a counterargument to your statement. Every person who has died by one of the means I've mentioned knew the risks before they engaged in such risky behaviour. Yet they did anyway. [A]
      • While it is true that many activities include some level of danger, that does not mean that they are all equally dangerous. Illegal drug use is unacceptably dangerous, regardless of how dangerous other legal human activities may be.
        • No one has died from an overdose of THC (the main active constituent of marijuana). Many currently prohibited drugs have not been shown to cause any physical damage; study of these substances is difficult due to societal stigma and prohibition.
          • That may be true of marijuana, but you have not addressed the issue as it applies to all other drugs.
            • Deaths from all illicit drugs combined pale in comparison to fatalities caused by the regular use as advertised of tobacco, pharmaceutical or alcohol products. The question at hand is whether they present an unacceptable risk, a subjective concept made more complicated to evaluate by the fact that prohibitions encourage such societal stigma.
              • This is another example of the Two wrongs make a right fallacy, and you make a pretty good argument for the prohibition of tobacco.
                • The question is not whether tobacco or illicit drugs are right or wrong, but whether certain illicit drugs present an unacceptable risk. Taxing tobacco cigarettes to the point that criminals are motivated to smuggle them has demonstrably funded terrorist groups. Surely criminalizing tobacco use would give rise to societal harm, including but not limited to violence and property crimes. During historical periods of alcohol and drug prohibition, per capita homicide rates increased drastically.
        • More people die every year from peanut allergies (including proportionate to population usage) than from Ecstasy. Since equal nutritive value can be derived from other food sources, is the use of peanuts unacceptable due to the risk?
          • Everyone who has ever died from peanut allergies has been allergic to peanuts. You don't have to be allergic to cocaine to die from it.
            • Coca leaf was used for many thousands of years without overdose. After cocaine was prohibited it's popularity and abuse soared, and without reasonable regulation, the resulting derivatives are more dangerous to use. If peanuts were illegal, few would know if they were allergic, and peanut users would be disinclined to seek treatment.
              • "Coca leaf was used for many thousands of years without overdose." -- You can't possibly know that[2]. Anyway, what you're basically saying is that cocaine is currently dangerous. Which... says to me that it should be illegal.
                • So skydiving should be illegal too?
                • Every year, hundreds of metric tons a year of coca leaf are approved by the Drug_Enforcement_Administration for U.S. importation to Maywood, New Jersey [3],[4] for pharmaceutical and surfactant chemical extraction. Cocaine is a schedule II FDA approved drug.
      • Heroin and other opiate drugs, in their pure and unadulterated form, are among the safest substances, assuming an accurate dosage can be administered.
          • Link, prease.
            • Fatal heroin overdose is potentially preventable. Educating users about the risks of co-administering alcohol and other depressant drugs with heroin, the comparative safety of injecting heroin in the company of others and the need to call for intervention sooner may reduce the frequency of heroin-related deaths. [5], see also: Heroin
              • I'm sorry, when I said "Link, please," I meant a link to a reputable website, as opposed to one that is nothing more than a mouthpiece for propaganda from the pro-drug lobby.
                • Note: the link referenced above is from the Medical Journal of Australia, which makes articles freely available on the World Wide Web for the advancement of public health and medical research.
        • Unacceptably dangerous is a subjective statement. The question should be one of "risk vs. benefits." Most drug users consider the benefits of mind-expanding drugs like LSD to be greater than the risks, including jail time. (Note that LSD does not cause brain damage)
          • See the note labelled [A] above. And I think you'll find that most LSD users, given the choice of "Use LSD and go to jail" or "do neither", would choose the second option. (see also: False_dilemma)
            • The choice is more accurately between "Use LSD and maybe go to jail" and "Do neither." Drug laws have been shown repeatedly to be largely ineffective.
            • Whatever users choose, the costs to society of incarcerating individuals are far higher than the costs to society of allowing people to pursue their happiness as they choose. For example, marijuana smoking has increased since the inception of Reefer Madness laws from being virtually unknown among Americans to greater than half of all high school seniors admitting they have smoked pot.
              • The example provided is not logically valid. A correlation is not a causality. The rise in marijuana usage and visibility after 1937 is likely due to factors other than its prohibition in that year.
    • It is not worthwhile for a law to forbid persons from willingly exposing their own bodies to harm by using drugs, any more than by overeating, bungee-jumping, getting tattoos, or volunteering to work in leprosaria.
      • The use of some drugs may be significantly more dangerous than most of these activities.
      • Which drugs? Anything can be dangerous if done improperly.
        • Obesity is a USA national epidemic, killing millions every year, but the government has no right and does little to regulate how much citizens eat.
          • If Obesity was truly a major problem (and it isn't), then the government certainly would have the right to step in and regulate things.
            • The government has the (legal) right to legislate eating and food supply. Generally speaking chooses not to regulate these activities with regard to the prevention of obesity. This however is probably in recognition of the fact it would be almost impossible to police (rather like prohibitng drugs in this respect). This is not to say that it would be impossible to police - in the world wars many Europeans countires haad very effective rationing schemes, which could be reprduced (at enromous expense) to have an effect on obesity. It's likely that the real reasons for not fighting obesoity in the US at least are that it doesn't cost the govt anything, because on the whole the goivt of the US does not pay for may citizens healhcare. I suspect you will find in countries with high rates of obesity and state funded medical systems obesity is taken seriously and is becoming of serious concern to the govts.
            • Approximately 500,000 Americans die annually from complications due to unhealthy, often fatty or sugar and partially hydrogenated oil laden foods.
            • Approximately 30% of Americans are obese, the highest of all OECD member countries.
            • There are no recorded deaths from overdoses of THC, the main component in marijuana.
      • We do and should have laws which prevent people from harming themselves. Currently, driving without a seatbelt and attempting suicide are both illegal, even though they are crimes which will not harm anyone other than the person doing them.
        • It is false to say that not wearing seatbelts or attempted suicides will not harm others, accidents can be minimized if the driver is firmly strapped in front of the steering wheel, and families and friends of those who attempt suicide are most certainly harmed emotionally.
        • Attempting suicide should be legal as well. Successful suicide should earn the death penalty, however.
      • Drug use may underwrite other forms of crime that endanger other people.
        • Most (a large majority) of these other forms of crime are derived from the black market culture, and are best eliminated by legalization. Crimes committed by users to obtain drugs would also disappear with the price drop and improved access to effective treatment if drugs were legalized.
          • I disagree. Even in places where gambling is legal, there are a large number of crimes committed by people who are addicted to gambling.
            • Gambling is a form of prohibition, where equitable transactions are disallowed and instead otherwise unlikely rewards are available to those willing to incur increased risk.
        • Some drug-related crime may occur as a result of drugs being illegal, and possibly therefore expensive and impure.
          • What does this sentence mean? It should either be clarified or removed.
            • Demand for illegal drugs is exacerbated by prohibitions, and because regulation in the trade has been relegated to the black market, there is an ever increasing incentive to offer more powerful and sometimes adulterated products to satisfy such increased demand, often at artificially inflated costs.
  • Drugs are addictive. [6] Hence, they essentially rob the user of free will. A drug user can not make an informed and rational decision whether to continue using drugs because the use of the drug eliminates that user's ability to think rationally.
    • Even if this was true, it would apply only to heavily addicted individuals. The vast majority of users of any drug are not addicted; recreational use is dominant.
      • "The vast majority of users of any drug are not addicted; recreational use is dominant." -- I'd like to see a link to support this statement, otherwise, I'd vote for removing it.
        • The 2002 NSDUH reports 4.6 million people dependent on illicit drugs, or illicit drugs alone in the past year, out of 35 million past year drug users (13.1%). This breaks down to 2,614,000/25,755,000 (10.1%) depdendent marijuana users (dependence does not require physical addiction by the DSM standard, although it is on the list of criteria), 198,000/404,000 dependent (49.0%) heroin users, 936,000/10,992,000 (8.5%) dependent on other narcotics (many of which are actually stronger than heroin), 1,025,000/5,902,000 (17.4%) dependent on cocaine, 259,000/3,181,000 (8.1%) dependent on other stimulants. Anybody challenging the validity of others peoples claims ought to at least be familiar with NSDUH findings. [7]
    • Drug users exercised free will when they chose to use drugs; a person has the right to give up his or her own freedom.
    • No drug exists which eliminates free will, although death is possible. It is possible to quit using any drug, even if it is unlikely.
    • Many banned drugs are not addictive, or are significantly less deleterious to free will than legal alcohol or tobacco. Severe physiological addiction has been demonstrated for tobacco (stronger than cocaine), but no strong physiological addiction has been shown for marijuana. [8]
    • Society condones or promotes psychological addiction to other activities that may be harmful, including overwork or conspicuous consumption.
      • This is the Two wrongs make a right fallacy. If 'A' is harmful and illegal and 'B' is harmful but legal, this does not mean that 'A' should be legalized.
        • No it is not. If anything, that is a Straw man argument. The truth is that prohibition is and always has been counterproductive. It is not reasonable to outlaw such items in commerce, and disingenuous to suggest otherwise. Furthermore, if 'A' is exponentially less harmful than 'B', it is evident that harm is not and was never a rational basis for keeping 'A' illegal. Historically, wherever 'B' was deemed contraband, significantly more harm was caused to society as is evidenced by the increase in per capita homicides, youth access and abuses evident during Alcohol Prohibition.

