I Believe

Michael - Moultrie, Georgia
Entered on December 16, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
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I believe that illegal drugs should be legalized in order to decrease the amount of crime in our country. Now, I know this might sound crazy but it actually would benefit society as a whole. The purchase of drugs would be taxed and the drugs would be inspected and regulated for quality assurance by the FDA. This could prevent drug overdose and illegal smuggling of banned substances. This would also put a dent on organized crime and prevent further gang fighting for drug territories; therefore, saving lives. Think about all the innocent children and adults killed annually by drive-by shootings that are drug related.

The War on Drugs is also causing a prison overcrowding problem. To make room in prison for incoming drug users and dealers, all inmates, including violent criminals are having their sentences shortened or are being paroled early. The release of violent criminals due to overcrowded prisons is a dangerous tradeoff for our society. Hardened criminals often return to jail within a year of their release because they are not completely rehabilitated and often commit the same crime again for which they were originally convicted. Drug pushers, who have not learned any technical skills while in prision, will generally return to the street to continue their drug trafficing practices.

When alcohol became legal in our country in the 1930’s, there was an immediate decrease in the number of murders and robberies. This tends to support my argument that legalization of drugs could have similar effects. Once those involved in the narcotics trade have a legal method of settling business disputes, the number of murders and violent crime could drop. The present policy of trying to prohibit the use of drugs through the use of criminal law is a mistake. When alcohol use was outlawed during prohibition, it lead to gang warfare, smuggling and the beginning of organized crime.

Similarly, drug dealers today resolve their disputes through violence and intimidation, something which legal drug vendors would not do. In addition, police and drug enforcement officers are more likely to be corrupted in a system where bribe money is so available. In the U.S., the penalty for illegal drug possession and sale can vary from a small fine to a prison sentence. In some states, marijuana possession is considered to be a petty offense, with the penalty comparable to a speeding violation. In other parts of the country, possessing a small quantity of marijuana in one’s own home is not punishable at all. Generally, however, drug possession is an arrestable offense, although first-time offenders rarely serve jail time.

Believe it or not, narcotics can be used benefically in society when prescribed by a doctor. For example, morphine is often used to treat terminally ill patients for pain reduction and to help them rest comfortably. This is a good thing. Marijuana has been used in the treatment of glaucoma as well as cancer. To prevent drug abuse, the government could ration the amount of drugs dispensed for an individual at any given time—much like our doctor’s prescriptions are managed by our pharmacies and you can only have them refilled on a monthly basis.

No matter what you tell the public or try to educate them about drug use, people will do what they want to do with their lives. It is called “free will.” I truly believe that if people want to use drugs, they will buy them and use them no matter what. It would be much safer and more practical for people to be assured that the drugs they are buying have been manufactured in a licensed facility, inspected by the FDA, and labeled according to their contents. They could be priced competitively, taxed by the government, and purchased in a safe, controlled environment.

Tax monies collected from the sale of drugs could be used to educate the public about the safe and responsible use of drugs. It could also be used to provide drug rehabilitation facilities to the public, just as we do for people who suffer from alcoholism. A recommendation should be placed on the ballot in the next election so that the citizens of our country could voice their opinions on the legalization of illegal drugs. The legalization of drugs would be a good thing for our society and would go a long way in taking a bite out of crime.