Legalizing Drugs Essay, Research Paper
September 23, 2001
“Drugs- something and often an illegal substance that causes addiction, habituation, or a
marked change in consciousness.” – Merriam-Webster Dictionary
Just close your eyes for a minute and picture what the world would be like if
drugs were legal. Would you be for it or against it? Just think, you could get drugs
anywhere you wanted. You would not have to worry about getting in trouble with the
law. You could get as many as you wanted and have a supply and variety of whatever
you wished for. Would this be a good thing or a bad thing?
The three sources: Traffic, Legalizing Drugs Make Matters Worse, and Legalization Madness all has the same thing in common. They all lean to the side that drugs are a problem and legalizing them would only make things worse. There are people that argue that the best way to solve the problem of drugs is simply by making drugs legal. There are many problems that would be associated with legalization of drugs that is discussed in these three sources. Drug users would increase dramatically, crime would raise higher than it has been before, and the unemployment rate will go up due to the fact that the increase of users has also increased the number of people who have to support their drug habit by illegal actions (Inciardi & Saum 82).
Wilson as well as Incardi and Saum take a look at the different sides or possibilities of affects that legalizing drugs could have on society. Incardi and Saum make three points that the other side is making. In their article it includes that legalizing drugs will force the quality of drugs to go up, decrease the search to find drugs, and also increase the amount that drug users consume (79). The drug quality will have to go up just because there will probably end up being restrictions on the drugs and they will be monitored to make sure they are real. Before people would buy the drugs not knowing for sure what exactly they were getting. Now they would be guaranteed quality. They also wouldn’t have to go out searching for someone who has drugs or someone who knows how that person could get some. People would no longer have to sneak around trying to get their drugs. Lastly, people would increase the amount of drugs they intake because they will be cheaper. Their bodies will get used to the dosage that they are taking and have to take more to have the same effect. Since it will be cheaper it will just be an excuse to do it more often (Wilson 1).
If we were to legalize drugs the number of users would increase dramatically (Wilson 1). According to Incardi and Saum, one of the biggest reasons for not using drugs is due to the fact that they are illegal. By making drugs legal it would entice people to go out and try them, which would make it more likely that they would become addicted (81). Wilson states that crime rates have fallen in this country and if we want them to rise up again the way we can do that is by legalizing drugs. If we reduce drugs among criminals it would help the crime rates instead of just letting them have all the supplies they wanted (3). It doesn’t matter if it is the “hard” drugs or the “soft” drugs. You can become addicted to any drug and the users don’t stop at the soft drugs but keep moving up to the hard stuff. Marijuana only increases the likeliness that someone will resort to stronger substances. Legalizing drugs would lower the prices of drugs but would increase the number of users (Wilson 7).
Although the drug prices would fall this would make it even easier for people to get them and use them on a regular basis. This would increase the number of addicts and the crime would not decrease. In fact, Wilson suggests that crime would actually increase. We would have all these new users who are now no longer able to hold a job because of their driving habit that forces them to resort to criminal activity. The unemployment rate will drop and our society will not improve but weaken (Wilson 2). This is not the only problem we are going to have to deal with. Incardi and Saum say that there will be an increase in physical and mental problems with people using drugs (Inciardi & Saum 82).
A perfect example of people loosing their control over their own bodies due to excessive drug use is seen in the movie Traffic. In this movie the drug Czar’s daughter, Caroline is seen in numerous scenes where she has no control over her body and is doing things that she normally would not do. It shows how she has to resort to many things just to get her next fix or to get money to support her drug habit. It shows in one part of the movie where she has to steal her mother’s jewelry to get money. Caroline was not from a low class family. This just shows how anybody can have a drug problem.
Many times drug problems are directly associated with poor people, but this is not the case. Caroline was from a high class, white family. She was an amazing student who had many accomplishments and had many things going for her. She just made some bad choices, which seemed to have a waterfall effect. Her problem started out small and then grew to one where she could not control anymore. The only way to get out of this predicament was to go get help. She could not do it on her own and finally by the end of the movie she gained her father and mother’s support in this matter as well as the people from the clinic.