Dangerous to others[edit]

  • Drug use is dangerous to persons besides the user, in the rise of health care costs, violence associated with the use of drugs, [9] neglect of children by drug-addicted parents, and other third party effects. Drugs should remain illegal to minimize these effects of drug use.
  • Few illegal drugs cause as much direct secondhand harm as smoking, which causes thousands of deaths every year among non-smokers exposed to secondhand smoke.
  • A state truly concerned with the safety of its citizens would:
      1. Work towards the gradual substitution of alcohol with marijuana to the extent possible by persuasion because marijuana is safer than alcohol.
      2. Not bring grievous harm its own citizens (and their children, relatives, friends and associates) by putting them in jail for crimes which can only be described as political.
  • Drug legalization would reduce health care costs overall by reducing the probability of overdoses and accidental ingestion of an unintended drug through standardization of drug purity and quality control by state-sponsored production and/or regulation of sale. In addition, there is no evidence of prohibition significantly reducing the use of drugs [10], [11]; so legalizing them would not raise health care costs significantly.
  • The violence associated with the use of drugs would be greatly decreased if the price was lower, as would certainly happen upon drug legalization. Most drug-related crime is caused by users attempting to find funding to buy drugs at artificially inflated prices (caused by prohibition raising the risk and cost of creation, transport and sale of drugs). [12]
  • The spread of crack has shown the exact opposite to be true.
    • A 1988 study showed 85% of all crack-related violence was caused by the market culture, primarily territory disputes among dealers. There's no reason this trend would not be comparable today. (Goldstein et. al., 1997)
  • As a bastardization of powder cocaine, crack is a unique case of an ideal "dealer's drug" that would have not arisen without the initial black market conditions we now live with.
  • There is no clear and obvious third party harm. All examples of such are caused by related activities that can be illegal without blanket prohibition. For example, driving while intoxicated is illegal, while drinking alcohol without driving is not. The harm caused to children by their parents' excessive drug use is criminal insofar as it constitutes child abuse through neglect; drug-specific laws are unneeded. By this logic, alcohol, TV, video games, shopping, gambling, cleaning, sex, reading and writing, and virtually any hobby or occupation should be prohibited as some parents may neglect their children in order to focus on having sex, running a business, or building model railways.
  • The other activities may be less addictive than drugs.
        • It's obvious that you've never truely gotten into a model railway.
        • There's no reason that the neglect of children due to obsessive drug use should become legal with the legalization of certain drugs.
        • Smoking is more addictive than any illicit drug use, including heroin and cocaine. It is also more lethal than many illicit drugs.
    • The vast majority of harm from drugs is directly related to the black market. Most violence and death occurs due to problems on the supply side. This has a significant negative impact on communities and those not involved in the drug scene. Legalization would eliminate black market distribution, thus cause a massive drop in death and improve the quality of life for many communities ruined by black market violence.
  • If marijuana were legalized, people would no longer be discreet about smoking it. They would smoke it in public, leading to innocent bystanders inadvertantly inhaling second-hand marijuana smoke, which would (potentially) impare their ability to make decisions, drive safely, etc.
    • Marijuana could be made illegal to use in public (or in certain areas), but legal to carry and use in the privacy of one's own home, or in Hash Bars, thus preventing the risk of second-hand smoke except in private and appropriate situations.
    • The so-called "Second-hand stoning" effect usually requires an inordinate amount of marijuana smoke to be produced in a very small, unventilated area. Smoking in a restauraunt could potentially cause this effect, but smoking (tobacco) is already illegal in many cities and states. "Second-hand stoning" would be nearly impossible in an open area such as a street, or a large, well-ventilated building.
    • Marijuana smoke loses almost all of its THC upon being smoked as well. Such a phenomenon is quite improbable, even in a restaurant.

