The Instigator
dtaylor971
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
emj32
Pro (for)
Winning
3 Points

Drug Legalization

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
emj32
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/14/2013 Category: Health
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,426 times Debate No: 42369
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (5)
Votes (1)

 

dtaylor971

Con

First round for acceptance only, but I would like to set the ground rules for this debate.

Drugs will be referred to as Marijuana, Heroin, Cocaine, etc.

Legalization will be referred to as the lagalization of currently illegal drugs.

Round 1: Acceptance
Round 2: Arguments
Round 3: Arguments/Rebuttals
Round 4: Rebuttals and polishing.

Good luck.
emj32

Pro

I accept the debate and agree to Con's terms and definitions.
Debate Round No. 1
dtaylor971

Con

Thank you for accepting. I looked at some of your debates and I see you are a very good opponent. Let's go.

Before I argue, I will name five illegal drugs and what they do [1]:

Marijuana- Changes personality, looks, and traits. A person who used it said that it did change their personality while high.
Heroin- Damages immune system, increases chances of getting AIDS, has high chance of fatal overdose [2].
Cocaine- Triggers part of brain responsible for addictive behavior [3], restricts blood to the heart, causes weight loss, and causes multiple respiratory problems.
Meth- Destroys physical appearance (including teeth, face, and arms) due to it cutting off blood flow to the organs.
LCD- SEVERELY changes mood [4], causes hallunciations, lack of sleep and appetite, and in some cases, like all of the above (except marijuana), death.

These are also the base facts I will be using in my arguments. I don't want to have repeat links, so I will not post a [1] or a [4] after every fact. Just look up here to see what link my facts came from.

Now, I will argue for these five drugs and why they should not be legal.

Why marijuana should not be legal
Marijuana is borderline legal, and I could personally (weakly) debate for either side. While marijuana has never killed anyone, but it does have some side effects. The first one I would like to focus on is how it changes the brain. Marijuana messes with two important concepts of a human: balance and memory [5]. Marijuana severely can cause loss of memory and an unstable balance, both mentally and physically. The mental way it messes with your balance is that it leans you over to depression instead of happiness. A normal balance is sometimes happy, sometimes sad. But marijuana throws off that by a ton, making you depressed more and more often. Physically, it can throw of your sense of balance, making you dizzy and hurting your inner ear capability.

Now onto personality. Marijuana, like other drugs, can screw you over mentally. Up to 30% of users [5 also] report dealing with anxiety shortly after marijuana use, making it one of the most common side effects. Anxiety can cause distrust, which means you are unable to receive help because you do not trust someone to do something. Also, it makes you weird. Really weird. It gives you seemingly very real but not real hallucinations. This is also one way it robs you of sleep, as you probably can't go to bed while thinking about the Easter bunny and Jessica Alba on a beach (this debate needs some humor.)

Why heroin should not be legal
Since we are off of the marijuana train, I can start using death stats to prove my point. Heroin is much more serious than marijuana, and is sometimes used because of the addictive personalities of marijuana. It is also somewhat like marijuana, as it eases pain.
That's where the good stuff ends. Other than relieving pain, it doesn't do anything good for you. It destroys your body inside and out. Due to the fact that it damages the veins, it affects the lungs and heart. That causes fatal things such as lung disorders and heart disease. If you are lucky enough to not get these, there are still other ways involving the veins that it destroys your body.
Heroin can decrease heart rate, which is linked to an irregular heartbeat. It also makes you feel warm and very sick due to the fact that it shrinks blood vessels [6].
Is this all fatal? The answer is yes. While the things I named can kill you, the main threat is actually overdose. Heroin enters your bloodstream very quickly, severely increasing the chances of an overdose. While I can not find USA stats, I did find a smaller sample size. In the past two years, 310 people in St. Louis have been killed by overdoses of heroin [7]. The U.S.A numbers are probably much, much larger.

Why cocaine should not be legal
Cocaine is as deadly as any other illegal drug. It also has severe side effects. In my opinion (from what I've read) cocaine is the most addictive drug, the one responsible for triggering the addictive part of your brain. This leads the path to other addictive drugs. Not only does it trigger a bad part of your brain, but it also causes paranoia [8]. Also, when you come off the drug, you often feel depressed and suicidal. With suicide already killing over 900,000 in the world [9], it's not like we need any more of that.
What does cocaine actually do in the long run? It cuts off circulation to the heart, which increases the chances of death. What happens is the blood clots, making it impossible for the heart to pump blood. This causes about 10,000 deaths annually in the U.S alone [10]. The other thing cocaine does is makes you lose touch with reality [11]. This causes you to constantly live in a fantasy world and have no sense of any dangers in the real world whatsoever. This also kills people.

