The Instigator
BlackVoid
Con (against)
Losing
15 Points
The Contender
Danielle
Pro (for)
Winning
51 Points

Drugs should be legalized in the United States

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 12 votes the winner is...
Danielle
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/7/2011 Category: Health
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 16,206 times Debate No: 15195
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (78)
Votes (12)

 

BlackVoid

Con

This is our first round in the 2011 DDO tournament. Due to future time constraints by Danielle, she can go first to get her argument out there while I finish my initial case.

Pretty hot and controversial topic here, but I hope we can keep it civil. Good luck!
Danielle

Pro

Many thanks to my opponent for challenging me to this debate :)

Due to the way Pro structured it, I'm assuming I won't be posting an argument in R4.


The Role of Government


The U.S. government has a monopoly on force. As such, citizens are required to obey the laws enacted by the State with no opportunity to "opt out" and become part of a society with similar values. Because of this, the United States was founded on the concept of minimizing "government intrusion" on the private lives of its citizens.

It is not the government's job to ensure that people are moral and upright. It is not the government's responsibility to ensure that people make smart and healthy decisions. Instead, laws are created to resolve discrepancies in the way people live, act and trade - not command people on how to treat their own person. While together individuals comprise of a collective society, it is not one's burden to contribute or be a productive and functional member of that society. As such, laws imposing on one's body are intrusive and immoral. The government does not have this right or obligation. Nobody should be punished unless they have infringed upon the rights or property of another person.

History and the War on Drugs


Human beings have sought altered forms of conscious via drugs since the dawn of even the most ancient of civilizations [1]. There always has and always will be a market for drugs whether they are legal or not. Because of this, the WOD has not been effective at preventing the widespread use of drugs. For instance, the opium trade flourished during the temperance movement [2]. At the same time, doctors and druggists prescribed whiskey and other alcohol known as "patent medicines" much like doctors write scripts for medical marijuana today. Doctors had made an estimated $40 million dollars in 1928 writing prescriptions for whiskey [3].

Others took a less legal approach to getting around anti-drug laws. Even today, instead of being sold through legal and taxable establishments, gangs and other groups like the mafia have become among the biggest distributors of illegal drugs yielding profits of epic proportions [4]. In other words, it is the criminals who are prospering thanks to this immoral policy that does not accomplish anything substantial. Moreover, there is a plethora of irrefutable proof regarding the United States' own government involvement trafficking illegal drugs.

Dan Russell explains, "Illegal drugs, solely because of the artificial value given them by Prohibition, have become the basis of military power anywhere they can be grown and delivered in quantity. To this day American defense contractors are the biggest drug-money launderers in the world" [5]. By the end of the 1980's it was calculated that the illegal use of drugs in the United States now netted its controllers over $110 billion a year [6]. There's also evidence of the drug trade funding multiple government operatives, including the CIA [7]. In short, the War on Drugs has been a failure. Still the government and other criminal agencies have been using it to manipulate and monopolize the market.

Impact of Anti-Drug Efforts


In the past 40 years, the U.S. government has spent nearly 3 trillion dollars in the WOD. Still, the number of illicit drug users in America has risen over the years despite the ad campaigns, increased incarceration rates and a crackdown on smuggling [8]. The Drug Awareness Resistence Education program (D.A.R.E.) has so far cost 230 million dollars alone, yet study after study reveals unsubstantial results [9]. It's not hard to see that so far our policies have been completely ineffective. This is therefore a gigantic waste of tax payer dollars that could better be spent elsewhere in such a way that actually significantly benefits society.

The WOD disadvantages society in other ways too. Scholars suggest that the WOD has resulted in the creation of a permanent underclass of people who have few educational or job opportunities, often as a result of being punished for drug offenses which in turn have resulted from attempts to earn a living in spite of having no education or job opportunities. Penalties for drug crimes among youth almost always involve permanent or semi-permanent removal from opportunities for education, strip them of voting rights, and later involve creation of criminal records which make employment far more difficult [10].

Additionally, the WOD disproportionately disadvantages minorities and the poor in particular. While blacks constitute only 13 percent of all drug users, 35 percent of those arrested for drug possession are black, and 74 percent of those people are sent to prison. Rates of drug use or drug selling are no greater for members of minorities than for non-minorities, yet minorities are stopped, searched, arrested, prosecuted, and incarcerated at far greater rates than whites. They also get longer jail sentences among other discrepancies [11].

Of course putting this many people in jail unnecessarily is a bad idea. Not only is law enforcement distracted from preventing more dangerous crimes, but it costs the tax payers an exorbitant amount of money to perpetuate this failing criminal justice system. Further, children of unlucky inmates also suffer. They are 5 - 7 times more likely to commit crimes than their peers, and are at a much greater risk of educational failure, joblessness, addiction and delinquency [12].

Equally frustrating, the criminalization of drugs has significantly inhibited research of particular substances and how they could be used medically [13].

Health Risks and Other Factors

Tobacco kills about 350k people a year, not including the 50k who die from second-hand smoke. Alcohol kills about 80k. All illegal drugs combined kill about 4,500 people per year - or about 1% of the number killed by alcohol and tobacco, both of which are legal [14]. Moreover, products like alcohol and tobacco are considered more dangerous and addictive than illegal substances such as LSD, psilocybin mushrooms, MDMA (ecstasy), marijuana, etc. [15]. In a society that emphasizes the value of life, it is completely non-sensical to wage an unwinnable WOD when the repercussions of said drugs are 99% less harmful than the drugs that are already legal.