Bad for society[edit]

  • Drug use negatively impacts the economy in the form of users missing work and doing shoddy work.
    • The War on Drugs has not been shown to reduce drug use. [13], [14] Hence, drug legalization would have no effect on this.
    • If workers do shoddy work, they can be fired.
      • Firings would also negatively affect the economy.
        • Firings would cause other, more competent people to be hired, resulting in fewer people who want work but can't get it.
    • People who lose or are unable to gain jobs because of drug testing are a bigger drain on the economy than lower productivity from drug use.
    • The hundreds of thousands of people currently serving time in prisons are missing a lot more work than any conceivable losses due to excessive drug use.
    • In the United States alone, $40 billion is spent on the ineffective effort at prohibition each year. This is a far larger drain on the economy. Not only would legalization eliminate this drain, it would generate massive tax revenue similar to taxes on alcohol and tobacco. Among other uses, these funds would be used to pay for effective drug education and treatment, sharply curtailing any possible increase in users.
    • If it takes $40 billion per year to accomplish what we have done now (not much), how much would it theoretically cost to completely enforce prohibition from the supply side? It's simply not possible from an economic standpoint.
    • Correlation does not imply causation. Those likely to do drugs on the job are just as likely to be the type of people who would miss work and perform poorly whether they were on drugs or not. Furthermore, drug use can actually help job performance by correcting things like anxiety and chronic fatigue where the War on Drugs has made obtaining adequate treatment through legitimate medical channels impossible due to the unwillingness of a lot of doctors to prescribe controlled substances, even where the need is real.
    • Some drug use on-the-job will not affect performance, or will enhance it. For instance, a commercial artist will often work faster and better under the influence of marihuana.
    • That workers should do work and be productive is not nessesarily the highest good that society should strive for. We are not bees. Quality of life is important, and social and personal intoxicants are an important part of that for many people.
  • Similar detrimental effects can be caused in workes by Alcohol abuse or sleep Deprivation. Legalisation of drugs would not be causing any detrimental effects on the Economy.
  • The use of soft drugs, such as marijuana, leads to the use of hard drugs (the 'Gateway' [15] or 'Stepping Stone' [16] [17] theory).
    • This statement is an absolute fallacy. No peer-reviewed scientific study has ever concluded this; many have concluded that the Gateway Theory is clearly untrue, and some have even concluded that marijuana use helps prevent the use of other drugs. [18], [19], [20], [21]
    • The explanation for the perceived gateway effect is that marijuana's prevalence leads to it almost always being the first drug encountered. Alcohol and tobacco are equivalent in percentage of hard drug users who first tried something else. Similarly, most motorbikers started out riding a normal bike. But it is clearly not true that riding a bike automatically leads you to ride a motorbike.
  • The legalization of recreational drugs (particularly marijuana) would undermine efforts to reduce or eliminate tobacco smoking by adults and youth, which some parties are trying to ultimately make illegal.
    • Tobacco use should continue to be discouraged through education, proper labeling, and taxation. Making it illegal would inflate prices, encouraging people who to sell it on the black market and encourage users to steal in order to pay for it. It would also take away the incentive to refrain from selling to minors, and put the lives of tobacco smokers at risk, since they would use tobacco of unknown purity. We currently have the same problems with illegal drugs. If they were legal and laws were passed to require labeling, warning, and age restrictions then the sellers would have an incentive to obey the laws and the drug would no longer have currency in the black market.
    • If cannabis was legalized, less harmful ways of taking it than smoking it could be encouraged and developed. For example, pre-prepared hash cookies and hash cakes could be sold, and cannabis can also apparently be taken in sprays.

Miscellaneous for prohibition[edit]

  • If drugs were legalized, the companies that manufacture and market them would be sued, as Big Tobacco has been sued in the United States.
    • Those who produce or market drugs should be held responsible for purity and safety.
    • This is an issue of civil law, not criminal law.
    • Big Tobacco was sued because the companies involved lied and misrepresented the facts in order to present their product as safe when they knew it was not. It does not have to be this way. Legalization of drugs does not mean that there will be national marketing campaigns encouraging heroin use, as some critics have claimed. Marketing currently illegal drugs can remain totally prohibited, or regulated in varying degrees while not decreasing availability for those who desire to use the drugs.
  • If currently illegal drugs are legalized, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will have to be shut down, meaning that all health and safety restrictions on foods and drugs will be eliminated. Massive epidemics of diseases, overdoses and accidental drug interactions will occur. [22]
    • This is a meaningless scare tactic with no basis in reality. Drug legalization does not mean a lack of regulation. Cigarettes come with warnings. Alcoholic beverages are clearly marked with the amount of alcohol. Currently, legal drugs contain a listing of all active and inactive ingredients. There is no legal or moral reason the FDA would have to be shut down.
    • Indeed, the FDA should continue to play an important role in the regulation of recreational substances. The government's sole role in protecting the citizenry is to educate and warn. The FDA should ensure purity, dose size, and provide for accurate labeling, indications, and warnings where appropriate. Drugs should be legal for sale only with ingredients, warnings, and purity levels clearly marked.
    • It is likely that "legalization" would result in stronger regulation, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms would be expanded to cover these new regulations, since their job is already very similar.
      • Of what relevance is this in the debate for or against legalization? Do you have some problem with the ATF, e.g., its tactics or its mission, that you believe legalization would exacerbate? Are you a member of the ATF, looking to expand your responsibilities within the organization?
    • The Food and Drug Administration regulates legal drugs. The Drug Enforcement Agency, which regulates illegal drugs, would become unnecessary.
  • There is a potential difficulty in enforcement of DUI laws should prohibition be ended. Clearly, driving under the influence of marijuana would be illegal, but there is as of yet no "stone-alyzer" like the breathalyzer used to check blood-alcohol levels.
    • there are systems availible, they are simply not widely used Cozart makes the rapiscan which tests for the NIDA 5 drugs of abuse.
    • If breathalyzer tests can be performed for a substance that does not directly enter one's lungs, surely a process can be devised that can detect a substance that does directly enter the lungs. Furthermore, it is possible that the reduced restrictions on drug research which would likely accompany an end to prohibition may promote the development of faster, cheaper, and more effective drug testing procedures for many drugs.
      • The amount of ethanol required to produce inebriation sufficient to impair driving is at least several grams. The amount of THC required to produce a comparable amount of inebriation is closer to dozens of milligrams, or several orders of magnitude lower. This may make an instant test of the current level of inebriation difficult to do.
    • Stoned drivers, as a direct result of the paranoia common with marijuana, are very cautious and often refuse to drive altogether.
    • Driving under the influence is illegal now and would be regardless of the drugs' legal status. Therefore, very little would change.
    • The basis for a roadside arrest is the field sobriety test. Chemical tests for most currently illegal drugs already exist. There would, however, be non-trivial costs involved in deploying the necessary equipment to police forces and training officers to recognize different forms of inebriation.