I don't want to overwhelm you (or myself :P), so I will do the last two drugs in the second round.

Thank you for reading!


[1] http://listverse.com...
[2] http://www.stopheroin.net...
[3] http://www.businessinsider.com...
[4] http://www.drugfreeworld.org...
[5] http://www.businessinsider.com...
[6] http://www.drugabuse.gov...
[7] http://www.redding.com...
[8] http://baysidemarin.crchealth.com...
[9] http://www.worldometers.info...
[10] http://www.indepthprogram.com...
[11] http://www.drugabuse.gov...





emj32

Pro

1) INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS AND LEGALITY

Humans have the inalienable rights to insert whatever drug they want into their body, however method they please, and should be able to do so without government restriction. The War on Drugs is infringing on our rights to

"life, to health, to due process and a fair trial, to be free from torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, from slavery, and from discrimination.[1]"

This directly infringes our rights outlined in the Declaration of Independence, Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the U.S. Constitution. This also infringes with the non-aggression principle, more specifically the right to self-ownership[2]. If non-violent drug users are not hurting anybody else, we should not be sending them to jail for months, and even years.

The U.S War on Drugs is also unconstitutional. Alcohol prohibition required a constitutional amendment, why doesn't prohibition of marijuana, or other illicit drugs? This violates the 10th amendment of the United States Constitution, giving states, or the people, powers not granted to the federal government. The War on Drugs also violates the Substantive Due Process of the 5th and 14th amendments[3].

2) VIOLENCE AND DRUG CARTELS

The War on Drugs has left Mexico in ruins. The overall conflict has left 55,000 people, including 3,000 soldiers and police officers, dead[4]. This statistic doesn't even include the 5,000 people missing[4]. The black market economy of drug sales is estimated by the U.N. to be worth $60 billion dollars annually, with Mexican cartels bringing in about $39 billion per year[4]. The Drug War has also lead to uncontrollable corruption, with top cartel members paying off top anti-drug officials, local police, and top prison officials[4]. The Justice Department also estimates Drug Cartels operate in over 1,286 U.S. cities, with over 850 trucks crossing into the U.S. from Mexico everyday.[4] Summarized by Jeffrey Miron, economics professor at Harvard University, he says

"Prohibition of drugs corrupts politicians and law enforcement by putting police, prosecutors, judges and politicians in the position to threaten the profits of an illicit trade. This is why bribery, threats and kidnapping are common for prohibited industries but rare otherwise. Mexico's recent history illustrates this dramatically."[5]

3) INEFFICIENCY OF THE WAR ON DRUGS

The War on Drugs has cost over $1 trillion dollars, but has it really worked[6]?









The charts I have shown demonstrate the inefficiency of the U.S War on Drugs to deter drug use.[6][7] Deaths and Emergency room visits have skyrocketed, despite spending going up every year. Also, arrests for marijuana possession have increased almost every year, despite immense spending from the government to try to deter use.



This chart shows that the price of cocaine and heroin have gone down substantially over the past couple decades[6]. Also, with Marijuana becoming cheaper[7], and with 90% of 12th graders saying marijuana is 'easy to obtain'[7], the overall goal of prohibition to limit the accessibility of drugs has failed greatly. The United Nations has also estimated opiate, cocaine, and cannabis use has increased 34.5%, 27%, and 8.5% since last decade, respectively[1] As explained by Art Carden[8]

"The demand curve for drugs is extremely inelastic, meaning that people don’t change their drug consumption very much in response to changes in prices."

"Prohibition means that drug sellers have more money to buy guns, pay bribes, fund the dealers, and even research and develop new technologies in drug delivery (like crack cocaine). It’s hard to beat an enemy that gets stronger the more you strike against him or her"

HIV/HEPATITIS OUTBREAK

The War on Drugs has also led to an outbreak in HIV and Hepatitis cases. As explained by Jeffrey Miron[5]

"Drug users face restrictions on clean syringes that cause them to share contaminated needles, thereby spreading HIV, hepatitis and other blood-borne diseases."

More specifically, 32.000 people are directly infected with HIV/AIDS or Hepatitis C because prohibition isn't allowing drug users access to clean syringes[9]

ECONOMIC BENEFITS & PRISON COSTS

The Budgetary Impact of Ending Drug Prohibition, explained by Jeffrey Miron, has concluded that[10]

-The Legalization of Drugs would save $41.3 billion dollars every year, with $25.7 billion of the savings coming from state/local government, and $15.6 dollars savings coming from the federal government.
-The Legalization of Drugs would also yield tax revenue of $46.7 billion, which could be used on prevention programs, rehabilitation processes, hospitals, roads, schools, etc.

