The Instigator
LaissezFaire
Pro (for)
Winning
23 Points
The Contender
Beccles
Con (against)
Losing
1 Points

Drug Legalization

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/22/2010 Category: Politics
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,120 times Debate No: 12601
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (7)
Votes (4)

 

LaissezFaire

Pro

The first post by each side will be to explain position and definitions, then debate with the other posts.

My position is that all illegal drugs should be legalized.

Definitions:
Illegal- Currently banned under US law.

Drugs- There are too many illegal recreational drugs for me to mention them all, but specifically, I will discuss marijuana, heroin, cocaine/crack, LSD, meth, ecstasy, and PCP, and any other drugs my opponent wishes to mention.

Legalized- Currently illegal drugs would be given the same legal status as tobacco or alcohol.
Beccles

Con

Ok, I would like to say that I understand why you believe that drugs should be legalized, because they could be given to doctors and used as prescription drugs, but people are still going to get hold of them and use them to a dangerous extent, so making it legal isn't going to change things. It's like making theft legal, just because something is wrong and you know that whatever you do it will still happen, doesn't mean you should make it legal just to make it right. Does that mean to say that if too many people start stealing, it should be made legal? I do understand that it may have some benefits as some drugs can be used to help people if provided safely, but I don't think something that can kill people should be made legal! What kind of impression will that give the world! It's like saying:"Yes! You're allowed to kill yourself!" People will take advantage of them, overdose, and use it as an excuse for performing other illegal actions!
So overall, I think despite the benefits of using drugs to cure diseases responsibly, dealers will get there hands on them one way or another and they will become ever more popular, be introduced to the younger generation and the whole world will get hooked!
Debate Round No. 1
LaissezFaire

Pro

You misunderstood me. I did not suggest drugs be given to patients by doctors. I suggested that drugs be sold in stores to any adult that wants them, like cigarettes and alcohol. And legalizing drugs is not at all like legalizing theft or murder. Those are inherently immoral. Stealing something from someone or killing them hurts them. Drug use only affects the user. Drug users may later commit crimes, but they don't necessarily do so. Since you seem to have a few other misconceptions about drugs, I'll devote the rest of this post to information about some of the "harder" drugs.

PCP- This drug has one of the worst reputations of all illicit drugs. It is said to produce feelings of invulnerability, superhuman strength, and cause vicious, irrational violence. But PCP's reputation for causing violence is unfounded. In a review of 350 journal articles on PCP use, psychiatrist Martin Brecher found little evidence that PCP provokes violent behavior. [1] There are only three documented acts of violence committed by people under the influence of only PCP. [1] In addition, when PCP was tested as an anesthetic, it was given to hundreds of patients, but not a single case of violence was reported. [1]

[1] Martin Brecher et al., "Phencyclidine and Violence: Clinical and Legal Issues," Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology 8:6 (December 1988): 397-401

Meth- This drug is said to be so addictive that one use will get you addicted for life. But only 6% of the 10 million people who have ever used meth have used it during the last month. [2] And in a 2002 study, only 7% of high school seniors who had used it during the last year were considered heavy users. [2] But what about all the people that do have terrible problems with meth? Well, why would it ruined only a small minority of users' lives? Why, if it was such a destructive drug, would some people have problems with it and others not? The users that become addicted and ruin their lives are generally people with severe mental and emotional problems anyway. Take, for example, the case of a man who beheaded his son because he was "possessed by the devil." [3] This was used as an example of meth turning someone into a monster. But he was also under the influence of alcohol at the time, and had a long history of violence while under the influence of alcohol. Did meth play a role in the murder? Maybe. But this was certainly not a case of meth turning a peaceful, law-abiding man into a maniac.

[2] John A. Newmeyer, "The Epidemiology of Amphetamine Use," in David E. Smith, ed., Amphetamine Use, Misuse, and Abuse (Boston : G.K. Hall, 1979), 55-72. SAMHSA (2002), tables H.1 and H.2. NIDA, 81-85. Monitoring the Future Study, tables 5 and 7.