Point-counterpoint against drug prohibition[edit]

Hinders human rights[edit]

  • Drug use is a victimless crime and hence, should be legal.
    • Drug use has no single individual victim besides the drug user himself, but places the burden of caring for and dealing with addicts on the rest of society. Essentially, the entire society is the victim of drug use in the same way that insider trading, another victimless crime, negatively affects every trader in the market.
      • It has already been clearly established that the burden placed on society by prohibition far exceeds the burden of providing care to a drug abuser in a society where there is no prohibition. The cost of law enforcement, incarceration and the violence/death toll from the black market are far more burdensome than the cost of simply providing abusers with rehabilitation.
      • Insider trading is not victimless as unwary investors are harmed, but personal recreational substances use, in and of itself, is victimless as no one is harmed.
    • Drug use has harmful effects on third party individuals, [23] such as babies born addicted to drugs, [24] or traffic accidents caused by intoxication. [25], [26]
      • These are all caused by actions other than the ingestion of drugs, such as the use of drugs while pregnant or driving. One can, and usually does, use drugs when neither pregnant nor driving. It is worth noting that the use of cocaine has not been definitively linked to birth defects or mental retardation, but the use of nicotine has [27] as has the use of alcohol as well as a host of legal prescription drugs such as isotretinoin (referred to as teratogens). Marijuana has also not been definitively linked to birth defects or mental retardation [28], nor to substantially increased risks of traffic accidents. [29], [30].
      • Irresponsible use of any substance or product can result in harm to others. We have perfectly good laws in place to handle those circumstances.
    • The War on Drugs is primarily aimed at drug dealers and not drug users. Drug dealers are victimizing potential customers.
      • Drug exchanges are consentual, not coerced. The purchasers of drugs are no more "victims" than the watchers of tv.
      • Many thousands of users have been punished; many thousands of people who are neither users nor dealers have been harmed.
        • Note: these latter thousands have been harmed by both criminal elements and government action (sometimes both). To which are you referring? Which is worse? Why?
      • The United States government has given the governments of other countries (such as the UK) the names and addresses of people in those countries who purchased research chemicals from RC vendors that were shut down during the DEA's Operation Web Tryp.
    • The victim of drug use is the drug user himself, who needs to be removed from the opportunity of taking drugs. A person who has no contact with drugs likely has a better life than a person who is given the opportunity to use drugs.
      • A punitive approach exacerbates the "victim's" problems. Drugs are just as easy to get inside prison than outside.
      • After a conviction, someone who had a drug problem is going to have a very hard time finding a decent job and housing, resulting in depression and poverty, likely causing them to turn to drugs again.
      • Similarly, people with non-violent drug convictions are denied federal student aid (rapists, murderers, and arsonists, among others, are not after their time is served), making an education unavailable.
        • The rationale behind such a denial of student aid is its perceived power as a deterrent. As drug abuse and involvement with illegal drug trade is negatively correlated with educational attainment, it is quite possible such denial of student aid is promoting recidivism among prior offenders, by denying the opportunity to better themselves. The policy's efficacy as a deterrent seems suspect in light of the high levels of drug use among college students, which in turn undermines any justification of its use, given its unintended consequences.
      • A majority of recreational substance users lead healthy well-adjusted lives, while enjoying the thrill of supporting organized crime. In many cases moderate recreational substance use helps and enriches the lives of users. [31]
        • The results of one study show: "We found no significant differences between the two groups on reported levels of income and education in their families of origin. However, the heavy users themselves reported significantly lower educational attainment (P < 0.001) and income (P = 0.003) than the controls, even after adjustment for a large number of potentially confounding variables. When asked to rate the subjective effects of cannabis on their cognition, memory, career, social life, physical health and mental health, large majorities of heavy users (66-90%) reported a 'negative effect'. On several measures of quality of life, heavy users also reported significantly lower levels of satisfaction than controls." [32]
          • It is not good to overindulge in anything. Moderate users may actually enrich their lives as it says above even though heavy users will, as with any activity experience negative effects.
          • The causal link may be the reverse of what is implied: maybe the "lower achievers" are heavier users because of their lower satisfaction, rather than vice-versa.
    • Victimless crimes should be illegal if they are immoral. Drug use is immoral. Hence, drug use should be illegal.
      • That drug use is immoral can only be based off one set of moral beliefs. For example, it is discriminatory to claim that Judeo-Christian abstinence from intoxication is the correct set of moral beliefs, whereas Native American historic and religious use of peyote [33], [34] and psilocybin [35], is not the correct set of moral beliefs.
      • Many religions have for thousands of years included mind-altering substances in their sacraments and various rituals; the repression of an individual's right to express his religion is clearly immoral, except in the cases where said expression harms others (see above).
  • Drug use is a victimless crime and hence, is unenforceable: without a victim to report the occurrence of a crime, law enforcement personnel can not know of every individual instance of the performance of a crime; they are not able to convict the perpetrators of the crimes that they do not know occurred. Therefore, drug use should be legal so that the deleterious effects can be minimized (see harm reduction). [36]
    • The fact that the laws can not be fully enforced does not negate the usefulness of such laws. Laws against murder, rape and other crimes will probably never reach a 100% conviction rate either. The War on Drugs has substantially reduced drug use [37], [38] and legalizing drugs would increase drug use [39].
      • Legalizing murder, rape or other crimes would not enable society to minimize the deleterious effects in other ways. This is not true with drug use (see harm reduction).
      • Studies show that it is not true that the War on Drugs has substantially reduced drug use or availability. [40], [41], [42], [43]
    • It is possible to create a drug free society.
      • Pain medications, for example, would have to also be completely banned for even medical use, since it is impossible to ensure not a single one is ever misused. The line between medical use and recreational use is not sufficiently clear to establish a society that was drug-misuse free. Many life-saving medications are psychoactive and thus subject to misuse. A drug free society would be one where there would be immense suffering.
      • There are no examples of cultures that included the use of intoxicants and then successfully eliminated the use thereof. There is no indication of a drug free society being possible in the future.
  • The War on Drugs disproportionately affects the poor and members of racial and ethnic minorities (in the United States). [44], [45], [46]
    • This does not change the reasoning behind the laws. Drug laws should be enforced more fairly.
      • This may not be possible. The War on Drugs was founded on racism in the United States. Opium (a heroin precursor) prohibition began to target Chinese immigrants. Cocaine prohibition began to target African-Americans. Marijuana prohibition began to target Mexican immigrants. Historically, these are the ethnic groups which support illegal drug use.[47]
  • The War on Drugs has led to a decrease in civil liberties. Previously illegal searches and seizures, confiscations, wiretaps, and other police actions have been legitimized out of a desire to use them against drug smugglers or dealers. [48], [49], [50], [51]
    • This is true, but is worth it for the benefit of the health and safety of non-drug-abusing members of society.
      • A statement attributed to Benjamin Franklin was that those who would trade freedom for security deserved neither freedom nor security.
      • This is not a valid point for the War on Drugs unless you also advocate treating alcohol and tobacco, which harm non-users just as much as any illegal drug.
      • Chronic pain patients are among those severely deprived of their rights. Anti-diversion paranoia has led to an invasion of doctor-patient confidentiality, leading to many doctors being too afraid of prosecution to prescribe adequate doses of pain medication to those in need. As a result, tens of thousands of Americans live with severely undertreated pain all in the name of ineffective efforts to prevent a very small number of people from diverting their prescriptions to recreational users.
      • The curtailment of civil liberties does not make anyone healthier or more safe. Unfair police tactics currently used against drug dealers, traffickers, and users could be easily used against people of political, religious, or ethnic minorities.
      • Non-drug-abusing members of society are sometimes harmed by this decrease of civil liberties. Sometimes, homes and other property are seized without any charges so it is likely that people who weren't using, selling, or making illegal drugs have been hurt by the War on Drugs. [52]