Drugs and Violence

Additionally, of all psychoactive substances, alcohol is the only one whose consumption has been shown to commonly increase aggression. Drug-related violence is not an issue prevalent because of drug use itself, but due to disputes among rival distributors, arguments and robberies involving buyers and sellers, property crimes committed to raise drug money and, more speculatively, social and economic interactions between the illegal markets and the surrounding communities. All major authorities agree that the vast majority of drug-related violent crime is caused by the prohibition against drugs, rather than the drugs themselves [16].

-- Conclusion --

The War on Drugs is a war that is not against a clear enemy, which is why it can never be won. Selling proucts that warrant a profit will continue legally or not so long as there is a demand. However, by forcing it to be done illegally, you are actually putting society at greater risk because of what inevitably comes with the territory (such as gang disputes which requires the recruitment of gang members, etc.).

It's reasonable to conclude that the government enacting such useless and wasteful legislation is done so only in the name of their own gain. Meanwhile, economist Jeffrey Miron posits legalizing drugs would inject 78.6 billion dollars into the U.S. economy [17]. On the other hand, criminalizing drugs is an infringement upon our civil liberties, ineffective at significantly stifling the drug market, and overall does more harm than the contrary.

Good luck, Con.

Sources:
http://www.debate.org...
Debate Round No. 1
BlackVoid

Con

I'll give my own arguments, then go over my opponent's.

1. Legalizing drugs fosters more drug use.

A. Deterrance

Without the threat of prison from criminality, more and more people will be drawn into illegal drug's destructive spectrum.

There have been several examples of drugs being legalized. In 1975, Alaska legalized Marijuana for consumption in the home. By 1979, 11 states had decriminalized it. The Netherlands sell marijuana legally in places called coffee shops. And Britain allowed doctors to prescribe heroin to addicts. (1)

Small problem though. It was a colossal failure. In Alaska, teen use of marijuana skyrocketed, putting the state's usage rate at twice the national average. They were forced to re-criminalize it. The US states suffered a similar fate, with 51% of 12th graders admitting to using the substance. It was recriminalized here as well, after which usage rates dropped an astonishing 57%. Usage rates in the Netherlands also went up. With young men and women, the increase was 29%. Finally, in Britain, addiction rates to heorin went up 30% every year. (1)

What these examples show us is that legalizing drugs signals a green light to addicts, allowing people to smoke their death powder without a fear in the world.

B. Availability

To get drugs now, you must know certain people, then go through underground crime syndicates to acquire one. Of course, you also have to rely on the dealer being trustworthy, in addition to not being caught by the po-po.

This is is contrast to a legalized system. Inevitably, people would see drugs as a huge business opportunity, and we would see crack and cocaine being sold in pharmacies, private stores, etc. Under this system, all I would have to do to get some meth is to walk into the nearest Walgreens.

This makes it inherently easier to get illegal drugs. Tobacco and cigarettes show us how often addictive substances will be used if made widely available. These are legal, and have much higher usage rates than illegal drugs.

Of course, some people like to say that even if this is true, its not an issue because drug users only hurt themselves. Taking a "harm principle" approach, a person should be allowed to do whatever they want to themselves, as long as they dont hurt others.

However, drug users DO hurt other people, whether it be directly or indirectly. Thus, my second point.

2. Impacts

A. Drug users hurt Americans financially

Drugs cause a variety of negative health effects, such as breathing difficulties, strokes, seizure, depression, heart issues, etc (3). Many addicts use the drug so much that they are ultimately taken to the ER due to these damages. In 2006, over 958,000 people were hospitalized for drug related emergencies. (4)

However, many drug users are in poverty or are poor in general (5). Homeless people also have a usage rate above 50% (6). So when they destroy themselves with these drugs and are sent to the hospital, its very likely that they will either not have insurance, and/or will be unable to pay their hospital bills.

So what happens then? Who pays for their treatment? We do. Hospitals "absorb" the cost of unpaid bills, and make up for this by charging everybody else more for their services. This cost is also passed onto insurances. One reason insurance is so expensive is because of these people getting sick and being unable to pay for their ER visit. (7)

B. Drug users cause suffering for those close to them

All you need to do to confirm this is to watch an episode of Intervention. Families are torn apart by drug use. Depression and loss of interest are a common effect of them. Because of the drug's addictive qualities, the user lives to seek another rush, rather than taking care of friends and family. Everyone close to them suffers due to this. The user is also less likely to go to work, meaning the family suffers emotionally and financially (8).

C. Work productivity

Many drug users are threats and liabilities in the workforce. 75% of drug users are employed (which also means 25% are unemployed, 16% above the national average). But because users suffer from lack of interest, their productivity suffers. For example, in 2000, approximately 110 billion dollars were lost from productivity of drug users (9). This doesn't just hurt them, it hurts the company and everyone else working there.

Thats not all. They also pose a direct threat to fellow employees. Drug abusers are five times more likely to cause injuries to themselves or others, and account for 40% of all industrial fatalities (9).

These are just three ways drug users hurt those other than themselves. There are surely others, such as driving while high, or child neglect. So lets dispel this myth that drug users only hurt themselves; its not just their lives they affect.



Onto my opponent's arguments.

The role of government

Pro: Government can only intervene when one is infringing the rights of others

You can extend my entire contention 2, which indicates that drug users do not just harm themselves. They do indeed cause harm to others around them. I fully agree that people should be allowed to do whatever they want to themselves alone, but drug users do not fit this criteria.

