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Drug categorisation and legalization

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/7/2015 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,766 times Debate No: 73060
Debate Rounds (3)
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You said: "We only have to look at the medical and social problems tobacco and alcohol cause to realize we shouldn't legalize any more drugs."

'We only have to look at the medical and social applications [that] aspirin and sugar avail to realize [that] we should legalize all drugs.'

In one small assertion you presuppose a number of false premises, not the least of which being that social problems are not necessarily indicative of the function of a substance but rather the context in which is it used. Medical problems are also dependent on pharmacodynamic context, among other factors. Also note that dose can completely reverse the effects of some substances.

Secondly, you seem to assert that all drugs are of common nature, have comparable psychological and physical effects, or even act on the same system in the body. It may help you to look into the multitudinous neurotransmitters and accompanying receptors which can be stimulated (or inhibited) by various compounds. Take 5-HT, the serotonin system- these receptors can be partially or fully; agonized or antagonized. Reuptake inhibition is also a notable mode of action (See Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRI)). Of these receptors, it is also important to note that there are various subtypes of this receptor, for example, blocking activity at 5HT-2A is shown to give the medicinal effects of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) without the psychedelic perceptual activity. Perhaps you can see that this is not such a simple issue.

I don't really expect a response, but I hope someone out there can learn about how absurd this position is.


I was talking about recreational drugs such as cocaine, meth, heroin. I am not an expert on the subject but I have seen several friends and a couple of family members get addicted to these drugs. I do think maybe we should change our method of dealing with them but do not agree with legalizing them.
Also I don"t think that all drugs are the same. I was just looking at it from a person who has seen the destruction these three drugs can cause. I should have been more specific about what drugs I am against legalizing. So I am going to say methamphetamine, heroin or cocaine should not be legalized to sell for recreational use.
Debate Round No. 1


Thank you for your prompt response, desertdawg.

Though it seems that the context of this debate has been shifted, I accept the new conditions, noting that (with your acknowledgement) you hereby forfeit and submit that at least all indole hallucinogens (and cannabis obviously) are suitable for recreational, personal, spiritual or therapeutic use, as well as; as tools for use in the facilitation of creative processes, for which I find no convenient single verb.

In this preface I would also like to suggest that you update your comment to reflect your new position ( ) as you have apparently misread "Types of legalization" ['This ranges from full legalization, which would completely remove all control, to partial legalization, which means that drugs would be available but only under controlled circumstances.'] which acknowledges that some substances would best remain of a lower availability than tic-tacs, though current legislation is problematic. This is the case for most substances available in 'smart shops' and 'head shops' around the world, where legalization has proved to be less problematic than is often asserted. I also request that you refrain from eroding your position down to a mere opposition of certain specific use cases which simply fall under the generally accepted banner of misuse already. If this is the case then please forfeit entirely and refrain from rounding 0.1 to 1 when boiling your position down to a single sentence, misleading or otherwise, it should at least represent your position accurately.

Arguments for legalization (potentially for recreation) of cocaine (already used in some medical procedures as a local anesthetic), methamphetamine and heroin (and opioids by relation):

In approaching the issue of preventative measures against drug ABUSE one must first classify what constitutes use and abuse. Psychedelics and many stimulants are of low toxicity and risk to the user (particularly the former), so it can be established that there are substances - the use of which can be entirely recreational - which necessitates that we accept that all of the behaviors of the user (pharmacokinetically, interpersonally, psychologically, etc.) and the substance (pharmacodynamically) which are accepted as 'recreationally acceptable' (an expression of personal freedom which does not directly infringe upon the rights of others) are therefore acceptable of all other substances.

[Hypothetically] Abuse can then be defined as follows:
-Abuse to the user: The drug causes the user to behave in such a way that they act unquestionably dangerously, either infringing upon the rights of others, or defined by a fair and reasonable assessment to be incapable of making a rational determination about his/her own well-being (mentally ill){This raises questions of rational suicide and premeditation, given that the former condition is always satisfied}.
-Abuse to the drug: The user consumes the drug in ways which violate the above conditions.
Note that this paradigm supposes that such a person be denied the liberty of access to such classes of substances, rather than criminalized (unless in conjunction with greater offenses- treated as mentally ill where applicable).