  • The Drug War began for racist reasons, such as the spread of largely false rumors of the use of cocaine as an incitement to the rape of white women by black men, the seduction of white women by Chinese opium-smokers and violent behavior by Mexicans. In contrast, during this same period, the use of Laudanum (a tincture of opium and alcohol) was widely accepted by the population; the majority of users of laudanum were wealthy or middle-classed caucasians. The only differences between opium and laudanum were the method of ingestion and the ethnicity of the users. (See Drug Prohibition in the 20th century)
  • In many countries drugs law are very severe. In Singapore you may be hanged for possessing more than a certain amount of cannabis. In the USA, as explored in the book Reefer Madness by Eric Schlosser, many people convicted of marijuana trafficking are serving life sentences without parole, a higher sentence than that received by most murderers in the USA. In the UK cocaine and heroin dealers often serve longer sentences than rapists. Possession of a gun is punishable by up to 5 years imprisonment, while possession of cocaine, heroin or ecstasy is punishable by up to 7 years imprisonment. Supplying (or possessing with intent to supply) cocaine, heroin or ecstasy is punishable by a maximum life sentence, and supplying cannabis is punishable by up to 14 years imprisonment, much more severe than the penalties for illegally supplying guns. In fact the maximum punishment for membership of proscribed terrorist organisations (like Al Qaeda) in Britain is ten years in jail, less than for supplying marijuana.

Increases crime[edit]