History/Impact of Anti Drug Efforts

First, all her arguments about the War on Drugs can be discarded, because they do not support her position. The War on Drugs can be ended without legalizing drugs. For example, there currently is no "War on Murder" or "War on Theft", but they are still illegal. If the topic was "WoD is bad", she would be doing very well. However, it is not, so all these arguments fail the BoP to advocate legalizing.

However, in case you dont buy that, I will go over these arguments anyway.

Pro: Illegality creates mafia/black market

However, in comments she says that she only advocates legalization for those over 18. This means the market will still exist for those under that age. Considering that over half of all drug users are under that age (10), the black market will remain strong.

Pro: WoD has failed

This is not the case. The War on Drugs began in 1971 (11). Drug use towards the end of the decade was at 25.4 million. My opponent's evidence says that there are currently 19.9 million drug users now. So in reality, drug use has actually decreased by 22%. Furthermore, 95% of all Americans dont use illegal drugs (12).

Pro: The D.A.R.E. program has failed

I do not advocate the D.A.R.E. program, it is not related to criminalization of drugs.

Pro: Teens get caught using drugs and get a criminal record

1. Non-unique. Teens can get criminal records from thievery, rape, etc as well, doesn't mean we legalize the crime.

2. False. Teens caught using drugs can go to a juvenile drug court, where they do not get a criminal record (13). Use of these programs is also spreading, so its not an issue (14).

Pro: Blacks more likely to be charged than whites for drug charges

Blacks are discriminated against in general. For example, blacks get harsher punishments for killing white people (15), that doesn't mean we legalize murder. The racism isn't unique to drug charges.

Pro: Children of imprisoned parents commit more crimes

Again, non-unique. The same can be said of parents imprisoned for rape or murder.

Pro: We can use drugs for medical purposes

Perhaps, but looking at my source 3, I would argue that the detrimental health effects of cocaine, heroin, etc, outweigh any medical benefit.

Health Risks

Pro: Alcahol and tobacco kill more people than illegal drugs

This is a con argument. The legal drugs kill more people than illegal ones. That indicates that keeping the drugs illegal is working to save lives.


I'm low on space, so I'll go over the conclusion in my next speech, if pro permits it.


So far, my opponent has mainly referred to the War on drugs, which as I've explained, isn't directly related to legalization, or used non-unique arguments. I've shown that legalization will cause direct negative impacts on society. Its for these reason I urge a con vote.
Danielle

Pro

Thanks, Con.

1. Legalizing Drugs Leads to More Use


A. Deterrence

A psychological experiment about deterrence and crime conducted in 1978 found that gains were more influential than the probability of capture. In other words, many considered the reward of the crime to be of greater value than the likelihood of their potential punishment. Public opinion surveys also show "Non-users have been much more likely to mention 'not interested' than 'fear of legal reprisals' as the primary reason they did not use marijuana" [18].

Regarding statistics, Con's are conveniently skewed. First, you'll notice that his figures only mention the marijuana user rates of HS seniors. If we expand beyond this demographic, we'll see that 32.6 % of people smoked pot in 1992. Meanwhile, nearly 42 % of people smoked pot in 2010 [19]. User rates are higher today than they were overall in 1992 even after the harsher policies were implemented.

Furthermore, "Federal statistics regarding adolescent marijuana use are based upon teenagers' willingness to honestly self-report their use of an illicit substance. Therefore, one must take into account the fact that some teens may choose to either under-report or over-report their cannabis use depending on the social stigma or acceptance attached to marijuana at that time" [20].

In addition, polls that measure an individual's illicit drug consumption have been specifically criticized by the G.A.O. for their "questionable" accuracy. Rep. John Conyers notes after reviewing a 1993 G.A.O. report, "Our national drug strategies are based on unsubstantiated and insufficient information. It is impossible to determine [from these surveys] whether student drug use has been decreasing, increasing, or remaining stable'" [21].

B. Availability

The Netherlands decided to give away heroin for free at State sponsored clinics. As a result, heroin became "uncool" and use went down significantly. This led to less disease (sharing needles), less crime, less overdose, etc. [22]. The Swiss soon followed suit, as did the Germans who have seen a 40% decrease in terms of drug-related death [23]. Similar successful policies were enacted in Vancouver.

2. Impacts of Drug Use on Society

A. Financial Burden

Con contends that it's not fair to increase the cost of health care for everyone because drug users cannot afford their own care. If health care was completely privatized, this would not be an issue at all. Since it's not, we must acknowledge that all ER visits must be accommodated - including those resulting from self-harm. In other words, it's non-sensical to say we won't treat someone because they willingly took drugs, but we will treat someone with diabetes because they willingly ate 200 doughnuts a day. Unless Con is suggesting we criminalize sun burn, McDonalds and other things that can contribute to poor health, this contention is not a strong one.

B. Drug Users Cause Their Loved Ones Suffering


That's tragic, but I fail to see how that has anything to do with the law. My ex's caused me suffering. Jail them?

C. Work Productivity


Con says 75% of drug users are employed. I fail to see why that's a problem, especially considering how vague this statistic is. Not only does it not specify what "drug users" are using (marijuana is much different from heroin), but some people abuse legal prescription drugs. Further, if one's drug use interferes with their job, their employer can fire them.

