ALL drugs should be legalized and addiction should be treated as a health problem instead of a crime
Debate Rounds (3)
In Portugal drugs for personal use have been legal since 2001. What they did was, that instead of treating the drug addicts as criminals and sentencing them to prison, they treated drug addiction as a health disorder. They have had a massive success with the project and made a higher amount of people drug-free annually.
The legalization of drugs would also imply (if the sale was made state controlled) that the drug cartels would lose power. If we legalize drugs for personal use, and make the sale state controlled, the prices for state controlled would be a lot lower than the price drug cartels could offer, as a large amount of the money you pay when you buy drugs, are actually for the smuggling part.
Just to get this clear before starting the debate; I am not a drug addict and have never touched drugs in my life.
Marijuana, the most popular illicit drug, is often thought to have no lasting effects on the human body. But according to the National Institute on Drug abuse, marijuana has been proven to hurt the cardiopulmonary system, and contributes to lasting brain damage in many abusers.  Marijuana is not the exception, either. Mind altering drugs as a whole have strong tendencies to leave a lasting negative effect in the human brain. My opponent seems to brag that recreational drugs would be cheaper if they were state regulated. I cannot pretend to understand his argument, because he seems to brag that harmful substances would be more readily available for consumption by the public. A government's job is to protect it's people, even from harmful substances.
In addition to harming the user, illegal drug consumption hurts those around the user. Those near abusers of crack, marijuana, and other drugs ingested by smoke experience second-hand smoke. Much like tobacco smoke, the smoke from these drugs has negative effect on the person who inhales the fumes. Drivers on mind altering drugs such as LSD, Psilocybin, heroine, and cocaine pose a major threat to others driving. Studies have shown that these drivers are as bad or worse than drunk drivers. It is not fair to the general public to be susceptible to these risks because of someone else's poor choices.
Beyond affecting those immediately surrounding the user, legalized recreational drug abuse would affect society as a whole. Cleaning up for drug abuse costs the US over $100 billion every year.  Drug abusive generations, starting in the sixties and continuing on to today has made for an irresponsible group of voters, members of the community, and neighbors. Not only do they not help society along, drug abusers downright oppose growth as a civilization. Nearly ten percent of America abuses drugs.  Just imagine if those millions of people were actually helpful members of society.
My opponent thinks that a better solution to this problem is to declare addiction a medical problem, not a crime. This will not work as thought. A nation that legalizes drugs will have glorified drugs. It will be considered socially acceptable for people to do drugs for recreational purposes. Children will be bombarded with advertising campaigns that show how great cocaine can make you feel. Posters will show how happy people on heroine are. So no, I cannot consider drug legalization to be a suitable form of drug control. I suggest enforcing laws against drugs, advertising against drugs, and increasing awareness about the negative effects of drugs.
After we have detected the abusers, we have to treat them. These treatment programs are expensive and who should pay for them. Today we all tax-payers pay for government treatment facilities and their expenses. If we legalized drugs, the profits from the sales of drug would uncut go to cover some of the expenses.
As for the driving under the influence of drugs my opponent stated; it is illegal to drive drunk, so of course it should also be illegal to drive while high on drugs.
We have to create facilities (they do already exist) where people can go and take their drug so that non abusers are not exposed to the fumes that the drug would form is they are smoked.
Thinking that drug addicts want to be addicts are a sign of stupidity. Many abusers really want to get out of doing drug, but the need of the drugs gives them withdrawal symptoms. Regular users of heroin gets really sick when they have not got their drug for a longer period of time. If these people haven't got enough money to buy the drugs, they either turn to a loan shark (which ends up ruining their lives) or to burglary (which also ruins their lives, if they are caught). Not only would legalizing drugs for personal use, help people break out of their abusive habits of drugs, it would keep the ones that really need their drugs away from loan sharks, drug cartels and prisons. The worst thing that could happen for an addict would be to go to prison, meet some 'real' criminals that would convince the addict that he also should become a 'real' criminal. When the addict then comes out of prison, he will be radicalized into a criminal. Now who's fault is that and who will it have an effect on. In my opinion the answer for both question is; us. As a collective society, imprison ting people only to realize that it has radicalized them, means that we have failed to reintegrate them into our society. In fact we have done the exact opposite.