Over 40 years of this War on Drugs, taxpayers have spent[11]

• $20 billion to fight the drug gangs in their home countries. In Colombia, for example, the United States spent more than $6 billion, while coca cultivation increased and trafficking moved to Mexico - and the violence along with it.

• $33 billion in marketing "Just Say No"-style messages to America's youth and other prevention programs. High school students report the same rates of illegal drug use as they did in 1970, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says drug overdoses have "risen steadily" since the early 1970s to more than 20,000 last year.

• $49 billion for law enforcement along America's borders to cut off the flow of illegal drugs. This year, 25 million Americans will snort, swallow, inject and smoke illicit drugs, about 10 million more than in 1970, with the bulk of those drugs imported from Mexico.

• $121 billion to arrest more than 37 million non violent drug offenders, about 10 million of them for possession of marijuana. Studies show that jail time tends to increase drug abuse.

• $450 billion to lock those people up in federal prisons alone. Last year, half of all federal prisoners in the U.S. were serving sentences for drug offenses.

As you can see in the statistics, over 40 years, 37 million non violent people have been arrested for simple using drugs. We should be using our resources on criminals who are actually harming other people.

RACISM

The Federal War on Drugs has racial discrimination to minorities. Although whites and minorities use and sell drugs at similar rates, 67%(2/3) of incarcerated drug offenders in state prisons are minorities[9]. Also, despite government studies showing African-Americans using cannabis at lower rates than whites, African-Americans were arrested in California at 300% the rate of whites for possession. [7]


I apologize for the long argument. I'd put more but that would that wouldn't be appropriate. I'll save some my other arguments for the next round if they seem fit. I will now allow my opponent to construct his arguments.


Sources

1.http://www.globalcommissionondrugs.org......

2.http://wiki.mises.org......

3.http://www.redlichlaw.com......

4 http://www.businessinsider.com......

5.http://www.cnn.com......

6 http://transform-drugs.blogspot.com......

7 http://www.icsdp.org......

8 http://www.forbes.com......#

9 http://www.drugpolicy.org......

10 http://www.cato.org......

11 http://www.cbsnews.com......
Debate Round No. 2
dtaylor971

Con



Wow. That's the best argument I've seen in weeks. Nice.

"Humans have the inalienable rights to insert whatever drug they want into their body, however method they please, and should be able to do so without government restriction. "
No, they actually should not. What the government is doing is saving us from harms way. And once you do it, it is not a choice to keep doing it or to stop it. It is really addictive. Once you do, you are hooked. You can't just do it a few times and then just lay off. And in severe cases it gets so addictive, you would LITERALLY do anything to get more. Below is a passage from an article [1]:

"There have been cases of mothers selling their child, professionals spending thousands of dollars on binges costing from $20,000 to $50,000. Some may lose their jobs, families, become bankrupt, and even die.
"


"life, to health, to due process and a fair trial, to be free from torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, from slavery, and from discrimination.[1]"
...How have ANY (besides slavery) of those things ever worked? We have:
*Death Penalty (inhumane treatment)
*LWOP (No trial)
*Racial remarks everywhere (discrimination)

May I also point out that drugs CAUSES torture AND destroys your life and health, which is two violations of that amendment.

"If non-violent drug users are not hurting anybody else, we should not be sending them to jail for months, and even years."
Not about the jail time, that is a whole separate debate there. We are talking about the legalization of drugs, and I don't see how jail has anything to do with this. Please explain in better context.

The rest of your first argument has to do with the amendments. We literally violate the amendments every single day. And we don't even know it:

*No-Fly Lists: Points out who can and can't fly. That is not freedom but is necessary.
*The ENTIRE fourth amendment...
*NSA spying

"The War on Drugs has left Mexico in ruins."
I'm not arguing about the War on Drugs, just if they should be legalized. I'm sorry if you got confused, but that isn't the point of this whole debate.

"The overall conflict has left 55,000 people, including 3,000 soldiers and police officers, dead[4]"
If 10,000 people a year are dying from something that is rarely taken, then imagine how high those numbers would skyrocket. The 58,000 people dead would almost surely be surpassed within a year if the drugs were legalized. The War on Drugs is not as failed as many people think it is. For example, drugs are about as addictive as smoking [G1]:


And smoking kills 5 million people PER YEAR [2]. Cocaine and heroin, the two drugs further up there, would kill five million as well, likely. The other 17 drugs on there would probably kill millions more. Smoking is an example of an average drug. And people are trying to ban it. Also look at the fact that tobacco is actually not that big of a physical harm on that list. That is freakin' scary...