[3] Wren and Jim Walsh, "Beheading Linked to Drug Use," The Arizona Republic (July 26, 1995)

Heroin- This drug is said to be immensely pleasurable, supposedly many times more so than an orgasm, so good that users get addicted for life after one hit. Then, once addicted, get higher and higher doses to attempt to get back to the original high, ruining their life in the process. These claims are largely false. First, heroin high is nowhere near as good as most believe. Researchers injecting heroin into test subjects found that the vast majority were indifferent to the feeling or disliked it. [4] The actual high is basically several hours of blocking out everything. Food, sex, jobs, friends, pain, frustrations, and everything else no longer matter. Generally, only a person that already had problems, that wanted to escape from reality, would have a compulsive craving for this feeling. But what about physical addiction, like how smokers have physical cravings for nicotine? Studies of users show that physical dependence does not develop easily. A user would have to inject pure, unadulterated heroin three times a day for two straight weeks to develop a level of dependence detectable by medical instruments. [5] With diluted street heroin, it is even harder to develop physical dependence. What about heroin users needing ever-higher doses? Also false. Users do build up a tolerance, but not continuously—they reach a plateau after a while. [6] Another false claim is that once addicted, heroin users are addicts for life, because it is so hard to get off heroin. Most users have few problems with withdrawal; which, physically, is generally no worse than a bad cold, and over in a few days. [7] Of course, those are just the physical symptoms. The problem is that many addicts use heroin to escape their problems. Since those problems come back once the heroin wears off, often worse than they were before, addicts just use more heroin, creating a vicious cycle. These are the people that have tremendous difficulty getting off heroin; and this type of addict has more to do with the person than the drug. When most people think of a heroin user, they think of a desperate addict living on the streets, stealing to pay for his habit. This image is not the typical heroin user. [8] In 1971, Washington DC police captain Gerald M. Caplan, said "more than 100 officers were taking heroin. How did we learn about them? Not because their performance was poor. . . We took urine specimens." A study of college student GPA's found no significant difference between users and non users. [9]

[4] Lasagna, L., John M. von Felsinger, Henry K. Beecher. "Drug-Induced Mood Changes in Man." Journal of the American Medical Association 157 (1955): 1113-1119.

[5] Kaplan, John. The Hardest Drug: Heroin and Public Policy. Studies in Crime and Justice. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1983. 27.

[6] Judsen, Horace Freeland. Heroin Addiction in Britain: What Americans Can Learn from the English Experience. New York: Harcourt Brace Jonanovich, 1973. 121-122.

[7] Scur, Edwin M. Narcotic Addiction in Britain and America: The Impact of Public Policy. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1962. 27.

[8] Platt, Jerome J., and Christina Labate. Heroin Addiction: Theory, Research, Treatment. Wiley Series on Personality Processes. A Wiley Interscience Publication. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1976. 171.

[9] Blum Richard H., et al. Students and Drugs: College and High School Observations. The Jossey-Bass Behavioral Science Series and the Jossey-Bass Series in Higher Education (published jointly). San Fransisco: Jossey-Bass, 1969.

Cocaine- This drug is thought to encourage violence and be estremely addictive. While cocaine's effects, which include increased endurance, increased muscle power, and a greater willingness to take risks, may be associated with violence, violence among cocaine users and even addicts is uncommon. [10] In addition, claims of addiction, like those of heroin, are largely overblown. A study where crack was administered to 200 volunteers found that none of them later abuse it, and a study of 175 crack users in Los Angeles found that all of them used it in moderation. [11]

[10] Nadelmann, Ethan A. "Drug Prohibition in the United States: Costs, Consequences, and Alternatives." Science 245 (1989): 941, 943-44.

