Legalising the Drugs Trade: Reducing Crime or Increasing Addiction?
Debate Rounds (2)
Why would they have come to this apparently radical conclusion? First, regulating drugs is not radical, it is the norm for most globalised trades and widespread human behaviours (especially those that involve risk); and second, the committee recognised that the global prohibition of production, supply and possession of non-medical drugs creates massive unintended consequences.
Claims for both outcomes are unconvincing. The experience of our existing regulated tobacco and alcohol markets show that the government would be quite unable to regulate a drug market. Both tobacco and alcohol are readily available, purchased and consumed by those under the age of sixteen. If the government were to take on the regulated supply of heroin and cocaine, we can expect these drugs also to become widely available to young people.
But perhaps the strongest argument against legalisation is the possibility that it would lead to much wider drug use. Transform recently undertook an analysis of what a regulated drug market might look like and how much money it might save the government. Their report acknowledged that they could not predict how much drug use could grow under legalisation although their worst case scenario was a 100% increase in the current level. In the case of heroin that would mean an increase from under 1% to under 2%.
History suggests that that is very far from a worst case scenario. In China at the time of the opium wars it was estimated that 10% of the population was addicted to opium. What would the UK look like if instead of the current estimate of around 330,000 heroin addicts there were three million.
The supporters of legalisation will claim that heroin use could simply not increase to that degree and that most of those who want to use it are already doing so. But that is to assume that if the drug were legal there would be few others who would want to use it who are currently deterred by the risk of prosecution. The fact is that heroin is a lot more pleasant to use in the early stages that alcohol or tobacco and infinitely more additive than either of these two drugs. In time under a legalised regime we could see a steady increase in the numbers of heroin users and addicts.
For some people, making drugs illegal seems like an unwanted intrusion into personal freedom. Drug use though is not a victimless crime, even when it may seem so to the drug user. In the UK some 400,000 children are being brought up in homes with addict parents. Legalisation of illegal drugs would not help those children; it would simply mean that their addicted parents now had a legal supplier to turn to.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by thett3 3 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: This debate would have been a lot better if A. There was another round and B. the debates engaged each others arguments instead of just saying things. There was absolutely no clash and as such I take everything as true at face value, and cons impact of increased use is simply numerically far greater than pros impact of drug turf wars. The other arguments made were pretty inconsequential
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