"The War on Drugs has cost over $1 trillion dollars, but has it really worked[6]?"
Compared to smoking, it has. It may not have worked as well as people thought it would, but it is still doing stuff. Also, your graph on that further proves my point. If drugs were made legal, those numbers would skyrocket. Do we really want that? Also, people would spend a load of money on drugs each year. Like smoking, it can make you bankrupt because it costs so much and you need it so badly.

"Deaths and Emergency room visits have skyrocketed, despite spending going up every year."
I love that. "Deaths and emergency room visits." That's just what drugs can do to you.
Also, of course drugs are going up. On your first graph, it stated that 12 people per 100,000 die. That means per the net population growth rate of 80,000,000 [3], there are about 9,600 new users per year. So it isn't going up as high as you think it is.
The last thing I would like to say is that the numbers aren't going down because of addiction. It is so addictive you can't quit it without heavy help and rehabilitation.

"More specifically, 32.000 people are directly infected with HIV/AIDS or Hepatitis C because prohibition isn't allowing drug users access to clean syringes[9]"
Ok... just wow. You stated earlier that it is their choice if they want to use drugs, so they are "choosing" to get infected with AIDS. You must think they know the risks and decide to do it anyway. Plus, do you know how dumb that actually sounds?! If you gave drug users clean needles, it would be insane! Numbers would rise by a ton. That is a necessary movement. Also, as I stated in the second round, drugs can weaken your immune system, thus giving you a higher chance to get HIV/AIDS. If it was legal, then the numbers would be higher than 32,000 people.

"-The Legalization of Drugs would save $41.3 billion dollars every year, with $25.7 billion of the savings coming from state/local government, and $15.6 dollars savings coming from the federal government. "
May I correct you? Save the government money. It would bankrupt people at an alarming rate.

"• $20 billion to fight the drug gangs in their home countries. In Colombia, for example, the United States spent more than $6 billion, while coca cultivation increased and trafficking moved to Mexico - and the violence along with it."
Yes, but taxpayers annually spend 11.26 million dollars every hour against actual fighting wars alone, such as in Afghanistan. That means it would take Americans just 75 days of payment to equal the war on drugs. And that is just war taxes alone. 20 billion seems like a ton, but it actually is not. That goes for all of your next arguments about money.

"37 million non violent people have been arrested for simple using drugs."
So you are stating we need to be violent to go to jail? That is not the case. The government is saving us from ourselves here, and giving us a worthy punishment of our actions.

"The Federal War on Drugs has racial discrimination to minorities. Although whites and minorities use and sell drugs at similar rates, 67%(2/3) of incarcerated drug offenders in state prisons are minorities[9]. Also, despite government studies showing African-Americans using cannabis at lower rates than whites, African-Americans were arrested in California at 300% the rate of whites for possession. [7]"
Yeah, like drugs is the main reason for discrimination. That could mean anything. Maybe it means that whites are better than getting away than minorities, there is no simple way to know what it means.

Since I have wasted about 7,000 characters arguing against you, I will keep my arguments short and to the point.

We already have sample sizes of drugs, such as smoking and alcohol. Alcohol kills up to 26,000 per year in the U.S.A alone [4]. This compares to some of the "lesser" drugs, which are not cocaine and heroin [G2]:


As you can see, if we legalized drugs, a ton of people would become dependent on it.

Due to the fact that it is the third round, I did not post a big argument in hopes that you would do the same. Thank you for reading.

Summarizing my argument so far;
-Addiction
-Death rates
-Comparisons to alcohol
-What it does to you
-Foreseeing what would happen if drugs were legalized
_____________________________________________________________
Sources:

[1] http://www.medicalnewstoday.com...

[2] http://www.cdc.gov...
[3] http://www.worldometers.info...
[4] http://www.cdc.gov...

Graph websites:
[G1] http://www.medicalnewstoday.com...
[G2] http://www.drugwarfacts.org...

emj32

Pro

I'd like to thank my opponent for participating in this debate. A lot of great information flowing.

Before I go into more of my arguments and refuting my opponent's, I'd like to preface a few misconceptions before I continue.

"I'm not arguing about the War on Drugs, just if they should be legalized. I'm sorry if you got confused, but that isn't the point of this whole debate."

You essentially are. If you are arguing all these illicit drugs should remain illegal; you are arguing the current War on Drugs, and the draconian laws concerning penalties to those purchasing and consuming these drugs, should remain intact.

"Not about the jail time, that is a whole separate debate there."

It absolutely is about jail time. You even said we're talking about the legalization of drugs. If we continue to keep these drugs illegal, we continue to feed the corrupt prison system at unprecedented rates. I won't go too deep into this right now, that'll be one of my arguments later on.

