All drugs should be legalized.
Thanks for accepting my challenge! To begin, here are the definitions I believe to be relevant to this debate:
Drugs-a medicine or other substance which has a physiological effect when ingested or otherwise introduced into the body.
Legalize- make (something that was previously illegal) permissible by law.
Decriminalize- cease by legislation to treat (something) as illegal.
Economy- the wealth and resources of a country or region, especially in terms of the production and consumption of goods and services.
Feel free to add definitions you see beneficial, or adjust my current definitions. I was thinking about adding in definitions of drugs themselves, but I changed my mind, unless you think it'd be beneficial.
Thanks for making this debate! I will expand the definitions briefly. In my arguments I will include economical, federal, as well has moral standpoints
GDP-An economical measurement that stands for “Gross Domestic Product” The monetary value of all the finished goods and services produced within a country's borders in a specific time period, in this case, it is within a year
GSP: An economical measurement that stands for “Gross state product”. The definition for GDP and GSP is the same, however GSP is the measurement statewise, unlike GDP which is countrywise. Again, this is within a year
C.1 Drug legalization will have a heavy negative impact on the economy
Vermont (1) had New hampshire (2) have one of the highest drug problems, yet the lowest GDP. (3) (In this case we will refer GSP) This can certainly imply that the drug problem is associated to the decline of the GSP. Now, I am not implying that the illicit drug use is the sole cause of the decreased GSP. However, it is certainly more than a coincidence. To support my argument further, I will refer to the DEA to the economic downfalls.
->“Association does not imply causation, therefore, drug legalization and decline in GSP is irrelevant”
This is a valid point in regards to my GSP argument. However, “Association does not imply causation” is only valid when there are totally unrelated variables. In this case everyone high on drugs and decreased productivity are not totally unrelated. This is part of the reason why many companies have drug tests.
Drug use by children often is associated with other forms of unhealthy, unproductive behavior, including delinquency and high-risk sexual activity, thus leading to an increased risk of sexual transmitted diseases. There will also be a huge increased drug related deaths, also supporting my argument of a negative impact of the economy. (4)
Now, drug advocates claim that the money used for drugs can be used for other things, as America spends billions of dollars for drug trafficking. However, this is the DEA’s response.
“Ask legalization proponents if the alleged profits from drug legalization would be enough to pay for the increased fetal defects, loss of workplace productivity, increased traffic fatalities and industrial accidents, increased domestic violence and the myriad other problems that would not only be high-cost items but extremely expensive in terms of social decay” (5)
Thus, further supporting my argument that drug use can lead to a Negative impact in the Economy.
C.2 Drugs and crime
Its really no surprise that if we legalize drugs, we will witness skyrocketing crime activities. Here are a few things that what drugs can do on the Public. (6)
We need to break the chain of drugs, not make it stronger. This also shows that how drugs can cause a decline in GSP, as decline in GSP can be because of imprisonment. In this case, imprisonment is due to drugs. Therefore, it is indeed expected to see a decline in GSP. Many drug advocates believe that legalized drugs will lead to a decrease in auto theft, since the gangs will not have to steal drugs on other gang’s grounds.
However, Opponents to legalization obviously do not see legalization as a panacea that will make crime go away. They see a clear connection between drug use and crime and, perhaps more importantly, between drug use and violence. Joseph Califano, the author and a member of President Johnson’s cabinet, stated:
“Drugs like marijuana and cocaine are not dangerous because they are illegal; they are illegal because they are dangerous.”
Speaking to a Congressional subcommittee on drug policy in 1999, Donnie Marshall, then deputy administrator of DEA, spoke of drug use, crime, and violence. He said that there is
“a misconception that most drug-related crimes involve people who are looking for money to buy drugs. The fact is that most drug-related crimes are committed by people whose brains have been messed up with mood-altering drug”
Legalization opponents are convinced that the violence caused by drug use
“will not magically stop because the drugs are legal. Legal PCP isn’t going to make a person less violent than illegally purchased PCP.”