In the case of legalization in parts of Europe it has proven that it is at least possible to reduce the harmful use of drugs, generate tax revenue, and increase the freedom of citizens by implementing therapeutic treatment (it should be noted that MDMA (a methamphetamine), 4-PO-DMT and many DMT concoctions have unprecedented positive effects on addiction relief) rather than imprisonment. This raises the issue of reasons against criminalization, rather than for decriminalization.

Noting that substances are currently illegal in the context that you observe such harm in, this suggests that the context is unsuited to the substances, however it still remains to be proven in the face of significant evidence to the contrary that legalization would not make usage much safer and less of a fuel for black markets.

As a matter of human rights and basic freedom over one's own body and mind, should one not be allowed to make such educated decisions themself? I pose this question as an adendum to my argument as it seems from my position that this is a fundamental right which necessitates that the laws governing society facilitate these freedoms safely rather than constraining them entirely arbitrarily legalize certain (curiously dangerous, addictive and profitable) substances. It doesn't seem democratic or morally acceptable. Why is it acceptable for tobacco and alcohol to ruin lives, but not methamphetamine or cocaine in regulated doses?


You make a good point "Why is it acceptable for tobacco and alcohol to ruin lives, but not meth or cocaine in regulated doses?" I don"t believe that should be acceptable for tobacco and alcohol to destroy lives. They are legal but we are unable to control them and I think the same could happen with meth, cocaine and heroin. Regulated doses? Good luck with that, addicts are very creative with finding ways to get as much as they want.

The matter of human rights and a drug addict making an educated decision about using their drug of choice, nice thought but not reality. It is completely an emotional decision, they feel good. I was talking to a friend who was a heroin addict one time and inquired about why he would want to use that drug. His exact words were, "When you shoot up some good heroin your mind has an orgasm." He died in his early twenties of an overdose. Because the truth is that every time it takes a little bit more to give them that feeling they are in love with. I tried to educate him on the evils of heroin but he was in love. To each his own.

I agree that rehab is a better course of action than incarceration. I know people who have gone through rehab and have been clean for years now.

You mentioned tax revenue and I have a feeling that might be the driving force behind this and not a concern for anybody"s well being,there are billions of dollars in the drug trade. But a drug addict would still have to get the money to buy it and they aren"t going to work for it so they would probably have to steal. I also have a feeling that some of these drug pushers won't take too kindly to you cutting into their profits.

I don"t have a problem with medicinal uses but what kind of addiction relief is shooting up crystal meth?

Tools for use in the facilitation of creative processes. I had a friend who used to make some far out waterbed frames when he had taken LSD. The problem was you had to be tripping also to want to buy one. I just think that if you can"t be creative with out getting stoned you"re probably just not a creative person.
Debate Round No. 2


"I don"t believe that should be acceptable for tobacco and alcohol to destroy lives. They are legal but we are unable to control them and I think the same could happen with meth, cocaine and heroin. Regulated doses? Good luck with that, addicts are very creative with finding ways to get as much as they want."
Regulated doses are possible, as many addicts sustain addiction.

On emotional decisions: It is not a question of emotional validity, but IF it is emotional. You don't get to decide which decisions are fake, that needs to be calculated. The rest of your second paragraph is largely an appeal to emot. Reward systems are malleable. On tax: without increased use (see below) there is no reason to think that crime would increase. Red herring. Drug pushers don't have a say, their market prefers quality, cheap, safe, legal. What will they do?
Medical meth: "approved by FDA for treating ADHD and exogenous obesity" [] Recreational use will persist, like it or not, as we see, so make it safer.
On creativity: How childishly poetic. IMPORTANT:
-mathematical theorem regarding NOR gate circuits
-new conceptual model of a photon, which was found useful

