Panacea or Pandora’s Box? That is the question. The Authors of this Article Kelber, the Executive Vice President of the Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse and J. Califano the founder believe that drug laws should remain restrictive. They believe that if they lift restrictions that the usage of these drugs will increase, especially among children. The opposing author, Aurther P. Gorman believes that restrictive laws are ineffective and it has been proven that use and addiction has increase since the laws have been put in place. He also states that laws have created racial labels as well as endanger civil liberties. Furthermore, they create an overload in the court system.
This debate brought many things to my attention. However, there were a few that stuck out the most. People who are for upholding the restrictions mentioned in the article that “Drugs like heroin and cocaine are not dangerous because they are illegal, they are illegal because they are dangerous.” This I would admit to be accurate, however there is quite the caveat in this statement. There are more drugs than heroine and cocaine that are illegal. Ones that I believe are much less harmful! These drugs like marijuana (which I may refer to as pot or weed) and mushrooms (which I will often refer to as shrooms). I believe that these drugs need to be reclassified, and then determine which ones that restrictions should or should not be on.
The fact that marijuana and cocaine are in the same category is absurd. Then to also throw drugs such as LSD and methamphetamines there as well shows a strong argument for the re-classification of these illegal drugs. If you are pulled over and they find weed in your car and convict you of trafficking, you will receive no less than ten years. The next person is pulled over and they have the same amount of meth in their car as you did pot, or even quite possibly more. They are charge for trafficking as well, they too also receive the same exact sentencing of no less than ten years. The addiction possibility is listed as” none” for weed on any drug chart. Meth’s addiction possibility is listed as “Yes.” This leads me to the effects of these drugs, and how they come to be what they are.
Heroine, Methamphetamines, and other similar drugs are processed and do not grown organically. These drugs range from moderate to serious addictions, and can also be administered in a very unsafe and uncleanly manner such as injection by needle. Pot along with shrooms is grown in the ground, and organically. They are unprocessed, and un-synthesized “drugs” Although these “drugs” alter your state of mind; they are not the least bit addictive and are proven to be healthier than alcohol and tobacco are. You frequently hear of people dying of drug overdose. Those lists of drugs that were used to cause the overdose have never included marijuana, or shrooms.
This article also states “ drugs are already available to those who want.” My interpretation of this is that is the people who want these illegal drugs already know where and how to purchases them, and will continue to do so weather legal, or illegal. This statement also proves that prohibition does not work. With this being said I also believe that drugs such as alcohol and tobacco should also be available to people who are old enough to make an informed decision weather or not to use them or not. I believe that children and young adults know much sooner than 21 or in many cases 18 years old the effects of these drugs. This age restriction does not prevent minors for consuming them in the least bit.
Another thing that jumped out at me in this article is that “Any relaxation on standards of illegality poses clear and present danger to the nations children and their ability to learn and grow into productive citizens. “ WHAT! So what you are telling me is that if drugs are legal than children wont be “productive” members of society!? Drug use is a learned behavior, and is socially created. Social location I believe plays a large roll in this. Take an overly common situation into consideration: You work hard to just provide food and cloths for your child, but you can only afford to live in a poor neighborhood where drugs and drug trafficking is prevalent. You do what a parent should do, you involve your self in your child’s life as much as possible. Keeping in mind that you work 18 hours a day, but you still make time to teach your child the effects of drugs and what can happen to you if you use and or abuse them. Conversely the many of the kids at school have gown up with drug pushers as parents, and those parents have also neglected to teach their children the negative things about drugs. The kids only see the amount of money it generates, and the “good” things it does to you temporarily. Those same kids are your child’s peers, and continuously ask your child to try these drugs, and tell them all the hyped up things about drugs. Your child, because they have been educated on the drugs know how important it is to stand up and say no. Which brings in my next point.
This article states that both sides agree, “ Education and prevention programs are an integral part of the efforts to reduce drug use by children and adolescents.” If we would modify our strategy of illegalities and focus more on the education of drugs, the importance of prevention, and treatment it would be much more beneficial. Programs such as DARE and Nancy Reagan’s “Just Say No” campaigns are a very good way of implementing education and prevention into children. I would also create a program for adults. This program would not be on prevention but on how to teach prevention. It would be filled with important facts about the drugs and how the effect things. This way they can be informed on how to be informative to their children. If we took the stress of the drugs being illegal it would also help the nations debt deficit.
As mentioned earlier drug restrictions play a large role in overbearing the court system. I believe that some things with drugs should remain restrictive. I believe that there should be a legal and illegal way of selling, buying and even a sanitation standard that should be set fourth. One thing I have heard of is a “Needle swap” this was a program to help reduce HIV among people. They offer clean needles in exchange for used ones. Sounds like crazy talk to many, but it one thing leading to even more issues that is trying to be prevented.
A red flag to me in this article is that it states today: “we don’t have a drug problem, we have a prohibition problem.” It states that anti-drug laws spawn more violence and crime than the drugs to themselves. I agree with the author on the issue that due to drugs being illegal it creates a much higher price for most of them, which in turn creates users to commit crimes to support their habit. Pushers fight over where to sell, and why they are not getting their money from the user who is has to have it but cant pay for it. I also agree with what he is saying that gangs thrive over drug use and the high profits that derive from it. I believe that legalizing it would lower prices and in turn lower the crime rate.
The side I support the strongest in this debate is the legalization of drugs. I do believe as I stated before I would reclassify the drugs, and then create restrictions to their use. I would also like to add that another step in preventing children in using drugs should be a restriction and or law for people who are pushing drugs to prevent them from pushing to the young children who have yet to develop their own sense of understand and who have yet been able to be educated on drugs, and how to say no if they choose to.
I would also agree with decriminalizing drugs. I strongly believe that a person who wants the drugs is going to find a way to obtain and use them weather legal or illegal. An addict is an addict, no matter what the law is. I learned much more in depth about the laws that are in place on drug use and what charges are implemented for them.
My interpretation of this article is that people who are for keeping the current restrictions have a difficult point persuading others without using “legalization is good because.” This makes me feel as if they have no real valid case and are merely trying to suck people in with the power of persuasion, which I very much dislike. I also feel that the “powers to be” want to keep the laws in place just so that they can control everything, regardless that society is being “deviant” by using drugs illegally. It is a power struggle. They want to keep the people of power in power.
I would also like to add to this statement, that I am not a user of illegal or legal drugs, I do not consume tobacco, and vary rarely use alcohol, which is something I choose because I am a mother and my son is more important to me than any drug could ever be… however many people I know do, use drugs, from natural, to process, from prescription to non.. are they unproductive society members…. not in any way! I just think its some people see things out of the box…
hope this finds you well….
source: Goldberg, Raymond. Taking Sides: Clashing Views in Drugs and Society. 8th ed. N.p.: JAN 2008, n.d. Print.