Opponent's Arguments

My opponent summarizes his core arguments at the end of his around as following: "Addiction, Death Rates, Comparisons to Alcohol, What it does to you, Foreseeing the future as it pertains to drug legalization". I'll be combining the first 4 as the potency and harm of drugs, and dealing with the last one individually.


1) Potency, Death, Addiction of Illicit Drugs

The core argument of my opponent is that these drugs cause so much short term, long term, and irreversible damage to your body, legalizing them would cause unprecedented damage to society. When I, and many other people that argue what I do, argue about legalizing drugs, the issue isn't about the drugs themselves, but about the effect keeping them illegal is doing to the world. The role of law enforcement in this country is to primarily protect people against the violent and illegal acts of other people. Summarized by LEAP(Law Enforcement Against Prohibition) founder Peter Christ,

"Law Enforcement was designed by a guy by the name of Robert Peel over in London, England in the early 1800s. He designed an organization of law enforcement that would protect people from other people doing them harm. When you institute a prohibition like we have with this country, what you are doing is not protecting people from other people, you are attempting to use law enforcement to protect people from themselves. Protecting you from yourself is a function of family, church, education, and the health care system, it never is, and never should of intended to be, a law enforcement function. We are out there enforcing morality, and that is not our job."[1]

When we are protecting people from conscious decisions they made themselves, that is an impossible task our law system was never intended to do. And as you see by the charts and statistics I provided in my previous round, the prohibitions system(War on Drugs) we have instituted in this country has not only failed it's mission, it has exacerbated it.


Nobody is arguing drugs are great and should be used, that's a misconception people have about arguments concerning legalizing drugs. What we are arguing is that we should not be spending a trillion dollars on a failed system that is systematically imprisoning hundreds of thousands of people. Yes, cocaine and heroin are terrible drugs that should be taught(not enforced) to not be taken. However, the potency/harmful nature of the drugs are irrelevant to the bigger overall picture. We should be helping these people, not imprisoning them.

2) Legalization would increase users

You seem to make the unfounded claim numerous times that legalizing these drugs would skyrocket use. However, you never once linked a scientific, proven case that the legalization of these drugs would increase the use of them dramatically. Your last sentence even said "As you can see, if we legalized drugs, a ton of people would become dependent on it.". What evidence do you have for that. I would argue the opposite. Peter Christ summarizes the point perfectly

"How many people do you know don't use cocaine because they can't get it? None. Acquiring the drug is not what makes people decide to get it."[1]

Viewing the statistics I linked last round; drugs are so cheap, widespread available, and easy to obtain, the legal status of using them has no impact on whether a person will use it or not. If you are firm in your position to use cocaine or heroin, it being illegal isn't going to change anything. If Heroin becomes illegal tomorrow dtaylor, will you use it? No, because you know the harmful effects and the dangerous toxicity of it, and you will most likely become heavily addicted and dependent on it. That is the case for all people. If you are going to use it, you will find a way to use it, no matter what the legal status of it is.

Arguments

All of my other previous arguments stand, but I have one more to include, as I didn't want my last round to be too long.
The main premise of the argument will be: Legalizing Drugs, with the combined effort of education, prevention, and rehabilitation, will decrease use and repeat use far more efficiently than our current system.

The Global Commission on Drug Policy, a 19 member commission made up of former presidents, ministers, drug policy leaders, etc., concluded that[2]


-The factors that influence an individual's decision to start using drugs have more to do with fashion, peer influence, and social/economic context, than with the drug's legal status, risk of detection, or government prevention messages
-The factors that contribute to the development of problematic or dependent patterns of use have more to do with childhood trauma or neglect, harsh living conditions, social marginalization, and emotional problems, rather than moral weakness or hedonism.

As we see here, the government's approval/disapproval of drug use has nothing to do as to whether or not people want to use them. Instead of wasting hundreds of billions of dollars on failed policy, we should be educating kids on the dangers and effects of the illicit drugs, and parents on how to raise a successful kid in a nurturing, careful environment that stresses the risks of drugs and peer pressure.


I would also like to point out the vast differences between rehabilitating drug users, and throwing them in jail. These examples show that jail time for drug users does nothing to deter use, but instead increases it.

-The Rockefeller drug law imposes a 15-year-to-life jail sentence for anyone in possession of four or more ounces of narcotics. Since this was equal to second-degree murder, many thought the law would work great, right? Wrong. Not only did drug convictions increase, but recidivism rates(likelihood of someone re-entering jail for the same crime) significantly increased.[3]

People who received drug rehabilitation instead of jail time:[3]

-Were re-arrested within a 12 month period 18% less of the time
-Were convicted of a crime 23% less of the time
-Received a new sentence within a 12 month period 21% less of the time
-Of 840,000 prisoners needing drug treatment, only about 150,000 actually got the treatment before being released. Joseph Califano, who served under president Jimmy Carter, commented on this statistic[3]

Now lets look at several European countries that took different approaches to the drug problem.