D. Harm

Con mentions drug users pose a risk to injuring others. Of course if one injures another and is found to be under the influence, these offenders will be punished accordingly. However, just as it's irresponsible for the government to restrict citizens from owning guns because accidents might happen, it's equally tyrannical to restrict personal liberties because people might abuse them.

3. The Role of Government

Con suggests drug users hurt their loved ones. As I just explained, only if a drug user violates the rights of another does the government have a right to interfere. For example, if a drug user steals from a family member to support their habit, that family member has every right to seek legal compensation. However it's ludicrous to suggest that the government be involved in people's personal relationships. It is not their obligation or right to do so.

4. Impact of the WOD

A. The WOD Doesn't Matter

Con says "The WOD" is irrelevant. I was using the term loosely to refer to anti-drug efforts, namely the expense of keeping drugs criminalized.

B. Black Market

Con says that because drugs would only be legal for those over 18, that there would still be a "black market" regarding those who sold to underage kids. The problem is that the black market I described is far more massive, profitable and and powerful than the pathetic Joe Schmo townie who buys cigarettes for underage HS kids at the corner deli. Please extend all of my arguments regarding the mafia, CIA, foreign gangs, etc. My arguments noted that prohibition creates violence by driving the drug market underground. This means buyers and sellers cannot resolve their disputes with lawsuits, arbitration or advertising, so they resort to killing.

"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" [24].

C. Drug Rates

See: other points on this

D. Kids and Prison

Con writes, "Teens can get criminal records from thievery, rape, etc as well..." Notice how theft and rape are crimes that specifically violate the rights of others. Drug use does not. Moreover my point was that those who end up in the juvenile criminal system are more likely to end up in the adult criminal system, so it makes no sense to encourage this negative and expensive cycle. The same principle applies to adults in jail for drug charges.

E. Racism

The point is that because minorities are unfairly targeted, it creates the "permanent underclass of people" I mentioned in the last round, perpetuates negative stereotypes, and enacts policies that specifically disenfranchise a particular race. The murder example is not analogous.

F. Medical Benefits Are Ignored

There are innumerable medical benefits to illegal drugs! To keep it short, MDMA can cure PTSD up to 80 percent of the time [25]; mushrooms can cure cluster headaches [26]; LSD can cure alcoholism [27]; etc.

G. Health Risks

Con says alcohol and tobacco kill more people than illegal drugs, thus this being an argument in his favor. However, I provided evidence indicating that tobacco and alcohol were MORE dangerous than many illegal drugs, so this is actually non-sensical. Con must justify keeping more harmful drugs legal than less harmful ones, or advocate complete prohibition.

Further, I've contended that prohibition encourages misinformation about many drugs. For instance, the government lied about ecstasy "putting holes in your brain" [28]. The same source and others talks about how the dangers for this and other drugs are greatly exaggerated [29]. Another myth is that heroin is instantaneously addictive. Meanwhile, it generally takes months or longer to become habitually addicted [30]. Moreover, to quit heroin use a qualified drug rehab program is essential [31]. By keeping drugs criminalized, you're encouraging people to commit other crimes to perpetuate a habit. Decriminalizing drugs and focusing on treatment would be far more healthy for the user and society as a whole.

Extend any and all dropped arguments.

Sources: http://www.debate.org...
Debate Round No. 2
BlackVoid

Con

I'll over my arguments, then her's.


1A. Deterrance


Pro: Many/most users feel the short term high outweighs the risk of punishment.

The key word here is "most". This indicates that not everybody feels this way, meaning that some people did admit criminal sanctions affected them. Her own sources are showing you that some people are deterred.

Pro: Justice.gov stats are only about HS seniors

Thats false. Look again, it refers to either 12-17, or teens in general. Only one stat was about seniors, and even then, the source also said use increased among "teenagers", not just seniors.

Pro: More people use pot now than in 1992

Now, after criticizing my statistic saying its only about high school seniors, she herself gives a source that only deals with 12th graders. She is contradicting her own argument at this point. Furthermore, since her source only deals with 12th grade use, whereas mine were applied to teens in general, you prefer my evidence which indicates that drug usage has dropped 22% since criminalization.

Pro: Teens may report useage incorrectly

So drop her source 19, since its heavily predicated on teens voluntarily reporting marijuana use. Furthermore, this isn't unique to teenagers. Adults may be nervous about admitting to drug use on surveys as well. So under this argument, we should invalidate all studies about estimated drug use. For the sake of debate, I wouldnt recommend that.

Extend that to the G.A.O. report.


1B. Availability

Pro: Less Dutch used heroin when it was in clinics

She's not telling you everything you need to know. For one, the program only applies to Dutch nationals over the age of 25 (1), excluding a large portion of the population, which skews estimated usage rates. Secondly, only people who have tried to get off heroin multiple times have access (2). So before jumping to any conclusions, lets wait for them to give free heroin to anyone, not just heavy addicts over 25.



2A. Financial burden

Pro: This argument would also criminalize sun burn and McDonald's.

First, my opponent has not disputed that users do indeed cost a burden to others. Key point, this means she loses access to any arguments related to drug abusers only hurting themselves.

We dont criminalize McDonald's because the ER visit rate of drug users is much higher than people going there for eating 200 donuts. I gave specific evidence saying that almost a million people were hospitalized for drug use in 06, I highly doubt that many people were sent for sunburn.

2B. Drug users hurt friends/family

She admits its tragic, but contends that this isn't related to criminality. However, it is. With more people using drugs in light of their legalization, you will see more and more families being torn apart. Key point here: She has not denied that drug abusers emotionally hurt friends and family.