My opponent has stated that if legalized drugs were regulated by state, we would not experience abrupt advertisements for these products. This is simply impossible. Today, the public has to face the full force of tobacco and alcohol advertisements. It is, in my humble opinion, the one great downfall of Capitalism. If you allow the sale of an item, you allow the accessories that come with it. That includes marketing, propaganda, and subliminal messages in other forms of media.
My opponent states that if recreational drugs were legalized, it would be illegal just as drunk driving, and therefore, would not be a problem. To counter this, I point to statistics provided by MADD.org.  According to MADD, nearly a quarter of individuals between the age of 21 and 25 drive drunk. Millions still drive under the influence. Therefore, It cannot be said that making drugs legal, but making them illegal while driving will stop their use on the road.
My opponent argues that facilities could be provided where people may take drugs with fumes so as to not force the drugs on to the public. This suggests that drugs will be legal, but not really, because they can only be taken in certain buildings, and not in public. This also would restrict the freedom of the nonuser by creating places that they cannot enter for fear of their own health. The general public should not have to change the way it travels based on the problems of the minority.
Never in my arguments have I stated that drug addicts WANT to be drug addicts. But this does not excuse the use of illegal, harmful substances. After all else, it was the user himself who chose to try that first blunt. My opponent seems to think that when a user gets busted, they just get thrown into jail to rot. The United States, and many other western nations have initiated help programs for inmates and parolees.  It's not yet a perfect solution, but it is a sight better than making drugs legal and available to the general public. The worst thing that could happen to an addict is for them to continue taking drugs out of check, not for them to get caught. My opponent creates an ultimatum: either a drug addict, or a radicalized criminal. This is not the case. Both federal and state run programs are in place to get ex-convicts back on the right track. 
I extend my further points that legalizing drugs would encourage widespread use and a breakdown of society.
Drug addiction is a problem for the user, and they should get help from professionals to get them off the substance. But we cannot allow these drugs to be considered acceptable in society.
In Portugal , they have legalized drugs for personal use. The drug-related justice workload have been decreased. Portugal has also reduced its drug related death and reduced diagnoses of HIV among drug users 17%.
These numbers shows the positive reactions that comes with legalizing drugs in the US in 2013  43,982 people died from drug overdoses. 22,767 of these deaths was due to pharmaceuticals. That is over 50% overdosing from pharmaceuticals that in the principle are legal.
In Portugal, the consumers of drugs are no longer looked at as criminals, but instead patients. This have done so that 45% of the Portugal's heroin user have sought medical help.
In The Netherlands  they have for many years had a loose policy towards cannabis. You should think that they had high numbers of cannabis user by now, but the fact are so different. The Netherlands have the lowest numbers of cannabis users pr. capita.
Netherlands have gone towards a more strict cannabis policy during the last few years, but that is towards tourists. The country had a lot of problems with people comming form other countries in the EU, who would go to Netherlands the smoke cannabis.
At last i want to thank Jonnykelly for acceping this debate, and thanks for the debate to you.
First I would like to point out that all of my opponents stories from Portugal and the Netherlands are not examples of solving the drug problem, but are examples of dangerous drugs becoming acceptable in society. It is true, general use of recreational drugs in Portugal went down since legalization. What my opponent fails to mention, is that use among adolescents and minors went up since legalization.  Which means that once the current generation is passed and the new generation, raised on legal drugs, takes its place, you will see skyrocketing drug rates.
My opponent cites that the only problem with the Netherlands is that users come from other countries to smoke marijuana legally. This isn't a side problem, this is a major issue. If the US were to legalize drugs, you would have users immigrating (probably illegally) to America just to supply the market for drugs.
When I comes down to it, legalizing drugs is just another way of saying, "Drugs aren't that bad". We need to protect our children and their children from this mentality. Rather than making the US a safe haven for drug abusers, lets make the US a safe haven for those who wish to live drug free. Condemn the use of drugs, show their negative effects on the user, those around him, and on society as a whole.
I also thank my opponent for starting this debate and giving me the chance to give my two cents. I look forward to any future debates.
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