Susan Neiberg Terkel echoes these sentiments by saying that legalizing drugs
“cannot change human nature. It cannot improve the social conditions that compel people to engage in crime, nor can it stop people from using drugs as an excuse to be violent.” (5)
Truly, we would see skyrocketing rates in criminal activity. Really, the federal government has no reason to legalize drugs as we will see skyrocketing rates in crime and a crash in the economy.
“The druggies are not impacting anyone else, therefore it is immoral to imprison them”
I personally see this many times through drug arguments. However, as I have presented earlier, on balance we will see an increased crime rates, therefore harming the society as a whole and displaying a huge threat in regards to the general safety of the public. Really, on balance we are harming others as we are expected to see increased of crime rates. I will now display my points in bullet points to get my point accross easier.
II. Morality impacts on others
From a federal standpoint, the government really has no reason to legalize drugs whatsoever. If we include the impacts on the economy, Public safety, and morality as a whole, there is really no reason to legalize drugs.
Well thats all. On to you Pro
1.Freedom of choice:
It's our right as human beings to be allowed to do as we please with our own bodies and lives, no matter how detrimental it can be to our health and lifestyle. It's no role for the government to protect us from ourselves. What I do in my home and what you do in your home is no job of the government to keep control of, unless you are initiating direct acts of aggression towards someone who is then being deprived of their natural rights.
2. The cost:
The costs of the drug war has skyrocketed. The country is approximately $40,000,000,000+ deep when looking at the monetary costs of the drug war. That's without mentioning the money lost in possible tax revenue and money flowing in the private sector with potential drug sales.
3. Prison population:
According to the Justice Policy Institute, "The United States leads the world in the number of people incarcerated in federal and state correctional facilities. There are currently more than 2 million people in American prisons or jails. Approximately one-quarter of those people held in U.S. prisons or jails have been convicted of a drug offense. The United States incarcerates more people for drug offenses than any other country. With an estimated 6.8 million Americans struggling with drug abuse or dependence, the growth of the prison population continues to be driven largely by incarceration for drug offenses."
4. Race disparity:
According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, at midyear 2010, "the incarceration rate for females was 126 per 100,000 population. The rate for non-Hispanic white females was 91, for non-Hispanic black females the rate was 260, and for Hispanic women the rate was 133."
The disparity also exists in the male population, "The most serious offense for 210,200 people in the US sentenced to state facilities at the end of 2012 was a conviction involving illegal drugs. Of this total: 64,800 (30.83%) were non-Hispanic white, 79,300 (37.73%) were non-Hispanic black and 41,100 (19.55%) were Hispanic."
While this may seem like something due to more drug users in those "social groups", the usage rates amongst these races show differently.
According to the Cato institute, "The main obstacle to getting black America past the illusion that racism is still a defining factor in America is the strained relationship between young black men and police forces. The massive number of black men in prison stands as an ongoing and graphically resonant rebuke to all calls to 'get past racism,' exhibit initiative, or stress optimism. And the primary reason for this massive number of black men in jail is the War on Drugs. Therefore, if the War on Drugs were terminated, the main factor keeping race-based resentment a core element in the American social fabric would no longer exist. America would be a better place for all."
The War On Drugs gives off a bad relationship between law enforcement and citizens, specifically, those of color. Ending the war on drugs would give law enforcement greater opportunities to focus on more violent crimes. Prohibition is moving these drugs underground into black markets and drug cartels.
5. Violent crime:
With these drug markets being outside the legal system, it increases violent crime. If a dealer and a user don't quite get along, there can be violent conflict. Unlike legal markets today, those partaking in the drug markets will use violent means to get their way.