  • The War on Drugs increases the profit margin in the sale of drugs, [53] hence, drug legalization will decrease organized and disorganized crime. [54] Furthermore, black market drug sales are not taxed; legalizing drugs and bringing sales into mainstream channels has the potential to increase tax revenue.
  • The prohibition against drug use has boosted black market research on finding new, more powerful drugs that can be transported more easily and safely than existing ones. Because they are more powerful, a smaller amount can be profitable, as well as more dangerous and addictive than older drugs. Hence, drug prohibition has fueled the refinement of heroin (from much less addictive precursors) and the invention of crack cocaine (a cheaper, more addictive and more dangerous derivative of cocaine).
    • This theory is contradicted by the lack of popularity of fentanyl analogues, which have doses in the microgram range rather than the milligram range of the more popular narcotics. Carfentanil, which is 10,000 times stronger than morphine, and thus could very easily be smuggled, is rarely encountered on the street. The manufacture of these compounds is not technically difficult, nor are precursors restricted.
      • Drugs are adopted within society not only because of the technical ease with which they are manufactured, but also due simply to their name-recognition and notoriety. Lack of name-recognition might deter a drug-dealer from marketing what would otherwise be a profitable drug. The chicken or the egg problem (name-recognition or profitability) in a new drug bursting onto the scene is irrelevant. A hit or a miss is likely due to more than one factor, especially when generalizing for all intoxicating substances.
    • A large corporation could do this much more effectively if recreational drugs were legalized.
      • If a corporation did so, it could be required to prove relative safety and clearly mark all packages with danger warnings. It is much easier to force a few corporations to responsibly develop and market drugs than a vast, underground system of individual drug dealers who have no reason not to maximize profits at all costs, as there is no legal method of developing recreational drugs.
  • The War on Drugs leads to police corruption, by injecting huge profits into the black market. This inevitably leads to bribery. [55], [56]
    • We should hire more moral police officers.
      • The huge profits of the illegal drug market make this impossible. With so much money, drug traffickers and dealers will always be able to bribe some police officers. Often, the bribery extends beyond circumventing drug laws but also to related activities, including murder. The profits to be raised by a police officer selling drugs found in others' possessions (and confiscated without making an arrest or official report) and/or accepting bribes makes the position attractive to some people. In effect, the War on Drugs does and always will attract corrupt people to the ranks of law enforcement agencies, if drugs were legal corrupt people could find more meaningful work.
  • Drug dealers will sell to anyone, including children. Merchants who legally sell alcohol and tobacco are not allowed to sell to children. Many high school students report that it is easier to obtain blanket illegal drugs than alcohol and tobacco. Hence, legalizing drugs will help keep more dangerous and addictive drugs from minors, for whom the deleterious effects are greater. [57]
    • The more panicked and sheltered high school students tend to stretch the facts about what is presented to them as an insane and debaucherous pastime (no thanks to anti-drug propaganda), particularly when it comes to the activities of cliques of students they are typically at odds with.
      • Please cite research challenging the validity of drug availability surveys. All indicators point to support for the high availability estimates.
    • Legalizing drugs will send a message to children that drug use is acceptable.
      • Tens of billions of dollars are spent in the U.S. every year advertising all sorts of pharmaceutical drugs. Our culture, due mostly to free market capitalism in this case, is already telling our children that drugs can be used to solve many of life’s problems, and legalizing marijuana would not change this message only reinforce it. Sure, a distinction is being made between these different types of drugs, but the conflicting information that children receive (some drugs good, some bad) counteracts any attempts at unequivocal anti-drug messages aimed at them. It would be better to just tell them all drugs are good, and good for you.
        • DEA Scheduled pharmaceutical drugs (abuse potential) are NOT advertised.
      • Parents are currently expected to explain the good and bad things of using legal drugs such as alcohol and tobacco, as well as frequently abused legal drugs, such as Oxycontin, Valium and morphine. If they can do so with these drugs, they can do so with marijuana, cocaine or heroin.
      • Even involving the responsibility of parents (important though it is) is irrelevant. Children are bombarded with messages proclaiming the dangers of alcohol and tobacco, yet they observe adults using these substances and recognize that they are legal or at least different from illegal drugs. As they grow older, the recognize the (potential) legitimate uses of these substances and the inefficacy of efforts aimed at their prohibition (and perhaps that of illegal substances as well). Many schoolchildren would proudly proclaim their desire to see alcohol and tobacco banned from society, yet few adults would. In turn make up their own what relationship they want with these and other substances. As declining rates of smoking sinc 1964 indicate, many go on to decide that smoking is not legitimate or acceptable, at least for themselves or in their homes, despite the continuing legality of tobacco.
        • This discussion does not, however, shed any light on the role messages children receive (from parents, in school, etc) in preventing use of unhealthy substances. The mechanisms by which children and young adults decide what their relationship with such substance is to be is likely to be considerably more complicated, and irreducible to one factor.
        • This preceding discussion also ignores children born addicted to certain substances, a different case entirely. Indeed, continued temporary use of such substances for the purposes of withdrawal and pain management might in some circles be considered legitimate and humane.
      • Like it or not, responsible drug use is accepted by many communities. See argument beginning "The War on Drugs is hypocritical because only certain drugs are targeted."

Subjective and unfair[edit]