1) Switzerland implemented a new set of policies and programs, some of which included heroin substitution programs, which focused on public health rather than criminalization in the 1980s. These programs proved to be tremendously successful: It substantially reduced consumption and demand amongst the heaviest users, reduced property crimes by up to 90% amongst users in the program, and removed local addicts and dealers.[2]

2)The UK found charges brought against 1,500 drug users that entered treatment was reduced by 48%[2]

3)The Netherlands implement Large-scale, low-threshold drug treatment and harm reduction programs, and sometimes even prescribe heroin under strict conditions. Because of this, the Netherlands have the lowest amount of heroin users, have no now influx of new or problematic users, and found that medical heroin reduces crime and increases positive effects on the health of people struggling with addiction. [2]

4)When Portugal decriminalized drugs, and treated drug users as health patients instead of criminals, problematic users dropped by 50%. Much of this success is also attributable to "confluence of treatment and drug reduction policies".[4]


Sorry for the long round, if you cannot respond to it all I understand. Thanks for the opportunity to debate this with me.


Sources

[1] youtube.com/watch?v=W8yYJ_oV6xk
[2] http://www.globalcommissionondrugs.org...
[3] http://www.rehabinfo.net...
[4] http://www.forbes.com...
Debate Round No. 3
dtaylor971

Con

I would like to thank my opponent for doing a great job in this debate and taking the time to debate against me.

I will start off with some rebuttals.

"but about the effect keeping them illegal is doing to the world."
And my argument is about what making them legal would do to the world. I have gone to three main points: addiction, long-term consequences, and death. Here's an example of addiction, and an example of a drug user [1]:

'"Later, I was hanging out at a friend’s house smoking marijuana when someone pulled out a bag of cocaine. Snorting cocaine quickly became a daily habit. I was stealing money from my parents’ business and from my grandparents on a daily basis to support my alcohol, cocaine, marijuana and LSD habits. Then I was introduced to oxycontin and began using it on a regular basis. By the time I realized I was addicted, snorting OxyContin was part of my daily routine. I needed something stronger—and was introduced to
heroin. I would stop at nothing to get high. My addiction was winning. And every time I tried to kick it, the physical craving would send me back for more.”' —Edith

This would happen much more often. That is an example of a normal drug user, not even a severe one.

"However, the potency/harmful nature of the drugs are irrelevant to the bigger overall picture. We should be helping these people, not imprisoning them."
It is in no way irrelevant. Keeping drugs illegal is at least reducing the internal injuries and the external injuries. Also, yes, we should be helping people who go on drugs. But that is a change we can make while making drugs illegal. We don't have to legalize drugs to get people help. We could reduce the prison sentences and increase rehabilitation for softer users, all while keeping drugs illegal. So in conclusion, we can improve the overall picture without making drugs legal.

"What evidence do you have for that?"
The evidence I have for that are the two graphs marking dependency on it. Nicotine and heroin are worse than alcohol in my graph, so I compared them to it. Alcohol users become dependent on what they drink. Before the legalization of alcohol, users were down 50%. Then, they skyrocketed by 50% [2]. And since the graph I showed you marks that it is reliable to compare alcohol to drugs, my point is proven. Just in case, let's go further into the stats of alcohol:
During prohibition... [2]
Hospital visits due to alcohol declined from 10.1 to 4.7
Arrests between 1916 and 1922 due to alcohol dropped by 50%
Consumption of alcohol, by best estimates, dropped by up to 50%

Now, after legalization, alcohol users increased. Today, as most of us know, alcohol causes 20,000+ car accidents every year. Is it really worth the price there?

"I would also like to point out the vast differences between rehabilitating drug users, and throwing them in jail."
As I stated earlier, we could do all of those things without legalizing drugs. This is an error on the governments' part, and yes, should be changed. But it doesn't support your argument due to the fact that it could be done without legalizing drugs. This goes for your next four arguments about the countries.

Also, the long round was entirely acceptable. I had a ton of fun rebutting it.

So now, I will polish up my arguments. And sum them up.

What drugs do to you long-term: Drugs can ruin your life mentally, physically, and financially. For mentally, I pointed out that rugs screw with your mind and disables your ability to think straight. Physically, drugs can cause many diseases, and death. Financially, you need more and more money to get drugs, which means you end up spending all of your money, and cripples your life.

