The growing tensions and violent acts have shaped America negatively due to the everlasting War on Drugs between the government and the subversive people. People dying from overdoses and diseases, prisons overflowing with inhuman conditions, and violence have played a big role in shaping the American society. What kind of an example will we set for the future generations and how are we going to save our children from the dangers of illicit and unlawful drugs are the questions people have to consider in order to do the right thing for the society and its citizens. The U.S government forbid the use of drugs by law which is known as prohibition, however, it has proved to be an ineffective strategy to reduce the number of drug users. Seeing the ineffective strategy of prohibition, the officials of Portugal have decided to introduce the idea of decriminalization which doesn’t legalize the use of drugs, however, it alters the punishments for those having small amounts of drugs in possession and provides rehab and assistance to drug addicts which helped to reduce the number of drug users and violence in their country. The two policies, prohibition and decriminalization, have contributed to the societies with short term effects because neither of them were efficient since Black Markets, where people bought and sold drugs illegally without taxes, imprisoned people, and drug addictions continued. Legalizing drugs should be the next step in recovering the harmed and negatively affected societies by the War on Drugs. Although the U.S government has tried to stop the War on Drugs, all of their strategies have proved to be ineffective. New laws prohibiting drugs, overflowing prisons, the ever increasing Black Market, and more people dying from overdose have harmed the society and its people. The government should stop the war and legalize drugs which would improve the economy and the society.
Portugal has tried to prevent drug overdose and spreading drug related diseases by introducing the concept of decriminalization in order to provide help and assistance for drug addicts without any punishment or chastisement involved. It became a big risk for Portugal to proceed with decriminalization because of the unknown outcomes, however, their plan turned out to have more positive results than prohibition. A journalist named O’Brien from The Boston Globe Newspaper, who believed decriminalization became a success, stated “More addicts are in treatment. Drug use among youths has declined…”(O’Brien). Two of the results of decriminalization became positive as more addicts became involved in rehab programs and the rate of drug use reduced which proved the strategy the right way to improve the society and stop the War on Drugs. Drug users receiving assistance gave drug users an opportunity to free themselves from the addiction and look for help they cannot get if drugs are prohibited. “The number of users in treatment in Portugal jumped from over 23,000 to over 38,000” (O’Brien). Decriminalization has improved the society and established a successful strategy to cure people from their addiction reducing the number of drug users. Although, decriminalization had inadequate results, its outcomes were not effective to everybody in the country due to people still dying from drug overdose and violence. Overall, decriminalization had positive outcomes because people were able to receive and ask for help to get over their addiction without any penalties which improved the number of drug users and people in treatment. Prohibition of drugs has led the society and its people on a violent path leading to destruction of the country and the citizens. The illegality of drugs has created a higher rate of violence and crime, and a Black Market without taxes which harms the American economy. The American society has seen lots of negative influences that prohibition of drugs has on people and their health. Claire Suddath, a journalist from Time Newspaper, believes prohibition doesn’t stop people from using drugs but also it also sparks up lots of violence. “The gangs have responded with what seems to be an endless stream of violence: 5,300 people were killed in drug-related crimes in 2008 and over 1000 have already died this year” (Suddath). In order to restore a healthy society prohibition should be replaced by legalization to prevent and escape further disorder. Innocent people are dying from the outcomes of prohibition causing it not to only be ineffective but also deadly. Evan Wood, from cnn.com, also agrees with Suddath that prohibition promotes disturbance in the society. “Ignoring how cannabis prohibition contributes to organized crime and related violence….drug surveillance systems funded by none other than the U.S government have concluded that over the last 30 years of cannabis prohibition, the drug has remained ‘almost universally available to American 12th graders’ with between 80% and 90% consistently saying the drug is ‘very easy’ or ‘fairly easy’ to obtain” (Wood). Wood agrees that the violence is caused by the inefficient policy of prohibition because it does not bring positive results and it does not prevent drug use. The U.S government is mistaken by using prohibition to stop drug use because it has become ineffective and unsuccessful. Cigarettes and alcohol were legalized in order to prevent the chaos that would be a result if those two addicting substances were prohibited. However, cigarettes and alcohol also have detrimental affects on people emotionally, physically, and psychologically like drugs. It seems as if the government was contradicting itself, because of the legalization of alcohol and cigarettes with the same or even worse effects on people just like drugs. According to the website WebMD, consisted o experts in alcohol and drugs, have found alcohol to be more pernicious than drugs. “‘The highest and lowest overall harm scores … are 72 for alcohol and 5 for mushrooms,’ Nutt and colleagues calculate. ‘The ICSD scores lend support to the widely accepted view that alcohol is an extremely harmful drug both to users and to society’ Alcohol was found to be the most harmful drug to society and the fourth most harmful drug to users. The findings should come as no surprise: Alcohol has been linked to more than 60 diseases” (Locke). Alcohol has been legalized for a very long time throughout history because of the chaos when alcohol was illegal to be used. The government decided to make the substance legal in order to improve the society, taxing it, reducing the number of “criminals”, and letting people make their own choices. Alcohol is not safe to be using, it is very harmful to the human health and the society by causing a big amount of diseases. The short and long term effects of alcohol are liver disease, nerve damage, poisoning, high blood pressure, coma, and blackouts. Therefore, drugs should be legalized as well in order to prevent conflicts and because harmful substances are already being used legally in the society. On the other hand, a science correspondent, James Randerson, has interviewed some of the scientists studying the drugs vs. cigarettes case to classify which substance in more harmful to the human body and health. “By their analysis, alcohol and tobacco are rated as more dangerous than