Alcohol and tobacco are legal BECAUSE we are unable to control them. We ARE able to make drugs much safer. Prohibition saw cartels, massive income for black markets, and alcohol subject to poor manufacture. It is only circumstantial that alcohol is easy to produce (hence it is one of the first processed psychoactive drugs to be distributed recreationally). Moonshine epidemics in countries where alcohol is legal but not safely producible shows that it can be extremely dangerous in this context (as any substance or food).
"Last year, 4,251 heroin users died as a result of using the drug. 80% of those deaths were caused directly by the drug in combination with alcohol or other drugs. About 10% were caused directly by heroin alone. The remaining 10% were caused by the drug together with suicide, accidents, murders, or medical disorders." []
Up to 90% reduction of death seems worthwhile. This is the MOST DANGEROUS of your listed drugs. See below for evidence that prohibition does not reduce use, though it does increase danger and black market fund, as well as tax cost, incarceration, and prison population released to society. This is backed up by the notably small increase in heroin use in Portugal during legalization.

Carrying forward from the fact that alcohol and tobacco are legal due to tr ease of distribution and access, not their active properties, it should be noted that nicotine is:
-more addictive than LSD,Psilocybin,Caffine,Mescaline,MDMA,*COCAINE*,alcohol
-more lethal than LSD,Psilocybin,Cannabis,N.O.,Ephedra,Caffine.
-Mutagenic (cancerous)
Alcohol is:
-more lethal than Morphine,Cocaine,MDMA,Nicotine,Ketamine,Mescaline,LSD,Psilocybin,Cannabis
-toxic to every system in the body, AND releases toxins from the liver by inhibiting normal function.
I can verify these claims with pharmacological evidence about the reward pathways and cyclic use.

Also note that imprisonment being as dangerous as it is in comparison to rehabilitation is evidence enough alone that legalization and regulation will put less citizens in jail, safe tax money, and send less violent criminals back into society after prison indoctrination. []

"When the Prohibition era in the United States began on January 19, 1920, [..] previous attempts in America had fared poorly. When a Massachusetts town banned the sale of alcohol in 1844, an enterprising tavern owner took to charging patrons for the price of seeing a striped pig"the drinks came free with the price of admission. When Maine passed a strict prohibition law in 1851, the result was not temperance, but resentment among the city's working class and Irish immigrant population. A deadly riot in Portland in 1855 lead to the law's repeal" []
As we see, prohibition had little effect on the consumption... [] Also worth noting is that nootropics or alternative, safer drugs like LSD or cannabis could have positive effects on that college student class who so heavily consume alcohol in their frat parties etc. Contrasting with heroin, where preparation and consumption obviously have greater implications on safety, it seems that it would be best to legalize, regulate and educate. People aren't going to start shooting up because it is legal, but they will be able to seek help for addiction.


Medicinal uses for these drugs are not what I am concerned with. What worries me is people being able to walk into a convenience store buy some crack cocaine and take it home and smoke it, snort, inject it or what ever their preferred method of ingesting it is. Letting drugs win the war. I feel that all of the references to medicinal uses are irrelevant to this debate.

I read a few articles about Portugal, starting with the one you referenced, and they did not legalize these drugs they decriminalized the use of them, reduced the charge for possessing small amounts. People are not arrested and incarcerated if they are in possession of drugs but are counseled to go to rehab. If the amount of possession exceeds the specified amount the drugs are confiscated. It is not giving up on the war on drugs but simply changing the strategy and reviews are mixed and statistics are difficult to calculate.

This is a quote from the person who is the architect of Portugal"s drug policy.
Dr Joao Goulao

"It is very difficult to identify a causal link between decriminalization by itself and the positive tendencies we've seen " It"s a total package. The biggest effect has been to allow the stigma of drug addiction to fall, to let people speak clearly and to pursue professional help without fear."

I actually like this guy because of his experience in working with drug addicts at rehab clinics. Basically what they did in Portugal was to take the responsibility for dealing with drug use away from the Drug Enforcement Agency and give it to the Department of Health. They treat it like an illness instead of a crime. With an illness the goal is to remove or at least neutralize the cause of the disease which in this case is drugs. I feel that the goal for legalizing drugs is to surrender and that would not be a wise move.