[11] Siegel, Ronald K. Intoxication: Life in Persuit of Artificial Paradise. New York: Dutton, 1989. 309-10.
Beccles

Con

I understand that you are saying that not all drugs can cause problems, and I understand what you are saying about the 'harder drugs' but I do feel that drugs don't always only affect the user. Like in your example, of a man who claimed to have been 'possessed by the devil' as an excuse for beheading his own son, he may have taken meth and therefore performed the action that would have been completely unthinkable if he had not been under the influence of meth or alcohol. Therefore, this obviously shows that the son, who isn't the user of the drugs was obviously affected by them as he lost his life!
Is it not obvious to you that if some one takes drugs that are illegal for a reason, then they be prone to do other illegal actions? Just because people aren't affected by drugs in the same way as the user is, it doesn't mean they aren't still affected! For example, let's say a man is addicted to ecstasy and he hallucinates many things. If he has children or a partner in fact, it may affect them mentally and sometimes in physical situations.
Also, if you stock illegal drugs onto the shelves, then they are openly available for theft! A child may buy them using fake I.D or thieves can merely steal them in a supermarket robbery, and sell them onwards to others as a business! What REAL benefits are there to making all drugs legal?
Debate Round No. 2
LaissezFaire

Pro

Back to the example you mentioned, my point was that meth itself likely did not cause him to kill his son. He already had a long history of violence. While he did it on meth, meth didn't make him do it, he did it himself, because he is a terrible person or mentally ill or whatever reason. If meth were the cause, why wouldn't that sort of thing happen more often? The vast majority of people that use meth have no problem with it, and the vast majority of those that do have a problem with it aren't murderers.

"Is it not obvious to you that if some one takes drugs that are illegal for a reason, then they be prone to do other illegal actions?"
Yes, drugs are illegal for a reason. Do you know what that reason is? The original drug laws were founded on racism and lies. In the 1930's, Mexicans were competing with whites for jobs. The government began a smear campaign against marijuana, because marijuana laws could be used to imprison non-whites competing for jobs. In 1936, the Federal Bureau of Narcotics stated that "prolonged use of Marihuana frequently develops a delirious rage which sometimes leads to high crimes, such as assault or murder. Hence Marihuana has been called the 'killer drug.' . . . Marihuana sometimes gives man the lust to kill, unreasonably and without motive. Many cases of assault, rape, robbery, and murder are traced to the use of Marihuana." [1] They also stated that "50 percent of the violent crimes committed in the districts occupied by Mexicans, Turks, Filipinos, Greeks, Spaniards, Latin-Americans and Negroes can be traced to the abuse of Marihuana cigarettes." [1] Similar campaigns resulted in the criminalization of opium (said to have caused Chinese to rape white women and commit other violent crimes) and cocaine (supposedly caused blacks to rape white women, etc).

[1] Bonnie, Richard J. and Charles H. Whitebread. The Marijuana Conviction: A History of Marijuana Prohibition in the United States. (New York: Lindesmith Center, 1999 (reprint).

You also state that if someone is willing to take drugs, they may also be prone to do other illegal actions. First, this is only true for a small minority of drug users. Second, so what? The disregard for the law is inherent in the person, not the drugs. If someone is willing to break the law and hurt people, legalization of drugs won't change that either way. People with disregard for human life will have that disregard whether drugs are legal or not.

You use the example of an ecstasy addict hallucinating and endangering his family. While ecstasy does not cause hallucinations, let's say he was dropping acid and endangering his family with his hallucinations. This isn't an argument that drugs should be illegal. Irresponsible people will do irresponsible things. If his access to illegal drugs was restricted, he might just drink alcohol, which is far more dangerous to those around you than any psychedelic.

As for theft making drugs more available to kids, where is your evidence of this? Marijuana, which is illegal, is easier for high-school aged kids to get than alcohol, which is legal. [2]f drugs are illegal, then they are sold in the black market by drug dealers that don't care what age the buyer is. Legalizing drugs could actually make it harder for children to get them.

[2] http://www.casacolumbia.org...

"What REAL benefits are there to making all drugs legal?"
The biggest benefit is the great reduction in crime. Gangs in US inner cities would disappear. Latin American drug cartels currently killing tens of thousands and destabilizing governments would lose their source of income and dissolve. The Taliban and other terrorist groups would lose their main source of income. But what about increased drug use? Wouldn't an increase in drug users cause an increase in crime? No. In fact, crime among drug users would probably decrease. There would be an increase in drug users, yes. But where would these new drug users come from? The new users would have to come from the group of people that respected the law too much to use drugs while they were illegal. Those people are unlikely to become criminals. As I showed earlier, drug use does not cause violent crime. Violent crime committed by drug users is generally the result of people who were violent anyway. But what about addicts stealing to support their habit? If drugs were legalized, the price would fall to a fraction of the black market price. Marijuana, for example, is predicted to fall by as much as 80% if Proposition 19 passes in California. [3] Addicts would need less money to support their habit, so they wouldn't need to steal nearly as much.