  • The War on Drugs is hypocritical because only certain drugs are targeted. Other drugs, such as alcohol, caffeine and tobacco are legal (in most parts of the world), yet cause many more problems than currently illegal drugs. Even aspirin is, in many ways, more dangerous than currently illegal drugs. (See here or here for death statistics and here or here for addiction statistics) (Armentano 234-240)
    • The legalization of one drug does not mean that all drugs should be legalized.
      • It does if the legal drug is more harmful than the illegal one. Either the more harmful drug should be made illegal or the less harmful drug should be made legal.
        • That assumes that the harm caused by a substance is the only criterion upon which a prohibition decision is made, without regard to other intervening variables, and imposes an artificial measurement of "harm", based on the chemical itself. Many other criteria for prohibition are listed on this page. Efficacy of eradication efforts is one good example. Hypothetically, if one substance could be more harmful than another harmful substance, yet practically impossible to eradicate. The other substance might then prove quite easy to eradicate. Why then should the less-harmful substance not be eradicated, if the overall goal is to eliminate harmful substances? Why shouldn't a different policy for the first substance be developed in light of the difficulty in its eradication?
        • The other problem is the definition of harm used, based strictly on the toxic properties of the chemical. Imagine cocaine, a substance likely to be benign with one single use, though also a substance that causes many deaths per year in society at large. Imagine then "secret chemical X", accidentally designed by the Army in the 1940s, possessing complex structure that makes its synthesis nearly impossible, and which, on the first ingestion, causes an irresistable high, but on its second ingestion causes immediate death. After discovering the effects of "secret chemical X", all notes pertaining to the experiment were deposited in a Government Warehouse. Then, sixty years later, two rogue chemists in Iowa accidentally synthesize the chemical again, try it on themselves (twice), and die, bring the chemical's death toll over sixty years to seven little girls and two 25-year old men. Surely, then, cocaine must be considered more "harmful" than "secret chemical X.
        • By ignoring intervening variables and privileging one somewhat arbitrary criterion over all others, and by seemingly personifying chemicals and endowing them with a "right to be legal" based on their toxicity relative to other chemicals (on a linear scale likely not to exist empirically), the logic of this argument, and all similar arguments, cannot be sustained.
    • Alcohol [58], caffeine [59] and tobacco [60], [61] use have been accepted parts of social interaction for centuries, while currently illegal drugs have not.
      • Cannabis has been socially accepted in many places for millennia [62], [63], [64], [65]. Hallucinogens, such as peyote [66], [67] and psilocybin [68], [69], have been part of religious ceremonies in the Americas and elsewhere for thousands of years. Coca leaves (from which cocaine is derived) are still chewed by South American natives with no apparent physiological or psychological addiction or other deleterious effects [70], [71]. Opium has also been used for at least two thousand years [72]. Cannabis, peyote, psilocybin and coca have probably been used longer than alcohol, as they can be easily harvested and immediately ingested; alcohol requires some knowledge of fermentation, time and patience. The only drugs which do not have a long history of use were only recently invented, such as amphetamines, LSD and Ecstacy. There are, however, natural drugs similar in both effects and chemical structure to these, such as Ephedra and LSA, which have been used for a long time.
        • While Drugs have been accepted in many cultures for millennia, those cultures have developed social guidelines for dealing with them. Introducing a foreign recreational drug to a society which on a whole is inexperienced can have adverse effects. Native American's introduction to alcohol was so damaging, it forced the Federal government to pass the Indian Prohibition Action of 1832, which prohibited the sale of alcohol to Native Americans. [73]
          • It does depend on the culture. However, since it is not possible to completely eliminate drug use it may be better to educate people about drug moderation and provide social guidelines than to try to prohibit drugs forever. As people become more and more able to moderate their use, the drug could have less and less restrictions. In some countries, such as Portugal there is no drinking age and while there is more alcohol use there is less alcoholism and alcohol abuse most likely because teens are usually taught how to drink gradually, moderately, and responsibly. The same could be done for all drugs gradually accompanied by more cultural emphasis on moderation and responsibility.
    • Alcohol, caffeine and tobacco are only socially accepted in the Western world due to accidents of history. This is no basis for deciding which recreational drugs should be legal.
      • Conversely, one might argue that accidents of history caused marijuana, opium and cocaine to become socially unacceptable in the West; this stigma is no basis for their illegality.
        • For better or for worse, certain substances have been lumped together under the umbrella heading of "drugs" while others haven't. In the minds of most people, all "drugs" are equally harmful (or equally harmless). The legalization of one type of drug would appear to imply that other drugs "should" be legalized as well. As far as most people are concerned, the legalization of marijuana would mean that the legalization of heroin is just around the corner.
    • Aspirin (and other currently legal drugs) can have positive effects, hence the dangers are warranted.
      • Drugs such as marijuana ([74], [75], [76], [77], [78] and counterpoint: [79], [80]), LSD and other hallucinogens ([81], [82], [83], [84], [85], [86], [87], [88], heroin (counterpoint: [89]) and Ecstacy [90] may also have positive effects if used under certain circumstances. That this is true is not currently known for certain, primarily because drug prohibition has hindered research on the subject. [91]
  • The current blanket prohibition of both hard and soft drugs (compare ultra-addictive and dangerous heroin to relatively benign marijuana) lumps both in the same category in the minds of impressionable children. Drug dealers stand to make greater profit off hard drugs, and so will attempt to convince users to switch from soft to hard drugs. Separating the markets through legalization will prevent this. See this to compare the numbers between the Netherlands (where the hard and soft drugs markets are separated) to the United States (where they are not).
    • Heroin is not "dangerous" in the clinical sense; it has a very favorable therapeutic index (ED50/LD50), does not cause brain damage, and causes no significant permanent damage to any other system. The dangers of contemporary heroin use are acute overdose due to unknown purity, toxic impurities, and spread of infectious disease through syringe use. All of these major dangers are created by prohibition of heroin and restrictions on syringe access (based on the notion that this increases drug use, which the CDC, NIH, and several former Surgeon Generals have stated that it unequivocally does not). The primary dangers are therefore best eliminated by legalize, prohibition not only increases the dangers, but largely creates them. While heroin is strongly addictive, it is significantly less addictive than tobacco, and because of the system of prohibition, treatment remains mostly unavailable, undesirable, and ineffective. The cost of addiction to addicts and to society is greatly exacerbated by prohibition.
    • The charge that dealers try to switch users to hard drugs has absolutely no basis in fact, and is characteristic of the baseless scare tactics of prohibitionist propaganda; dealers do not typically deal in both hard and soft drugs, nor does the gateway effect exist to support users being led to take "harder" drugs.
    • The distinction between "soft" and "hard" drugs is subjective.
      • Soft drugs are drugs that carry no physical addiction properties, and thus no physical harm from discontinuing use.
        • Under this definition, alcohol would be considered a hard drug. In fact, alcohol withdrawal is the only type of substance withdrawal (including heroin/opiate withdrawal and cocaine withdrawal) that can result in death. Tobacco, being the most physically addictive drug, would also be a hard drug. Similarly, LSD would be considered a soft drug.
          • Cold withdrawal from some legal drugs, as barbiturates, rarely used nowadays, and benzodiazepines (Valium, Ativan, Xanax), frequently used nowadays, also can result in death if untreated.

Leads to corruption[edit]

  • The United States, where drug laws are strictly enforced, has high rates of drug use as well as an astronomical number of its own citizens in jail. [92], [93], resulting indirectly in prison overcrowding and the early release of violent offenders.
    • This is because the War on Drugs is working. These people have committed crimes and harmed our polity with their actions, and thus belong in jail.
      • 46.4% of Americans (NHSDA, 2003) have tried an illicit drug in their lifetime. A policy that labels 46.4% of citizens as criminals is not a just policy.
      • To summarize points elucidated throughout this article, with the War on Drugs, "working" means higher incarceration rates, higher rates of violent crime, more peoples lives ruined and ended by a punitive rather than health approach, and more profits pumped into extremely violent cartels... all without reducing supply or demand.
      • Despite the annual arrest of over 1.5 million Americans, and the highest per-capita prison population of any nation in the world, drug use has increased, black market crime has flourished, and completely innocent Americans have been killed by police action. [94], [95], [96]
      • Any definition of a policy "working" which involves rendering such a large proportion of our citizenry into prisoners and ex-convicts (many of whom lose the right to vote) is incompatible with democracy. Further, this kind of effectiveness leaves open the question of whether drug policy was designed to eliminate particular groups of people from the voting rolls as some kind of cynical political maneuver.
  • The War on Drugs has led to morally questionable activities by the government (in the United States). For example, governmental agencies use taxpayer funds to build support for the War on Drugs. See here for an example of taxpayer funds supporting the creation of a website about a taxpayer-funded conference on how to drum up support for continued prohibition and to successfully argue against legalization proponents, many of whom involuntarily paid for the website and conference. This would not be accepted if the federal government were using public funds to pay for pro-life commercials or advertisements for Republican candidates, and should not be acceptable for any issue. For another example of dubious morality, see here for an explanation of public funding being secretly paid to TV corporations in exchange for the placement of anti-drug messages on certain television shows. Secretive propaganda is always morally wrong and duplicitous.
  • The illegality of drugs means the profits from drug[[]] sales (and they are very profitable) go to criminal cartels who use them to fund other crimes.