C. Work Productivity

Pro: "Drug users" can refer to prescription drugs

The source I gave is VERY specific about saying "illegal drugs". Prescription drugs are never mentioned once, so I dont really get where this is coming from.

Pro: Fire employee who abuses drugs

Sure, we can fire them, but only AFTER they have caused harm to the company or others around them. So her solution only works after the harm has been done.
Pro has never denies that drug users are less productive.

D. Harm

Pro: We will punish drug users who cause accidents in the workplace

Yes, but that will only happen AFTER they cause the accident. Instead, we should use criminal sanctions to prevent some people from taking drugs, and posing this threat in the first place.


Onto her case

Role of Government

Pro: Gov should not be involved in personal relationships

I again agree, but drug users raising our hospital and insurance costs isn't a personal relationship, its taxation without representation. Drug users posing inherent risks to others isnt a personal relationship, it is a threat to safety.

WoD Impact

A. Pro: WOD is just a loose term for all anti-drug efforts

With all due respect, no its not. The WoD is about the US actively going out and looking for drug dealers. You can end this WITHOUT LEGALIZING. As I previously stated, there is no War on Murder, but it is still illegal. So while WOD may be a seemingly strong argument for this topic, in reality it does not fulfill the Pro's burden. I cannot stress this enough. Ending the War on Drugs does not equal legalizing.

Black Market

I wont pretend like I completely understand what pro is trying to say here. It seems like she's implying that the black market is massive and powerful. Of course, I already refuted this by proving that her own system of legalization doesn't solve for this, since the cartels have access to over half of the market even if you affirm.


Kids in prison

Pro: Drug use doesn't violate rights,

Extend my C2, taxation without representation, and risk of accidents which directly violates rights through drug users damaging others emotionally and physically.

Pro: People who go to juve are more likely to be adult criminals

This is a very strange argument. If a teen is caught stealing electronics, he can go to juvie as well, which according to my opponent, increases his likelihood of being a criminal as an adult. So to prevent this, should we legalize thievery as well? Her argument here is once again not unique to drugs.

Racism:

Pro: Minorities unfairly targeted, stereotyped, etc

I already showed this isn't a reason to legalize by proving that racism happens all over the justice system, not just in drug charges.

Pro: My murder evidence is not analagous.

Um, this had no warrant whatsoever

Medical benefits

Pro: Ecstasy cures post-traumatic stress disorder

I would arue that this is a short term gain for a long term loss. Ecstasy can surely help people feel good after a tragic event, but because of the drug's destructive properties, they won't be as happy in the future. This is because using ecstasy leads to permanent reduction in seratonin levels (3) after the initial rush. While the person may get over their agony quickly, they will have a hard time doing so in the future due to the long term effects of E.

Pro: LSD cures alcaholism

Her source cites a person who stopped drinking and smoking, and instead turned to LSD. So it seems like we're just trading one problem for another. This is crucial, since LSD can lead to impaired reasoning and psychosis (4).

Pro: Shrooms cure headaches

They replace headaches with the high risk of "bad trips" and random hallucinations long after taking the drug (5).

Health Risks

Pro: Alcahol and tobacco are still more dangerous


Her evidence for this (source 15) is rather shoddy. Looking at the chart, I see absolutely nothing that has to do with how dangerous any of these substances are. It simply mentions what constitutes a "lethal dose", which isnt the best way to evaluate the dangers of these substances, since illegal drugs can cause harm without being in a lethal dose.



Towards the end of her post, pro makes about 5 additional arguments in one paragraph. Due to character restrains I'll try to respond as briefly as possible.


Pro: Gov lied about E putting "holes in brain"


So? E has plenty of other negative impacts as I explained before. This proves nothing.

Pro: Drug dangers exaggerated

Her source leads me to a screen that says "Error 403: access forbidden".

Pro: Heroin is not instantly additive

The very first line in her source is as follows, "That heroin is addictive is a fact". Her own source contradicts this.

Secondly, this doesn't even matter. Even if its not technically addictive, people still use it over and over, so my impacts happen.

Pro: Qutting heroin requires a rehab program

We can have rehab without legalizing drugs, just as the US does right now.




For all of these reasons, I urge a pro vote, thank you.


Danielle

Pro

1. Drug Use

A. Deterrence

Con acknowledges that the criminalization of drugs isn't a deterrence for most people. Why implement a counter-productive policy that's ineffective by my opponent's own admission?

Next Con notes that his statistic isn't referring only to HS seniors but those aged 12 - 17. My point still stands considering it's limiting the statistic to those no older than 17, when many people don't smoke pot until after HS. Nevertheless I concede my mistake; I also provided the statistic for HS seniors (Con's mistake confused me). However, my point still stands with the right general figure. My argument was that harsher penalties do not necessarily lead to a decrease in drug abuse. Con mentioned that harsher punishments for marijuana crimes were enacted in 1992. A NESARC study of over 43,000 people found "Overall, marijuana abuse or dependence rose by 22 percent from 1992 to 2002" [33].

Con then advocates "dropping my source" since it's "heavily predicated on teens voluntarily reporting marijuana use." By that logic, you should also drop Con's entire argument and all of his statistics pertaining to teenage marijuana use. Since that's the only demographic he's talked about thus far, that would be ALL of his statistics (reminder: he cannot make any new arguments in the last round considering I cannot respond).

