The Poly Spotlight

December 13th, 2017
The War on Drugs Has Failed


DRUGS: The war on drugs has created more problems than it has solved.

By Ben Diguglielmo, Staff Writer

For many years now, people have succumbed to the idea that if something is bad for you, it should be regulated by the government. From drugs to the height of a fence on privately owned property, the government is everywhere in people’s lives telling them what risks are okay for them to take and which ones are not. The government has a history of attempting to regulate harmful and addictive substances such as alcohol during the Prohibition. And like Prohibition, the War on Drugs has failed. Crackheads roam the streets, gangs pull in millions of dollars, 1.2 million people get arrested every year for drugs, and the government spends more than $51,000,000,000 dollars a year for the War on Drugs. Yes, 51 billion dollars of taxpayer money going towards fighting a victimless crime. And also like Prohibition, the solution is to end it.

The legalization of drugs would provide a solution to every problem the War on Drugs has created. There will no longer be any need for a black market, allowing the entire industry to be regulated and taxed. Not only will this ensure that legally bought drugs won’t be laced with other ingredients, but instead of spending 51 billion dollars a year fighting drugs, the government will be gaining money by  taxing drugs.

Legalization could also ensure that those who abuse drugs will have no access to them. In a scenario in which a person commits any crime against another person while under the influence of drugs, said criminal would be put on a blacklist, so that any company that scans his ID would know that they are not permitted to sell him drugs. The perpetrator would have no black market to fall on because the shrinking demand for illegal drugs would put drug lords out of business.

The United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, (BJS) around 46% of all prisoners are incarcerated for drug use. If drugs were legalized, our incarceration rate would drop from 2,193,798 prisoners to 1,096,899 prisoners. putting us below China and slightly above Russia.

One could argue that because drugs would still be illegal for minors, the black market would remain; but according to the FBI only around 8% of all people arrested for drug related crimes were minors. That means that the sales of all underground drug operations would drop about  92%, guaranteeing to put them out of business.

Even when one puts facts aside, the logic behind banning drugs is flawed. The most common justification for the ban is that drugs have no benefit and have the ability to cause severe damage to one’s own health. If those are the qualifications for something to be banned by the government, then why stop at drugs? Many things provide no benefit and cause severe harm to those who choose to use them, such as soda, junk food, fast food, and alcohol. Yet people are still allowed the option of poisoning themselves by those means, because the United States is supposedly the country where you are in control of your own life. Want to eat unhealthily everyday for your whole life? Go ahead, but you have to foot the bill when you eventually begin to suffer from obesity related diseases. Want to throw your life away over a drug addiction? Go ahead, because your life belongs to you, not to the government.

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