According to the NCJRS, "The data are quite consistent with the view that Prohibition at the state level inhibited alcohol consumption, and an attempt to explain correlated residuals by including omitted variables revealed that enforcement of Prohibitionist legislation had a significant inhibiting effect as well. Moreover, both hypotheses about the effects of alcohol and Prohibition are supported by the analysis. Despite the fact that alcohol consumption is a positive correlate of homicide (as expected), Prohibition and its enforcement increased the homicide rate."
6. Violence amongst users:
CASAColumbia states, "Contrary to conventional wisdom and popular myth, alcohol is more tightly linked with more violent crimes than crack, cocaine, heroin or any other illegal drug. In state prisons, 21 percent of inmates in prison for violent crimes were under the influence of alcohol--and no other substance--when they committed their crime; in contrast, at the time of their crimes, only three percent of violent offenders were under the influence of cocaine or crack alone, only one percent under the influence of heroin alone."
While drug usage itself can do a lot to harm a family, it's worse when drugs are treated as a crime rather than a medical issue. Over half of the prison population for drug offenders are parents, which can ruin a child's well being growing up without a mother or a father.
Real world examples:
Portugal has decriminalized drugs, and the results have shown lowering rates in drug addictions and usage. Several countries such as Spain have followed behind.
1. Worker productivity:
While I agree that worker productivity would take a downturn, that is a responsibility of workplaces. Businesses conduct drug tests regardless of whether or not drugs are legal, because it would lower their profits if they have employees using drugs. It's more economically beneficial for a company to conduct a drug test for their employees than to not. Liberty is inseparable with responsibility, and with this liberty of substance use, comes the responsibility of private business owners to conduct drug policies for employees.
2. Morality arguments:
The role of the government is not to legislate morality. The impact of drug usage within a family is between the family members, and the family members only. Simply keeping drugs illegal will not change the mind of someone who's intention is to get high.
Thanks for the reply Pro. A late Merry Christmas to you as well.
R.1 Freedom of choice
This part is quite interesting as this is exactly what my argument was about in regards to morality. Apparently, my opponent disregarded my entire morality section, and continued with his view of morality. My opponent implied that my morality section was useless, yet continued with the exact same subject I had.
I had even quoted this in my arguments a possible thought that my opponent had, yet my opponent did not even bother to read that. However, I will repeat what I claimed earlier.
Recall, on balance legalizing drugs will have a huge concern on public safety, specifically that drugs are related to crime. Therefore, if we distribute these substances to the public we will see decreased productivity, and increased crime. It is true that people should be able to impact their own lifestyle however this is not the case. Legalizing drugs is a potential threat to public safety, the economy, and loved ones. This is the reason why, if drugs are a threat to others, then they should not be available to the public despite the fact people should be able to do whatever they want to their own body.
Also, drugs are highly addictive. Once you take them, you simply cannot let go, and it is nearly impossible to do so. It is almost similar to suicide without any help. There is no beneficial outcome from a federal point of view to legalize drugs! it is the exact opposite.
I had also included this is my argument, yet my opponent chooses to disregard that as well. However, I will repeat what I had in my previous argument.
Dug advocates claim that the money used for drugs can be used for other things, as America spends billions of dollars for drug trafficking. However, this is the DEA’s response. (1)
“Ask legalization proponents if the alleged profits from drug legalization would be enough to pay for the increased fetal defects, loss of workplace productivity, increased traffic fatalities and industrial accidents, increased domestic violence and the myriad other problems that would not only be high-cost items but extremely expensive in terms of social decay”
-One of the purposes to legalize drugs is to use drug trafficking money for good use
-The money will not even cover the damages to legalizing drugs!
-In the end, you had an intention to put the money to good use, yet the money will not even cover the damage
R.3 Prison rates
R.4 Race disparity
I am not going to go too much into this simply because I have no real objection to this. However, I would like to address a couple of points.