B. Availability

Con's argument was that higher availability of drugs would result in a plethora of problems. On the contrary I provided evidence that legalizing drugs in other places led to less crime, violence, disease and death as a result of these policies. Con did not respond to this, and instead mentioned that only those over 25 received free heroin from the government, etc. That might be true, but has nothing to do with my point: that just because legal drugs are available doesn't mean society will come crashing down. In fact many see positive results. I never said that we shouldn't implement policies in a similar fashion to the other successful models I mentioned, so Con's rebuttal is negated.

2. Impacts

A. Financial Burden

First, I pointed out that we live in a country which socializes costs. Welfare recipients are also a financial burden yet are still entitled to their personal liberties just as drug users are despite their burden. Second, get rid of socialized medicine and this problem becomes obsolete. Third, you can heavily tax drugs to compensate for the cost, just as the government does with cigarettes for the same reason [34].

Moreover, Con tries to downplay my point insisting that more people get sick from drugs than anything else. However, the number one leading cause of death in the U.S. is heart disease [35]. Over 34% of Americans are overweight and more than 33% are obese [36]. This means that people's personal choices very much pertain to their medical needs, and the system does not discriminate. You can either rectify the system to where this burden isn't an issue, or you can acknowledge that it's not problematic to our current system.

Finally and most important on this point, Con completely ignored the argument from economist Jeffrey Miron that legalizing drugs would inject 78.6 billion dollars into the U.S. economy.

B. Hurting Families

Extend my arguments; this has nothing to do with the government.

C. Work Productivity

Con never details what specific illegal drugs the statistic is referring to so extend that point. Also extend my point that an employer can fire a bad employee or one in violation of their contract.

D. Harm

I mentioned that the government cannot restrict personal liberties on the basis that people MIGHT abuse them. Con says the government should take protective measures to ensure they don't cause harm to begin with. By that logic, we should criminalize knives because people MIGHT use one to commit a crime. It's obvious we cannot run a functional legal system that way. Con never argued against my point and instead just stated his counter-point - not why his point is preferable. There's nothing for me to respond to.

3. Role of Government

Con says the govt. should interfere because of the financial and harmful burden drug users place on society. Extend my 2A - 2C points.

4. Impact of the WOD

A. The WOD Term

Con says he would not advocate a WOD. In other words he would do nothing to prevent the growing, transport, use, confiscation or penalty for drugs? That's what the WOD refers to. Now I can use Con's own arguments against him. In point 1A he talked about the importance of deterrence. How can he push deterrence as an important facet of criminalizing drugs, but suggest he'd make no effort to wage a war on drugs to deter use? At best this is a hypocritical contention depicting flawed reasoning on my opponent's part; at worst it's a completely useless objection that doesn't pertain to my arguments.

B. Black Market

Con completely drops this huge contention of mine despite me repeating it several times in a cohesive manner. It's unfair to have to waste character space explaining it again. Please extend all of my arguments, particularly the quote by source 24 from the last round.

The gist of it is that a black market exists for drugs due to prohibition that creates devastating repercussions. Such a market would not exist to anywhere near this extent if drugs were decriminalized. Con's response has been that a market would exist for underage users (which I explained is pretty insignificant), and that "the cartels have access to over half of the market even if you affirm." I have no idea what this is referring to or why there would be cartels in the first place; Con hasn't explained as such.

Con also dropped my point about the CIA/govt. corruption.

C. Drug Rates

N/A

D. Kids and Prison

Extend my argument about drug use not violating other people's rights directly. Not only is Con's "taxation without representation" argument not pertinent, but we DO have government representation (even if it's crappy). Also, Con's counter-example ones again mentions stealing which I've explained repeatedly is a violation of another's right to their property.

E. Racism

Con repeats that racism exists all over the justice system. I concur, but explained that drug policy in particular goes out of its way to disenfranchise a particular race by focusing on particular suspects and communities in a significantly disproportionate way. This is particularly pertinent due to the fact that once again drug use is a victimless "crime" unlike other offenses.

F. Medical Benefits

First, you'll notice that Con never denied any of the medical uses I've cited and sourced as being proven to work. Instead, he presents possible side effects or negatives of using certain drugs. This is no different then how every single legal drug advertised on television comes with an extensive list of possible negative side-effects. Still they're proven to have possible positive uses just as illegal drugs can, which means Con's rebuttal negates nothing. I can also provide more proof of positive medical uses [37, 38, 39, 40].

Further, scientists have ranked the most dangerous drugs based on harm to self and harm on others. Alcohol which is legal scored as the most dangerous drug - even above heroin and crack [41]. Professor David Nutt, Britain's former chief drug policy adviser reports that riding a horse is more dangerous than taking ecstasy [42].

Con says my links proving exaggerated dangers of drugs are broken; every single one of them works for me. Con also attributes a false contradiction to me regarding heroin's addictiveness. Finally, he says people can go to rehab for heroin even with drugs criminalized. My point was that rehabilitation is more important and useful than prison; people should be treated like addicts and not criminals when addressing their drug problem.

Thanks for this debate, Con.

Sources: http://www.debate.org...
Debate Round No. 3
BlackVoid

Con

First I thank my opponent as well. Whats been great is that we've had an amazing round over a very hot issue, but never once got personal or aggressive.



Since this is the last speech I'll just summarize the round.

The 5 key arguments in this round are as follows.

1. Will drug use increase or decrease?

2. Do drug users violate the rights of others?

3. Does the War on Drugs fulfill my opponent's burden?

4. Does affirming solve the black market?

5. Do medical benefits outweigh harms?


Here's why I believe I win these arguments.