What we have learned from our experience with tobacco and alcohol, especially alcohol, is that criminalizing it does not work and legalizing it does not work. Maybe the solution lies somewhere in between. Not all people who use alcohol are alcoholics but all people who use methamphetamines are addicts. The addiction rate among cocaine and heroin users is extremely high also. Marijuana is not physically addictive but can be psychologically addictive.

There is a difference between doing lab test and seeing what drugs do to people in real life. Since I have personally witnessed the reality of drug addiction I say we don"t surrender to drugs but we do need to change our strategy. A drug free world is a good goal. Maybe we need to figure out what is wrong with our thinking that we need so much false stimulation to function. I do realize there is a valid need for sedation at times. But when a perfectly healthy person just feels the need to get high I question the validity of that need.

Thank You for the challenge it has been a pleasure. I did update my earlier comment I am sorry if it misled you.
Debate Round No. 3
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by LethargicLogic 3 years ago

I felt that this source was particularly neglected. Though not applicable to stimulants, this is solid proof that AT LEAST TWO TYPES OF altered states can provide useful insight and utility to their user. This is already known for analgesics and eugeroics (paracetamol, caffeine) and suggested by nootropics. On what basis do you assert that the altered states of other types of drugs are of no utility when they have not been applied to these contexts. As I mentioned (I believe in my first or second post, if not both) the context of use has serious implications for the outcome of a drug, pharmacologically and sociologically (for lack of a better term). [Rehab > prison] has been established, but your assertion presupposes a negative context.

If you will permit me the same abuse of anecdotal evidence (plus I saw a pink elephant today), I have met multiple people who have used methamphetamine before and are not addicts (as you assert). One of them an aspiring computer scientist. Based on their descriptions and an understanding of the way in which such stimulants work (CNS stim), very low doses have potential utility in personal (unemployed) labor or monotonous work. This is a utility for the recreational context. Proof of concept.

The way that you continue to argue under the premise that the WoD is valid, rather than argue for it's validity, neglects my earlier point that legality alone will not increase use. The war is not only poorly conducted, but falsely conceived; it is not suppressing a mindless mass from consuming kilograms of neurotoxins, it is simply restraining those who wish to do so for valid purpose, and neglecting the ill (as well as abusing a human right in place of education). I am allowed to use knives because I understand them. They make my life easier and I am yet to stab myself. Were they illegal, I would still think they were dangerous to even touch. Dinner would be diff
Posted by LethargicLogic 3 years ago
Desertdawg neglects the argument and recycles own premises.

"Letting drugs win the war"(subj to validity),
"walk into a convenience store"(subj to arbitrary regulation),
"crack cocaine"(crack is unsafe cocaine, why not pure? see:debate),
"what ever preferred method"(subj to safety).
"all people who use meth are addicts" [citation needed]
"can be psychologically addictive" (cop out. So can TV. Subj to person- see:education).
"I have personally witnessed the reality of drug addiction" []
"A drug free world is a good goal" [cit. needed, circular argument].
"false stmltn"(Is bread,Sugar,Sunlight false stim? Why do we have TV or music? It is not even real stimulation (or inhibition in the case of antagonists and inverse agonists) what does false mean and why inherently bad? red herring.)
"valid need for sedation" only one of the mentioned drugs are sedatives
"..need to get high I question the validity of that need"(Context for validity? Freedom over mind and body? Acct. for safety? I question your freedom to watch TV)

Stimulating debate but I did not feel rebutted at all. I feel like much of the argument simply consisted of side stepping and neglect for my points. None the less, thank you for partakin desertdawg.
Posted by desertdawg 3 years ago
I was talking about recreational drugs such as cocaine, meth, heroin. I am not an expert on the subject but I have seen several friends and a couple of family members get addicted to these drugs. I do think maybe we should change our method of dealing with them but do not agree with legalizing them.
Also I don"t think that all drugs are the same. I was just looking at it from a person who has seen the destruction these three drugs can cause. I realize now that that was a blanket statement. I guess if you want to talk about these three drugs and legalizing them as recreational drugs that is fine.
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