[3] http://www.rand.org...

Another benefit to legalizing drugs would be to protect innocent citizens from overzealous drug warriors. Many innocent people become victims of corrupt DEA agents or police officers in the drug war. Particularly dangerous to every private citizen are asset forfeiture laws, (police can seize anything they believe is connected with any crime, without a trial or hearing. Innocence of the crime is usually irrelevant.), as the following example illustrates:
"The owner of a $5 million California ranch refused to negotiate with officials who wanted to merge the property into a park system. Subsequently a search warrant was obtained for a drug squad raid on the rancher's home. When applying for the warrant, police said an informant had reported thousands of marijuana plants on the property. Police did not tell the judge they were skeptical of the informant's credibility. In the application, one officer swore to what he was told by another officer, but the other officer's statement was false (by using this technique neither officer could be accused of perjury). Nor was the judge told that more than one secret warrantless search had recently been made of the ranch land without finding a single marijuana plant. Maps handed to all members of the strike team included handwritten notations saying '200 acres' and '80 acres sold for $800,000 in 1991 in same area.'" When the drug squad burst into the ranch couple's home, the wife started screaming, 'Don't shoot me! Don't kill me!' as team members manhandled her. The commotion apparently roused her sleeping husband who ran downstairs with a pistol. Squad members told him to lower the firearm, and as he obeyed they shot him to death. They ejected the woman from the house while she ran to her stricken husband. No marijuana was found in the house or anywhere on the 250 acres. The county prosecutor admitted the raid 'was motivated, at least in part, by a desire to seize and forfeit the ranch for the government.' Governmental desire to merge the ranch into parkland may explain the otherwise curious presence of U.S. Park Service agents in the drug raid team." [4]

[4] Miller, Richard Lawrence. Drug Warriors and Their Prey: from Police Power to Police State. Westport, CT: Praeger, 1996. Print. 105-106.
Also see:
http://en.wikipedia.org...
http://www.mpp.org...
Beccles

Con

Beccles forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
LaissezFaire

Pro

As my opponent has forfeited the round, I have nothing to respond to, and nothing more to add.
Beccles

Con

Beccles forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
7 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Posted by LaissezFaire 6 years ago
LaissezFaire
Sorry for the double post; bad connection.
Posted by LaissezFaire 6 years ago
LaissezFaire
Yes, some truck drivers do misuse drugs and endanger others while on the road. But if those drugs were legalized, how many people who refused to use those drugs while they were illegal would start using them while driving, which would remain illegal? A small minority of users abusing a drug is no reason to ban it completely.

You use alcohol abuse as an example. Yes, while abuse is not rare, the vast majority of alcohol users use it responsibly, and there's no reason to think that would be different for any other drug. The common stereotype of a typical drug user is very misleading. One, the fact that drugs are illegal has more to do with the depraved lifestyles of many drug users than the drugs themselves. For example, in post-WWII Europe, cigarettes became very scarce and therefore very expensive. Many addicts resorted to mugging, burglary, and prostitution to support their habit. Of course, the idea of a nicotine addict resorting to such means to support their habit is ridiculous today. But cigarettes haven't changed, they are just reasonably priced now, as currently illegal drugs would be if they were legalized. Second, the people arrested for drug use are not the average user. For example, crack cocaine is commonly thought to be a drug predominantly used by blacks. This is a pretty reasonable stereotype for people to have, as the vast majority (I think around 80%) of crack users arrested are black. But it isn't true. Scientists have found that African-Americans are no more likely to use crack than hispanics or whites. The typical drug user, even for 'hard' drugs such as heroin, uses responsibly, and works a steady job to support his or her habit, while those actually jailed for drug use often also committed other crimes that brought them to the attention of the police. Because the drug users we usually see are the ones arrested, the common perception is that all drug users are problem users.
Posted by LaissezFaire 6 years ago
LaissezFaire
Yes, some truck drivers do misuse drugs and endanger others while on the road. But if those drugs were legalized, how many people who refused to use those drugs while they were illegal would start using them while driving, which would remain illegal? A small minority of users abusing a drug is no reason to ban it completely.