I cannot see how this how this helps my opponent. According to the BJS non-Hispanic blacks accounted for 54.4% of the prison and jail population in 2009. Non-Hispanic blacks also have the highest homicide rates in America. Doesn’t overall crime and homicide also cause a “bad relation” law enforcement and citizens? By my opponent’s logic, all the crime and homicide should be decriminalized due to race disparity! (3)
R.4 Violent crime and violence among users
I am going to combine Violent crime and crime among users. Simply, because those 2 points that my opponent has made is very similar.
Using my own opponent’s source (3rd one) Overall, 52.7 percent of homicides were in some way drug-related.
The main point is drugs cause crime. According to the National Criminal Justice Reference Services, arrestees frequently test positive for drug use. It is really no surprise that drugs play an important and crucial role in criminal activity that are not directly related to drugs. However, crimes such as theft or murder that drugs have played a role in. (4)
This appears to be the morality part of my opponent’s argument, ironically something that my opponent discarded.
Drugs will not be beneficial for families at all. If drugs are available to the public, it will turn healthy parents into emotionally unstable and impulsive animals that destroy marriages, and are likely to commit crime.
R.5 Worker productivity
Simply put-The company has little to no control what their employees do in their spare time. Therefore, the company cannot see if their workers take drugs, unless drug testing.
"Apparently, my opponent disregarded my entire morality section, and continued with his view of morality."
As I stated in the beginning of my argument, I was going to first address my opening arguments, and then my rebuttals to what my opponent had to say. This includes having my say on morality before I have even addressed what con had to say.
"Recall, on balance legalizing drugs will have a huge concern on public safety, specifically that drugs are related to crime."
Prohibition has shown to have worse effects on crime rates in numerous ways. According to the NCJRS, alcohol, while already having ties with homicide rates, prohibition only made an increase in homicide rates. According to another study conducted by CASAColumbia, more violent crime has been linked with alcohol. 21% of violent inmates were under the influence of alcohol, while only 3% had any ties to cocaine or crack, and while less than 1% had been under the influence of heroin. A study conducted by the justice policy institute found that when drug usage is met with drug treatment rather than criminal punishment, crime rates lowered 31.5% while costs to treatment increased 14% and admissions to treatment increased 37%. Many of the crimes due to drugs are related to the users in need of money to buy these drugs (more on that later).
"Also, drugs are highly addictive. Once you take them, you simply cannot let go, and it is nearly impossible to do so. It is almost similar to suicide without any help."
This is a great argument for then, also prohibiting alcohol and tobacco. Considering both substances are just as addictive, and even more addictive than some drugs. According to the data, two of the most addictive are meth and heroin, next in line would be alcohol, tobacco, crack, and cocaine, and trailing in the least addictive is marijuana, caffeine, and hallucinogens such as LSD.
"-One of the purposes to legalize drugs is to use drug trafficking money for good use
-The money will not even cover the damages to legalizing drugs!
-In the end, you had an intention to put the money to good use, yet the money will not even cover the damage"
I would like to request that my opponent shows some form of evidence, or calculation as to what these damaging costs would be to society. The estimated amount of money made from drug cartels alone is estimated up to more than $300,000,000,000. Also take into account the extra $40,000,000,000 spent on the drug war itself, and the costs of prisons crowding. That's also without mentioning the millions of people you'd be putting back into the workforce. Another study by the justice policy institute concludes that drug prevention treatment is much more cost effective than drug imprisonment.
"By my opponent"s logic, all the crime and homicide should be decriminalized due to race disparity!"
The point is that while usage rates are very similar among the races, the disparity in cases of incarceration rates, stop and frisk policies, police discrimination, ect. Is much greater.
"However, crimes such as theft or murder that drugs have played a role in."
These crimes are not because of the effects of drugs, they are due to the effects of prohibition. There have been correlations with prohibition and violent crime, and countries that enforce harsher drug laws and violent crime.
"Huge loss of jobs in America, however this time it is even more because you have made drugs legal."
