Would keeping drugs illegal and following the same failed drug polices that our government implemented decades ago help solve our problems? Did Prohibition end the use of alcohol among American’s in the 1920s? No, in fact it made things much worse for America by the rise in illegal, wide-scale distribution of alcohol, creating bigger problems like organized crime and the American mafia. In todays society we have a prohibition of drugs, which we call “the war on drugs,” and it has created an underground “black-market,” where the drug producers and dealers are handsomely paid. Drug legalization has been a heavily debatable subject and on-going issue in American society since Prohibition and is something the government should seriously consider in our future. The so called “war on drugs” has done nothing but increase our governments debt, make it easier to obtain illegal drugs, and in a way, make alcohol and tobacco seemingly harmless because they’re not illegal.
The war on drugs, despite failing for over forty years, still continues to receive more and more government money. Congressman Charles B. Rangel, author of “Why Drug Legalization Should be Opposed,” argues that our country’s problems will only get worse if drugs are legalized. He writes, “If we legalize, we will be paying much more than the $30 billion per year we are now spending on direct health care costs associated with drug use.” Rangel makes a valid argument because the availability of every drug could possibly increase the overdose statistics and hospitalization among users. But his argument becomes insignificant in light of Governor Gary E. Johnson’s article, “The Case for Drug Legalization,” who believes the war on drugs has been a complete failure. He writes, “We are presently spending $50 billion per year to combat drugs. I’m talking about police, courts, and jails.” Combined, these authors state our government is spending a shocking $80 billion per year on health care, social services, and the judicial system while fighting the war on drugs, steadily increasing our countries debt and failing to implement new policies for solution. Johnson presents a well thought, proactive solution when he states, “Legalization means we educate, regulate, tax and control the estimated $400 billion per year industry.” If this amount of money were to go back into our economy, America could decrease it’s national debt, and focus on more important issues regarding drugs.
Another factor in the war on drugs is the availability of illegal drugs becoming significantly easier to obtain, which leads to more crime and incarceration, costing our government more and more in the long run. Because they’re illegal, there’s high risk involved in selling because the dealer could possible face prison time, thus increasing the price of the drugs and making the risk well worth the producer and dealer’s effort’s. Johnson make’s a good point when he writes about where we have come in regards to controlling alcohol, versus just how out of control drugs have become. He wrote, “A teenager today will tell you that a bottle of beer is harder to come by than a joint.” From experience during my childhood, I can say this statement is true and it makes no sense why our government would focus so much on controlling something very deadly like alcohol, yet fail to control the more important issue; the availability of illegal drugs. When I was young, getting a beer meant my friend’s and I would have to stand around in the parking lot of the liquor store asking anyone who entered if they would buy some beer for us, and that would very rarely work out. All we had to do to get some marijuana was simply as the popular neighborhood “weed man,” who everyone knew, and we could be smoking in less than five minutes. If legalized, our government could strictly monitor the flow of illegal drugs in the country and ultimately eliminate...
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