1A: Deterrance

My opponent did not address my argument that her own sources are telling you that people are deterred from drug use by criminal sanctions. All she says is that most people aren't deterred. However, "most" does not equal "everyone". So when she argues "most" will still take drugs, she concedes that "some" will not. At that point, since its been proven that drug users cause harm to other people, I win the round because there will be more of these harms occuring when we take that deterrance away.


1B: Availability

We have both given examples of drugs being legalized. I gave four, where drug use spiked. She gave three where it did not.

Here's why you prefer my examples.

In the four examples I gave, two of them involved drugs becoming available to everyone. One legalized them for all adults, and the other was prescription heroin for addicts.

Her examples only involve heroin being given to adults who are severe addicts. Look at her sources for these. They specifically tell you that these drugs were only made available for hardcore addicts over a certain age. You cannot draw conclusions from these until these drugs have become available for everyone. But I did offer examples where everyone had access to drugs, and we saw what happened.


2. Do drug users violate other's rights?

I have proved that drug users increase our insurance and hospital costs, which equates to taxation without representation (which violates our right to, well, taxation without representation), and that drug users damage their families and injure coworkers at a high rate. Pro has never denied any of these. Her only argument is that obese people increase insurance costs just as often as drug users.

Let me go over this quickly. She argues that heart disease causes 35% of deaths. Deaths, not hospital costs. So 1. This is not relevant to my argument. She then says 34% of Americans are overweight. However, she has not given us anything showing how many of those overweight people have heart disease. So she is missing a huge link here, and without it these arguments fall apart.

Pro contends that the government cannot be paternalistic and that it can only restrict rights that can harm other people. I have shown that drug users do indeed harm others and violate rights, so by her own logic, we are justified incriminalizing drugs.


3. Does ending the WoD = Legalizing?

After proving that ending it does not equate to legalization in my last speech, pro makes an absurd claim that I "would not advocate a WOD". That is completely false. In addition to showing why the WOD is not Aff ground, I then attacked every single argument she made about it anyway. Never in this entire debate have I said we should end it.

That was her only argument about this in her last speech. She completely dropped mine, which stated that even if she wins all War on Drug arguments, she still loses because it doesn't mean we legalize. This is HUGE. She loses access to all arguments related to it due to this concession.


4. Does affirming solve black market?

In her last speech, pro claimed I dropped this. She herself refutes that.

Here are a couple of her quotes.

"Con completely drops this huge contention"

Later,

"Con's response has been a market would still exist..."

So she claimed I dropped it, but then said I made an argument against it.

In any case, Pro makes the claim that a black market for only underage users is insignificant. I already explained this isn't true; my evidence showed you that the underage drug users is literally over half of the entire market. Over 50% is not "insignificant". Against this, she says that she doesn't know why there would be cartels in the first place if you affirm. The reason is that she only legalizes for people over the age of 18. So the cartels remain for everyone under that, which is 51%.

So what we hopefully see is that the black market will not be solved through her legalization system.


5. Do medical benefits outweigh harms?

Pro claims some illegal drugs have medical benefits. Yes they do. However, the harms of them outweigh. For example, wild mushrooms are high in fiber, so they provide a nutritional benefit, but they are also poisonous. So the harms outweigh the benefit.

I give sources explaining the negative health effects of drugs and pro says thats true of your everyday painkiller. I ask my opponent, does Tylenol cause permanent depletion of seratonin levels, like ecstasy? Does Aleve cause Psychosis, like LSD? No, they dont. We need to realize that the harms of illegal drugs like E and crack are much stronger than your regular over-the-counter stuff.




To finalize, I stronly urge you to reread my initial argument on Deterrance, showing what happened when marijuana was made freely available and heroin was available with a prescription. These really show you what happens if we affirm. While my opponent's examples are equally interesting, they simply do not involve enough of the population to draw conclusions from.

For all of these reason, I urge a con vote.

Thanks for the debate.

Danielle

Pro

Thanks for the debate, Con, and good luck!
Debate Round No. 4
78 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by i8JoMomma 5 years ago
i8JoMomma
yes........ they should be legalized
Posted by theantichrist 5 years ago
theantichrist
only some drugs should be legalized like marijuana mostly because its a plant
Posted by whatisx 5 years ago
whatisx
What? by that logic a schizophrenic shouldn't be committed I mean even though he's a clear danger to society much like a drug user/seller which can intentionally kill people owning a knife isn't illegal killing someone intentionally with a knife is when a man knowingly takes drugs he infringes on his/her life. Alcohol is legal however drinking while driving is illegal why? Common sense you infringe on another's right to life, so the gov't stops you from infringing. and can you expand what you mean by coerce people for non violent crimes I don't know what that means at all.
Posted by GeoLaureate8 5 years ago
GeoLaureate8
RFD:

Wow. Why does Con have any points? Yeah, his argument was persuasive, but failed to prove a fundamental point. He didn't prove that the government has the right to initiate force on those who use and sell drugs. Yeah, drugs can lead to harmful things, but so can cars, knives, and even water. Arguing that it's okay to coerce people for non-violent crimes is futile and that's what Con was doing.
Posted by TUF 5 years ago
TUF
Agree before: Con.
Agree After: Con.
Conduct: Tie.
S/G: Tie. Both were good with this. I notice like one spelling mistake the whole debate.
Convincing arguments: Pro. See RFD
Sources: Tie. Both debaters Had vast amount of sources, going over them, I find no card credibility problems on either side.