Does more harm than good[edit]

  • Drug legalization will enable users to be certain that they are receiving the correct drug. Currently, drugs are often laced with adulterants for various reasons (to aid in trafficking, to increase the effects, etc.). Often, these adulterants are the cause of the primary dangers of use of the drug (as, for example, with Ecstacy). In addition, drug users can not know the purity of such drugs as heroin or cocaine; often overdoses are a result of underestimating the purity. These dangers would be eliminated if drugs were legalized and packages purchased were clearly marked with the purity of the ingredients, as well as a complete list of which ingredients were present.
    • The dangers of drug use are well-known. If a user chooses to partake in a risky activity and dies, it is the user's fault.
      • Indeed, and thusly the decision should not be taken by the legal system to abridge the users free-will and freedom.
      • Some drugs are laced with more harmful drugs. If drugs were made legal, users could ensure that the "softer" drugs wouldn't be laced.
        • Although Tobacco does not contain harder drugs, we can argue that it has been laced with additives, like fiberglass, to increase effects.
          • Which the consumer has the benefit of reading of, on the side of the product's packaging. Similar benefits should be extended to the users of other drugs, not just tobacco.
      • The burden for safety does not lie with the consumer, it lies with the manufacturer. If a person chooses to partake in driving a Pinto, we blame his death on Ford, not his freedom to partake in a risky activity.
  • If the goal of a state is to protect citizens' health and well-being, drugs should be legalized so that their purity can be monitored (see harm reduction). The health of citizens is not best served by prohibiting drugs; this only increases risk and harm, and reduces health and well-being. The War on Drugs, on the other hand, places non-users' friends and loved ones in jail. [97] Hence, the War on Drugs does have clear and obvious harmful effects on third parties.
  • Hemp has environmental uses such as in the production of paper, which would decrease the rate that trees are being cut down. Marijuana criminalization has led the government to prohibit its use even for this. Drug legalization would prevent any government excuse to ban the industrial use of hemp. The drug war primarily helps the synthetic-fibre, wood pulp, petrochemical, and pharmochemical industries [98] because they profit from hemp substitutes which are frequently less useful than hemp itself.
    • The drug war primarily helps victims of drug abuse, not corporations of any kind. There is no known use for hemp that can not be achieved without other policies, and the legal growing of hemp will make it more difficult for law enforcement to enforce the laws.
      • The war on drugs does, in fact, assist large corporations. The cost and logistics of using hemp alternatives to the fuel sources listed above are fractional by contrast. They have nothing to gain by losing their business to hemp.
      • It was established in paragraph 2 of "Drug addiction as a public health issue" that help is only available for about 15 percent of America's drug addicts.
      • The issue of hemp comes back to marijuana, which has numerously been established as not having found to be addictive numerous times throughout this article, people risk jail or prison not because marijuana is addictive, but because they enjoy breaking the law.
        • If they enjoy breaking the law, then they will do so whether drugs are illegal or not.
  • Certain drugs that are illegal, such as marijuana have proven to be much safer than some legal drugs, such as alcohol. Marijuana is not physically addictive and has virtually no lethal overdose, unlike alcohol. If it were legalized it may help treat alcoholism, since more may use marijuana as a substitute. Also, in the future strictly law-abiding people who feel like they need a fix, but think alcohol is too dangerous will have an alternative so legalizing marijuana may make alcohol use decrease. Since it is far less addictive and far less dangerous this would be a good thing.

Hampers legitimate medical research and treatment[edit]

  • The main current 'treatment' for heroin addiction is "replacement therapy" in which the addictive drug is replaced with another, most commonly methadone. Many heroin and methadone users have found that the withdrawal process from methadone is much more difficult and drawn out than withdrawal from heroin itself. The correct drug (for some users) to use as a 'step-ladder' to abstinence is heroin itself. But, given the illegality of heroin in most countries, this method of treatment is impossible.
  • Due to potential legal and societal consequences (either real or imagined), many drug users avoid seeking medical help when it is needed, whether in the case of addiction or overdose. Many drug users are afraid to call emergency services during an overdose situation due to fear of legal repercussions.

Hampers life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness[edit]

  • The War on Drugs has been ruinous to life, in that it has destroyed the lives of many people through imprisonment, police brutality, intrusive searches and seizures, and outright killings (i.e., by corrupt governments in the name of the War on Drugs).
  • Freedom is a precious resource in itself, and freedom of choice is trampled upon by the War on Drugs. People are at their best when as free as possible. If people are treated like immature children incapable of making their own decisions, they are more likely to act that way. In this view, then, it is better that people are treated as intelligent and responsible for their own actions.
  • There is massive anecdotal and scientific evidence that illegal drugs often feel good to their users. There are various psychological and other pros, not merely cons. Anti-drug propaganda tends to be so dishonest that it totally ignores the benefits of illegal drug use. The government has no business proscribing the private, consensual, victimless pursuit of happiness. To make some such activities illegal (i.e., marijuana) and some legal (i.e., alcohol) is completely arbitrary and without an honest basis in the protection of public health. Risk is a part of life and living. If all risky activities were somehow eliminated, it is likely that people would literally die of boredom.

Miscellaneous against prohibition[edit]

  • Other countries which have experimented with varying degrees of legalization have had positive results [99], [100], [101], [102] and counter-point [103]
  • The revelation that Rush Limbaugh had been addicted to prescription drugs and that he was going into treatment led to accusations of selective enforcement on the part of the government. Some feel that the message that was sent was that the abuse of drugs was a crime unless the person was politically powerful or a celebrity.
  • The bottom line boils down to supply and demand. The War on Drugs does not do anything to reduce demand, this can be proven the same way all negatives can be proven. As long as that demand exists, a supplier will step in to take advantage of the extremely high profit margins, which creates a multibillion dollar industry which is impossible to stop on the supply side. Supply will always meet demand; the War on Drugs can never be won, and attempting to win it maximizes the harm, rather than minimizing it like legalization would do.


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lhgjedfq — Preceding unsigned comment added by 91.232.96.4 (talk) 12:09, 27 March 2013 (UTC)