Time for Change

Mared - USA
Entered on January 14, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: addiction, change
  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

The war on drugs is an ongoing debate. The government believes that making drugs illegal will reduce the use of them, and improve productivity and health. Others believe that the war on drugs has only minor effects on the trafficking and use of drugs, and that it causes many of the problems attributed to drugs themselves. I believe the latter.

Recently I was a victim of the war on drugs. I was suddenly slammed with what will probably be about a $300 dollar fine. Many of my friends have had it much worse than that. For me, and I’m sure for many people, the war on drugs has caused only problems.

In these tough times the federal government is spending about $19 billion dollars a year on the war on drugs. On top of that, state and local governments are spending at least another $30 billion dollars a year. They claim the money is worth it for the kids it saves from drug addiction. Honestly, I don’t see how they are saving kids from addiction. If a kid really wants to try drugs then he’s going to try them even though they’re illegal.

Lisa Ling, who has spent many years reporting on the war on drugs, says that both sides of the argument for legalizing marijuana are extremely passionate. She says “I’ve experienced few issues as contradictory and confusing as this marijuana issue.” She goes on to say, “I really think that it’s time that our lawmakers and drug enforcement officials, perhaps scientists and intellectuals, actually sit down and scrutinize this issue and figure out a way to possibly better regulate it, or possibly decriminalize it.” I completely agree with her. I believe this issue is very real, and needs to be looked at by lawmakers.

When you compare marijuana to other legal substances, it looks a lot better than the ones that are legal. If the war on drugs is partly meant to improve health, then why should marijuana be illegal and not alcohol or tobacco? Over 50,000 people die each year from alcohol poisoning, and 400,000 people have tobacco related deaths. It is impossible to overdose on marijuana.

As I said before, this issue is very real and should not be overlooked. I believe that the government should rethink the war on drugs and how they handle it. I think it hurts more than it helps.