In Legalization Madness it points out the three different theories on why violence is associated with drugs. Psychopharmacological, economically compulsive, and systematic show how and why people resort to crime. One of these suggests that addicts commit crimes because they are not themselves. It is the drugs responsible for their actions but Inciardi and Saum suggest otherwise. They believe if drug use increased that violence would increase as well. Even if the drugs were cheap people would just end up buying more for themselves causing them to be that much more addicted to the drugs and become dependant on them to function (74).
These two articles have a lot of similar views. They both agree on the fact that in legalizing drugs violence would also increase. They both say that physical illness will most definitely become and issue if the use of drugs proceeds. Legalization Madness and Traffic both showed the different perspectives of the issue on legalizing drugs. Although Traffic seemed to be based on keeping drugs illegal some other parts of the movie would completely contradict that. Many scenes in the movie is showing the drug Czar and his compulsive need to have “just a drink.” He wouldn’t face the fact that his daughter had a problem so he would drink. He said he needed to loosen up but really he just didn’t know how to deal with the problem in his own house. Another part of the movie shows how different the rules are in the United States compared to Mexico. The Mexican police seemed like they were breaking the law also. They were out to get benefits for themselves not to enforce the law. The movie Traffic is a perfect example of the problems associated with drugs. People will do things they normally wouldn’t do. A perfect example of this would be Helena. She had nothing to do with the drugs but as soon as her husband was going to jail she resorted to measures that were illegal just to save him from staying in prison and to keep her son safe. A good point of this movie is that you can’t stop drugs in general unless you start with individual people.
In the movie Traffic they used pathos mostly to get us to sympathize with Caroline. In the scene where she was in bed and so messed up that she couldn’t even see strait really was meant to get to people’s hearts. They wanted us to feel sorry for her especially when the dad broke down crying because he had to see his daughter like that. They also used pathos with the whole situation with Helena. She had to keep her son safe because there were men who were willing to kidnap him if she didn’t pay them the money that her husband owed them. It got the viewer to feel sorry for her because she didn’t have anything to do with it even though later she started to get involved. It just shows how drugs can suck people in.5rt
Drugs are something that should not be taken lightly. They are powerful and very effective. When used in a careless manner it can result in serious consequences. Wilson states that if we legalize drugs it will only harm others (2). All three of these sources support keeping drugs illegal. If we think that legalizing drugs is the answer then we will find out the hard way. The only way to keep people off the streets, off drugs, and away from violent behavior is to make sure the generations to come have a solid education of this issue and if we take time to help the children they might not turn to drugs. This is shown on Traffic at the end of the movie where Javier is watching the baseball game. He is doing his part to take time to give to the children and be a support for them. He tried stopping drugs but he finally realized that he needed to start in his own community. The same thing happened with the Drug Czar. He had a goal to stop the problem of drugs but throughout the movie he dealt with family situations that gave him a broader glance at the problem of drugs. He realized that he couldn’t do anything to stop the drug problem if he couldn’t even deal with it in his own home. He quit his job and decided to be there to support his daughter hoping that his support would keep her off the streets and back into the promising life she had before.
As you can see these three different sources weigh all of the facts and use evidence to determine what the best answer to legalizing drugs would be. These sources encourage you to think for yourself given all the information. Even if we think that legalizing drugs would be the best answer we have to remember that drugs are still illegal and the only way we can change that is by doing something about it, which is happening with these sources. They are encouraging the reader to consider their perspective and just think about where they are coming from. So no matter what our opinion may be these articles at least gave us both views and made us definitely think about what we believe and why we believe it.
Inciardi, James A & Saum, Christine A.. “Legalization Madness.” The Public Interest 123 (1996): 72-82.
Traffic. Dr. Steven Soderburg. Perf. Michael Douglas, Katherine Zeta-Jones, Don Cheadle, and Benecio del Toro, 2000.
Wilson, James Q.. Legalizing Drugs Makes Matters Worse. September 02, 2000. Cannabis News. September 14, 2001 http://cannabisnews.com/news/thread6919.shtml.