I had to vote Pro in this debate given the arguments. Don't get me wrong, both debaters did extremely well, however the impacts were rather lacking on Con, side while, I found no problem with the Pro's.

For example, Con argues deterrence. I have heard this argument many times in my four years of debate, and still have never seen an impacting situation where it's worked. Basically it's a prayer or a wish that we hope will work, rather than an alternative.

However, this isn't why I had to drop the argument. I had to drop it because you didn't really argue deterrence, you just gave a bunch of examples of how when it was legalized, rates of use were skyrocketed. So I'm left basically shrugging my shoulders thinking "So what?"
This could have been a great argument.

I did buy, however, your argument that the market would still be open to young adults, IE teens.

The big arguments for me was that Pro IMO did a better job of proving how WOD was wasting money, and proves health risks are comparatively lower than some legal substances.

The race debates among a few other less impacting arguments, I felt were extra, not as impacting as the other.

What this debate came down to in the end though, was proving that the use of drugs would infringe upon anothers rights. Con says that we pay for it via tax dollars to hospitals and such, etc. However again taking into account that alcohol was proven by pro to be more harmful, the argument essentially falls. Other than that there was no big arguments showing me how drugs were so harmful to the rest of the world.
This was a very informing and entertaining debate, and both debaters did amazing! Good luck in the nex
Posted by System113 5 years ago
System113
"Do not separate text from historical background. If you do, you will have perverted and subverted the Constitution, which can only end in a distorted, bastardized form of illegitimate government."–James Madison
Posted by Sieben 5 years ago
Sieben
Appeal to authority. The founder's interpretation is not supported by the *literal* meaning of the document. Its funny how you have to rely on their activist interpretation, because it means that you're conceding the constitution itself is not a source of authority/validity.
Posted by System113 5 years ago
System113
"They are not to do anything they please to provide for the general welfare.... [G]iving a distinct and independent power to do any act they please which may be good for the Union, would render all the preceding and subsequent enumerations of power completely useless. It would reduce the whole instrument to a single phrase, that of instituting a Congress with power to do whatever would be for the good of the United States; and as they sole judges of the good or evil, it would be also a power to do whatever evil they please."
-- Thomas Jefferson

"With respect to the two words 'general welfare,' I have always regarded them as qualified by the detail of powers connected with them. To take them in a literal and unlimited sense would be a metamorphosis of the Constitution into a character which there is a host of proofs was not contemplated by its creators." --James Madison
Posted by Sieben 5 years ago
Sieben
It does not say that. It says Congress can do X, Y and Z. It does not say "in order to" or "because" or anything like that.
Posted by System113 5 years ago
System113
Power X is to be used on Y and Z.
12 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Vote Placed by headphonegut 5 years ago
headphonegut
BlackVoidDanielleTied
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Total points awarded:50 
Reasons for voting decision: In the Pro's first argument we should have seen why drugs should be legalized not the duty of gov'ts on a person. I don't see how the WoD is relevant, I don't see how the impact of anti-drug efforts helps better understand why we should legalize drugs, and health risks show how people trade one drug for another. the only real contention is the last one. Then both contenders go into an argument about the negatives case which is silly. The aff. has the burden of proof. And the neg did quite well.
Vote Placed by Jillianl 5 years ago
Jillianl
BlackVoidDanielleTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Con picked and chose what parts to refute while Pro dealt with con's arguments more thoroughly. I was on the fence about this for a long time, but pro's convinced me! :)
Vote Placed by kweef 5 years ago
kweef
BlackVoidDanielleTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro did a good job at stating how costly the war on drugs is and how the government does not have the right to infringe on peoples rights.
Vote Placed by GeoLaureate8 5 years ago
GeoLaureate8
BlackVoidDanielleTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Wow. Why does Con have any points? Yeah, his argument was persuasive, but failed to prove a fundamental point. He didn't prove that the government has the right to initiate force on those who use and sell drugs. Yeah, drugs can lead to harmful things, but so can cars, knives, and even water. Arguing that it's okay to coerce people for non-violent crimes is futile and that's what Con was doing.
Vote Placed by TUF 5 years ago
TUF
BlackVoidDanielleTied
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Total points awarded:07 
Reasons for voting decision: All seven via tournament rules. See comments for RFD.
Vote Placed by feverish 5 years ago
feverish
BlackVoidDanielleTied
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Reasons for voting decision: See comments.
Vote Placed by socialpinko 5 years ago
socialpinko
BlackVoidDanielleTied
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Total points awarded:07 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro argued excellently for the legalization of drugs. Con had trouble even keeping up.
Vote Placed by Grape 5 years ago
Grape
BlackVoidDanielleTied
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Reasons for voting decision: See comments. Changing my vote to 7 points as per tournament rules.
Vote Placed by LaissezFaire 5 years ago
LaissezFaire
BlackVoidDanielleTied
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Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments. Also, are we doing 7 point votes or regular votes? Still unclear on that, but I'll do 7 for now. There was some discussion in the thread, but I think Freeman should send out a message to everyone in the tournament to clarify the issue.
Vote Placed by RoyLatham 5 years ago
RoyLatham
BlackVoidDanielleTied
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Reasons for voting decision: I think the debate came down to a comparison of evidence with respect to public harm. Con's evidence was stronger. I'm bound by tournament rules to give all 7 points to the winner. Otherwise all would be tied except arguments.