cannabis, LSD and ecstasy. They say that if the current ABC system is retained, alcohol would be rated a class A drug and tobacco class B. ‘We face a huge problem,’ said Colin Blakemore, chief executive of the Medical Research Council and an author of the report, which is published in the Lancet medical journal. ‘Drugs ... have never been more easily available, have never been cheaper, never been more potent and never been more widely used. The policies we have had for the last 40 years ... clearly have not worked in terms of reducing drug use. So I think it does deserve a fresh look. The principal objective of this study was to bring a dispassionate approach to what is a very passionate issue’” (Randerson). Due to research and studies, the results have shown that drugs have been less detrimental to the human health and their bodies. Also, it has proved that drugs have less negative effects on the society than tobacco. As harmful as tobacco is, it is legalized to be sold, bought, and used worldwide. Drugs are prohibited because of the dangers and risks to people's’ well-being, however, people have very easy access to buy them through the black market, because of its easy accessibility. Drugs should be legalized to get rid of the ineffective laws and any further conflicts. Legalization of drugs has proved to have positive outcomes in the society. The collected taxes, police focusing on more serious crimes, emptier prisons, and the legal age to use drugs have become the factors that contribute to the society’s advancement and safety. The government should provide its citizens with a safe and an improved society. The War on Drugs has been causing a negative impact on the community and its citizens because prohibition has been ineffective. An author from Thedailybeast.com, Tony Dokoupil is arguing that legalization is not a good idea for the society, however, he does acknowledge the positive effects it would have on the society. “...legalizing weed would goose the economy, free law enforcement resources to pursue more serious crime and unclog the criminal justice system “ (Dokoupil). According to the author, legalization of drugs would enrich, advance, and take the economy to another level which would help America grow in power and wealth by collecting taxes. Also, Dokoupil states how the police would be able to focus on other crimes that threaten people everyday which would help improve the safety of the neighborhoods and cities reducing the crime rates as well as having space for the real criminals in prisons. All these effects would be caused by the policy of legalization which would lead to America’s further development in power, economy, wealth, and liberty. Also, Dokoupil shows how legalization would prevent the continuation of the black market because of the illegal transactions and no charged taxes. Therefore, people would be able to buy drugs in the store legally without being threatened with punishment for buying or selling drugs. “...would empty prisons and undercut the black market” (Dokoupil). Dokoupil agrees that legalization would stop the black market and empty the prisons which would create more space for serious criminals, release people for simple drug possessions, and there would be no more need to build more jails to make more space. Consequently, prohibition is not an effective strategy to solve America’s problems on War on Drugs, and it should be replaced by legalization for a safer and an improved country. Legalization of drugs would shape America’s character making it safe, wealthy, healthy, free, and powerful.
Some might argue that the effects of legalization in America would not remain for a long time and would soon be abandoned, however, legalization has been effective in solving the War on Drugs. The Article “Free Drug Australia” which is an organization located in Australia committed to supporting healthy lifestyles has done research on people who did and didn’t have experience with drugs and their reasons for their decisions. “29% of those who had never used cannabis cited the illegality of the substance as their reason for never using the drug…”(Free Drug Australia). According to this article prohibition and its punishments have frightened people to use drugs, reducing the number of drug users in the community. This argument is strong, however, prohibition has not been ineffective in decreasing the number of drug users in the world, also as studies have shown it promotes drug use, and lastly drugs have been very easily accessible to people of any ages. The penalties have caused more destruction in the society than restoration such as the overflowing prisons, overdose deaths, violence, drug use, and no taxing on drugs which damages the economy and its wealth. Also, someone might argue that Tony Dokoupil, an author from Thedailybeast.com, is correct that legalization of drugs is not a good idea, however, legalization is the only way to stop the War on Drugs.“But as state laws have softened, pot use has risen sharply…”(Dokoupil). Dokoupil states that without prohibition, people will begin to use drugs more often in bigger amounts, His research shows that with non strict laws, people will fail to stay away from drugs. Dokoupil’s argument is imprecise because with prohibition enforced by the leaders of society, people varying in ages are still able to use drugs in big and small amounts and continue the black market. Therefore, prohibition is ineffective because people have still very easy access to drugs whether the government forbids it or not. Once again, legalization is the only way to prevent the further war and conflict in the society. It will empty prisons and help the police focus on much more serious and dangerous crimes, it will charge taxes which would contribute to the economy’s wealth, there would be a set age to buy drugs legally in a store, it will prevent further overdose deaths and provide assistance and rehab for the ones looking for help, it will also stop the gang violence and the hatred, and lastly it would stop the War on Drugs that has been harming the society with its detrimental effects. Legalization should be introduced to the society in order to improve the community in safety. The War on Drugs has been causing the country to slowly fall apart, focusing on ending the issue of drug users. However, the concept of legalization should be the American Superman, a hero overcoming the challenges of drugs and its consumers. Regardless of the laws, people will always find a way to use and sell drugs to satisfy their addiction, depression, or loneliness. Also, people should have the right to make the choice whether they want to use drugs or not and the government shouldn’t have the right to take that away from its citizens. According to the Declaration of Independence people have the rights of life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness, what if drugs are an escape to an individual’s happiness? The War on Drugs should be put to an end and resolved by legalization to create America a safer and an improved country politically and economically. The government is not able to control the thirst for drugs, addiction, violence resulted from drugs, deaths, and the Black Market. Therefore, legalization is the best way to improve America.