Workers who are unproductive are at an economic disadvantage, and can be incentivized to get back into the job market. My opponent could make the case that since we are living in a welfare state, that is not the case and we would see more citizens on government assistance. That is where I will make the case that I do not favor drug legalization while we still have a welfare state. It is either that you have millions of prospective citizens who may or may not be either productive, unproductive, employed, or unemployed. Or that you end up with millions of citizens in prison who are costing us money and possible worker productivity.
I would also, again, like to point out what a success it's been in places such as Spain, Portugal, and the Netherlands for sensible drug policies. Usage rates have gone down, and addictions aren't as prevalent.
I would highly appreciate if my opponent sited his/her sources in a manner that is easy to understand. Due to the huge amount of sources, it is almost impossible to tell from which source my opponent is receiving his information. I suggest numbering them, or somehow listing them so it is easy for me, as well as the viewers to understand where my opponent is getting his/her information.
Also, it appears to be as if my opponent agrees with the economical downfall playing a crucial negative impact of the legalization of drugs.Along with some of the information I have presented in regards to the effect of the legalization of drugs as far as the economy is concerned on a global scale.
I would also like to point out that concerning rehabilitation centers as an effective role of the process of legalization of drugs is not an argument. It is a compromise. I personally agree that drug punishment should not be a punishment, rather it should be a cure. We can have a whole other debate in regards to the severity of drug laws, hinting that rehabilitation centers is relevant to this specific subject.
R.1 Decriminalization effects on portugal
In this section, I will focus mainly of Portugal’s drug use, as this is what my opponent is mainly referring to. Now, I would like to get a few crucial points out of the way. Decriminalization of drugs is not the sole cause of drug use, however economic, cultural, and social factors apply as well. (1) HIV, AIDS rates have also skyrocketed right after decriminalization reaching an all time high in Portugal. (2) However, the reason for the decrease is because Portugal’s society is mainly focused on the cure for drug use, rather than punishment. (3)
Now, my opponent can argue that if we were to legalize all drugs, we ought to set up numerous rehabilitation centers, in order to decrease drug use and crime. This is true, however an invalid argument, as that is a compromise not an argument. Since my opponent did not state that in the resolution, therefore his argument in regards to Portugal falls.
So, what are we left with? My opponent stated that drug induced deaths decreased after decriminalization, along with overall drug use, therefore making decriminalization affective. This is not the case as decriminalization played a very little role. The main reason for reduced drug use is Portugal focusing on how to find a cure, which is irrelevant.
R.2 Public safety
Since the title states “All Drugs should be legalized” I assumed we were referring to all current illicit drugs, disregarding the drugs that are already legal such as Alcohol or coffee. (I cannot survive 7:30am without the latter). However, Heroin, Crack Cocaine, Nicotine, and Methadone are most likely the most addictive drugs. (see full list at link).(4)
Keep in mind that many crimes tend to have criminals under the influence of drugs as I have stated previously. 24.5% of violent offenses have reported to be under the influence of drugs and 29% of murders have reported to be under the influence of drugs, both in federal prisons. (5)
Approximately 60% of the individuals arrested for most types of crimes test positive for drugs at arrest. This shows that drugs was the major contributor of the crime-if not the sole cause. (6)
R.3 Cost and economy
I apologize for the extreme generalization. However, In Canada the costs of substance abuse (including alcohol and tobacco) were calculated at 2.7 per cent of GDP (1992), with illicit drug abuse responsible for at least US$ 1.1 billion, equivalent to 0.2 per cent of GDP or US$ 40 per capita.
Most costs, 60 per cent of the total, were due to productivity losses as a result of illness and premature death. Cost of life was calculated in these estimates using the human capital approach, i.e. discounting estimated lifetime earnings. The rising cost of criminal activities is not even included.