You use alcohol abuse as an example. Yes, while abuse is not rare, the vast majority of alcohol users use it responsibly, and there's no reason to think that would be different for any other drug. The common stereotype of a typical drug user is very misleading. One, the fact that drugs are illegal has more to do with the depraved lifestyles of many drug users than the drugs themselves. For example, in post-WWII Europe, cigarettes became very scarce and therefore very expensive. Many addicts resorted to mugging, burglary, and prostitution to support their habit. Of course, the idea of a nicotine addict resorting to such means to support their habit is ridiculous today. But cigarettes haven't changed, they are just reasonably priced now, as currently illegal drugs would be if they were legalized. Second, the people arrested for drug use are not the average user. For example, crack cocaine is commonly thought to be a drug predominantly used by blacks. This is a pretty reasonable stereotype for people to have, as the vast majority (I think around 80%) of crack users arrested are black. But it isn't true. Scientists have found that African-Americans are no more likely to use crack than hispanics or whites. The typical drug user, even for 'hard' drugs such as heroin, uses responsibly, and works a steady job to support his or her habit, while those actually jailed for drug use often also committed other crimes that brought them to the attention of the police. Because the drug users we usually see are the ones arrested, the common perception is that all drug users are problem users.
Posted by RoyLatham 6 years ago
RoyLatham
You're right, you correctly clarified the resolution.

Many truck drivers are independent, so they have no employers to test them. They are paid by the load, so there is financial incentive to use drugs to stay awake longer, even while impaired. There are many jobs where working long hours is a financial benefit.

Alcohol is legal, pure, accurately labeled, and has well-publicized limits. Nonetheless people drink too much and drive, and engage in other activities in which alcohol use is unsafe. This is not rare. It is therefore reasonable to suppose that people will exceed safe limits of other recreational drugs. Use of some of the drug impairs judgment as to what amount of further use is safe.
Posted by LaissezFaire 6 years ago
LaissezFaire
Also, the solution to truck drivers using drugs that impair their ability to drive isn't to ban that drug. Why wouldn't their employers test them for drugs, and fire them if they test positive for any drug that could impair their ability to drive? I wasn't suggesting allowing people to drive high on whatever they want, any more than the fact that alcohol is legal means that people can drive drunk.

And accidental overdoses, like most supposed problems with drugs, are actually a problem with the drug war. Since purity of illegal drugs can vary wildly, drug users may have a higher purity sample, but use the amount they would normally use of a low purity sample, accidentally overdosing. Impurities in illegal drugs can also be dangerous. Impurities in the drugs sold on the streets are often very dangerous. For example, someone created an extremely concentrated form of heroin that was so strong in it's pure form that a dose the size of a grain of salt would be fatal. This drug was sold to unknowing addicts, killing about 150 people before the manufacturer was stopped. If drugs were legal, things like that wouldn't happen. Some people would still accidentally overdose, but it would be people that were intentionally doing something dangerous, as opposed to the innocent victims of our current drug war in Latin America and our inner city neighborhoods.
Posted by LaissezFaire 6 years ago
LaissezFaire
Under 'Definitions' in my first post, I said "illegal recreational drugs."
Posted by RoyLatham 6 years ago
RoyLatham
Poorly argued by Con, and so Pro wins based upon what was presented in the debate.

Antibiotics should not be legalized, because people wold use them viral infections, for which they have no effect. However, casual usage would cause the rapid rise of antibiotic resistant bugs. Pro should have have said "recreational drugs."

There is evidence of the bad effects of drugs, like accidents from truck drivers hopped up on amphetamines, accidental overdoses, etc. Con didn't produce any evidence, so Pro wins.
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by 9spaceking 2 years ago
9spaceking
LaissezFaireBecclesTied
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Vote Placed by lovelife 6 years ago
lovelife
LaissezFaireBecclesTied
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Vote Placed by RoyLatham 6 years ago
RoyLatham
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Vote Placed by LaissezFaire 6 years ago
LaissezFaire
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