What the legalization of drugs would do: I compared drugs to alcohol and smoking, supported by my two graphs in the third round. I showed that users would go up significantly through the legalization of alcohol.

What we can do while keeping drugs illegal: My opponent stated many problems with the current system of drugs. But we can increase rehab and decrease jail time to a better amount while still keeping drugs illegal. I also pointed out that we are only costing the taxpayers a small portion of money by the war of drugs, even if it seems like a lot.

I would like to add one more thing. Once you do cocaine, or any other drug, you're hooked. It's a known fact [3]. From 8th grade to tenth grade to 12th grade, here are the numbers:
% of eighth graders that have used cocaine in the last month: 0.50 Tenth: 0.80 Twelfth: 1.10
The numbers climb significantly over time. This proves my point of once you do it, you're hooked.

I would like to thank my opponent for a wonderful debate. Thank you!

[1] http://www.drugfreeworld.org...
[2] http://www.nytimes.com...
[3] http://www.drugabuse.gov...
emj32

Pro

I'd like to thank my opponent for the debate. Hopefully the readers find this interesting, as both of us have put in a good amount of time to make this a resourceful debate.

The story of Edith is quite sad, however there isn't any background information to help me diagnose his problem. Why did he not tell his parents? How did his parents not notice his difference in physical, mental, and emotional behavior caused by these heavy illicit drugs? How did any of his other friends, adults at school, or any other people in his life not notice his drastic change in lifestyle? I think this problem was due to more of a lack of outside help and an unhealthy environment than the actual drugs themselves.

Also, part of the reason Edith might of been so addicted is because without drugs being legalized and regulated, regular drugs are being condensed and added with more potent chemicals, increasing the addictiveness and power of the drugs. This, in return, adds to the demand of the average consumer. Part of the Iron Law of Probation, examples can be seen from both the prohibition era and the War on Drugs[1]

-Bootleggers and crime syndicates back in the Prohibition era gave up on regular beer in favor of more potent whisky and moonshine.
-Cartels today are abandoning the regular powder cocaine substances in favor of crack pellets(crack cocaine).

If Drugs were legalized by the government, the toxicity, pureness, and density of the product can be strictly regulated and managed by licensed professionals to ensure production doesn't get out of hand.

Alcohol usage during Prohibition

My opponent claims usage of alcohol significantly decreased over the course of Prohibition's existence. Although there was a steady drop during the first few years, usage quickly increased every year after the last dip in usage.[2] Production and distribution of alcohol also rapidly increased despite increased resources to fight it[2]. Prohibition also showed the exact same unintended consequences that the War on Drugs is showing[3]

"Alcohol became more dangerous to consume; crime increased and became “organized”; the court and prison systems were stretched to the breaking point; and corruption of public officials was rampant. No measurable gains were made in productivity or reduced absenteeism. Prohibition removed a significant source of tax revenue and greatly increased government spending."

Conclusion


I'll be summarizing and polishing up my main arguments

1) Individual Rights and Legality: My opponent never really refuted this point, other than saying the government has a responsibility to protect us from ourselves, which is false. We have inalienable rights to put whatever we want into our bodies, no matter how healthy or harmful the substance is, without government interference. He also never refuted any of my examples on how the War on Drugs directly conflicts the U.S. Constitution. The War on Drugs is a system that is in clear conflict with our basic human rights, and our U.S. Constitutional rights.

2) Violence and Drug Cartels: My opponent confused this point. He thought that when I meant 58000 have died so far in Mexico, he thought I meant by drugs. Those people have died within a short amount of time by the violence and viciousness of the Drug Cartels. Innocent people, Mexican law enforcement, and governmental bodies are systematically being murdered for being vocally against the cartels, or impeding profits. The cartels will not stop their body of work unless we legalize illicit drugs and regulate them safely, and put the profits in the hands of U.S. governmental bodies that can put them to programs that benefit society. Also, with cartels increasingly working their way into U.S. cities(see statistic in previous rounds), it's a matter of time before Mexico's frightening reality hits the very streets in which we live.

3) Inefficiency of the War on Drugs: The statistics I have provided show no correlation between increased spending on illicit drug prohibition and decreased usage. Despite over $1 trillion dollars spent trying to deter rampart illicit drug use, the amount of people using only increases. Paired with increased deaths, increased availability, and cheaper prices; the War on Drugs is dramatically adding to our national deficit without any positive results to show for it.