A study for Australia estimated the costs of drug abuse (including both licit and illicit substances) to be equivalent to 4.8 per cent of GDP (1992), with costs related to illicit drug abuse amounting to $1.2 billion, i.e. 0.4 per cent of GDP or $70 per capita.42 The overall costs of substance abuse (licit and illicit) rose by less than 13 per cent between 1988 and 1992 in real terms; the increase in costs related to illicit drug consumption amounted to 25 per cent, and was thus almost twice as large.
Truly, it is highly expected to see some downfalls on the economy, based on human deaths and consumption alone. Furthermore, we are also expected to see some struggles on entering the workforce as with an estimated 30% the world's labour force not productively employed and young people seeking jobs faster than they are created, the ranks of the unemployed, and their problems, continue to increase. However, making drugs available to the public means dragging employment rates even further behind. (7)
(My previous sources were in a numerological order)
I would also like to point out that although my opponent supports the legalization of substances such as alcohol and cannabis, I am only using those as examples to extend on my points toward other substances. A lot of the points I make you will see relate more to the prohibition of alcohol, and this is because this is the most notable historical example. We have not yet found all of the answers with the prohibition of drugs, because we have not legalized them, and analyzing it is a much more difficult task than analyzing the historical trends involved during alcohol prohibition.
1. The Iron Law of Prohibition:
The iron law of prohibition is a term coined by Richard Cowan in 1986 which posits that as law enforcement becomes more intense, the potency of prohibited substances increases (1). The potency of narcotics, cocaine, alcohol, and marijuana increased significantly after the enactment of prohibition. In the United States during the past century, opium was virtually replaced by morphine and, later, morphine by heroin. The original Coca-Cola contained small concentrations of cocaine. Today cocaine is sold in the form of a high-potency powder or as concentrated nuggets called
crack. During Prohibition, consumption of beer plummeted, and consumption of distilled spirits and moonshine increased. The potency of marijuana increased several hundred percent after a "prohibitive" tax was enacted in 1937. Synthetic narcotics and combinations of drugs, such as "speedball" (heroin and cocaine) or "moonshot" (crack cocaine and PCP), have been introduced (2).
2. The alternatives:
My opponent made the case that me mentioning the rehabilitation centers was not an argument, but a compromise. My point in laying out the alternatives is not what should be done, but what could be done. So I will note that there can be alternatives to drug prohibition, and it is likely that they could arise in the event that drugs were to become legal.
All my other points can be found in my previous arguments, and I'd like to give my opponent a final thank you for accepting my challenge and making this an excellent debate.
2. Thorton, Mark. "The Potency of Illegal Drugs." The Economics of Prohibition. 89-90. Print.
I also would like to apologize for such a late response. I am not going to go too much into rebuttals, as I have already done so in the previous round. However, I will bring up one quick point.
Potency does not equal necessary equal usage. This my opponent’s closing remarks, and I will also have a couple of points for the conclusion. The definition of potency is the power to affect the mind or body, not necessarily equals usage.
Now it is true that riots have been made due to some degree of prohibition of alcohol (1). And if done on a national scale, the riots would be catastrophic. However, that is one of the reasons NOT to legalize drugs. If drugs are legalized, there is no going back. Even the slightest prohibition may lead to absolute turmoil within the riot crowds, and they may be even larger. Mainly because drugs such as cocaine and meth are highly addictive and if there is a slight prohibition, there is going to be serious anger.
It is best if we do not present drugs in the public solely for that reason. However, my economic and federal standpoints in regards to GDP, worker productivity, cost and crime still stand.
My closing remarks are that taking all these points in mind (economic and federal standpoints in regards to GDP, worker productivity, cost and crime) along with a huge possibility of social decay, drugs are best to stay illegal. However, I agree that drug laws should be toned down and we should be looking for a cure. Again, as I stated before that would be a compromise to legalization. Or if my opponent puts it “an alternative”.
This has been a pleasure debating with my opponent, and I wish him best of luck. I have learned quite a lot, and hopefully my opponent has too. However, I encourage to the audience not to take drugs!
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