In 1961, the United Nations implemented an international treaty that limited drug production and trafficking. The “war on drugs”, a term that was created by Richard Nixon a decade later, in reference to said treaty, has been going on for over fifty years now. The original objective of the “war on drugs” was to expel all recreational drugs from the country; making all of them illegal. However just like prohibition in 1920, the establishment of these laws were to save the nation from the problems the substance(s) created. However, also like the prohibition of 1920, the laws only served to create and support organized crime and has done little to effect the public’s usage of the substance(s).
The U.S. currently has the highest incarceration rate in the world. The bulk of those imprisoned are due to drug-related crimes. The illegal drug trade has been introducing children and teens to a life of crime. They notice that the minimum wages they would legally receive from their unskilled labor at the local Burger King, is far from what they could earn buying and selling illegal drugs. By the time children and teenagers leave high school, most of these students have committed a criminal act by using recreational drugs. These drugs are used every day and widely available, people see “breaking the law” as nothing more than playful mischief; therefore, undermining our law’s authority.
In contrast to the spiraling ineffectiveness of the U.S. government’s original approach to controlling the issue of recreational drugs, other countries like New Zealand and Ireland have taken on a new outlook on the matter. Instead of outlawing the use of recreational drugs, they have decided to do extensive research on these drugs, in effect making sure that they are safe for the public’s consumption. They are conducting clinical tests to prove that their products are safe; just like new medicine would be tested in the market. If our government would go along with this new radical movement and legalized recreational drugs, like these other countries, they would no longer have a “war on drugs”. The money spent on inmates in jails would be greatly reduced since we are not arresting people for drug use. Police can use the time currently monopolized on getting drugs off the street for other, more pressing crimes. Schools could teach their students about wise drug usage instead of implementing scare tactics. Tactics such as videos and statistics about drug abuse and its consequences that will only tell you to never purchase or use them are simply in effective; that just leads to ignorant abuse in the future. All legalized drugs can be sold by trust worthy companies instead of fellow schoolmates or sketchy street dealers. These drugs can be bought legally, by someone of government consented age, in proper packages with appropriate warning labels; similar to the way that cigarettes and alcohol are.
In conclusion, legalizing recreational drugs goes far beyond “right and wrong” if you look at the issue in a practical manner. The problem of illegal recreational drugs has only been increasing with time. The current policies in place are just not working. A new, radical approach could be the ultimate solution to the U.S. government’s uphill battle. After all, the legalizing has already begun, hasn’t it?