4) Economic Benefits & Prison Costs: Despite being the self-proclaimed "land of the free", America has the largest prison system in the world, even dwarfing the prison populations of China and Russia. The cost of housing all these prisoners, plus the cost of financing this disastrous war, is astounding. Locking up drug users, who are causing no harm to any other human being due to their actions, is wrong on an economic and moral scale. If we legalize, regulate, and tax the sale of illicit drugs, the government could not only save money from decreasing prison costs, but generate billions of dollars in revenue. Instead of that money being made by the illegal, crime riddled cartels, that money can be put to use by the government. That money can go to construction, school costs, scholarships, and prevention and rehabilitation systems. Instead of convicted drug users not being able to get jobs, college funds/scholarships, or other basic human privileges, we can help turn their lives around for the better and return them to normal lives.

5) Benefits of Legalization: My opponent ignored the failure of the Rockefeller Laws, and the extreme success of several European systems, in which large-scale prevention and rehabilitation focused measures were taken over our current draconian system of fines, prison time, and the removal of basic human rights.

Thank you for debating this with me, and thank any viewer who took the time to read this. If you feel inclined too, please vote on who you think did the better job at arguing their side.

Sources
1) http://sites.bergen.org...
2) http://object.cato.org...
3) http://www.cato.org...
Debate Round No. 4
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by tylergraham95 2 years ago
tylergraham95
@dtaylor it's not plagiarism if he's copy pasting his own words.
Furthermore, COMIC SANS!!!!!!!!!
Posted by TUF 2 years ago
TUF
I have a hard time getting on board with the racism point, in reference to the resolution. Will racism really be helped at all with the legalization of drugs, or will ignorant people just find another reason to be ignorant?

The strongest parts of Emj"s case were definitely the "Violence and Drug Cartels" and the "in-efficiency of the war on drugs".

RFD:

First off this was an amazing debate, congratulations to both the debaters for an outstanding performance.

I am going Arguments in favor of EMJ here. I felt the original lack of impacts were never really filled throughout the debate. Dtaylor focused on the same points and carried them throughout the rounds, but in the end they lacked sufficient enough evidence for me to see why Emj"s statistics, evidence, and remaining impacts should be ignored. Dtaylors arguments were based on conceptual principal, while Emj"s contained reasoning based off hard reason, logic, and evidence.

Emj"s presentation was a lot more professional, well structured, and forthright. I found some holes in his case, but in the end I think that his had less than Dtaylors did, such that the scale tips in his favor.

I hope my RFD doesn't come off as too harsh; Both debaters did amazing and I feel educationally enlightened from such a great debate! Thanks for the opportunity to read this. :)
Posted by TUF 2 years ago
TUF
Debate:

My feelings of Dtaylors R1 was that his points (while containing accurate information) didn"t completely fill the purpose of the final conclusion they were meant for. To be specific: The points demonstrated the harms of these drugs, but didn"t list them as reasons why they should be illegal. For example: Is the side effect of having weird dreams important enough to make it illegal? What political bearing would such an argument hold if this were a real supreme court trying to make the decision? I liked the approach he took with listing the side effects, but I think they should have been focused more. For example, there are many things that are legal that can produce the same results. Dtaylor could have really used this to emphasize how drugs are worse, or even how alcohol and other legal substances that have the same effects, shouldn"t be legal as well, and making drugs legal will only worsen the problem. There were a lot of impacts that could have been tagged in his case, that simply were not utilized.

Likewise, I feel that EMJ could have strengthed his impact behind the "individual rights and legality" point. He had a lot of great sources showing what laws they violated. However, it might have helped his case a bit to have added why upholding the constitutional principles to their core value, is important. Maybe in his own words, define how such "legal" violations harmed the integrity of the country to the point where this point should be valued as a serious contention.

The HIV/Hepatitis outbreak point, seemed like a slippery slope to me. Is the problem here really the concept of illegal drugs, or just a minor revision of a rather silly policy within the overall law? This is something I would have removed entirely out of the argument.
Posted by dtaylor971 2 years ago
dtaylor971
That is plagiarism. You need to ACTUALLY debate me!
Posted by emj32 2 years ago
emj32
Just a note to dtaylor971 and the viewers: I copy/pasted my argument from a previous debate I participated in on this subject, as typing 8000 characters on basically the same thing, but different wording, would be a huge waste of time. Although Con is focusing on the different drugs in particular, the premise of my argument remains the same. If you replace "War on Drugs" with "The illegal status of marijuana, cocaine, heroin, meth, and LCD", the core of my argument doesn't change. While Con is focusing specifically on the individual effects of each drug, I'm focusing more on the War that envelops them all. Just a quick side-note that I forgot to put on my first round.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by TUF 2 years ago
TUF
dtaylor971emj32Tied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments. Wow. just want to say again, this was a fantastic debate... Very educational, and enlightening.