The Instigator
zippo12321
Pro (for)
Winning
36 Points
The Contender
PervRat
Con (against)
Losing
34 Points

Legalization of Drugs in the United States

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/18/2009 Category: Politics
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 3,018 times Debate No: 7883
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (5)
Votes (12)

 

zippo12321

Pro

First, I would like to thank whoever is taking interest in this topic. Your open-mind is helping us to move in the right direction as a nation. I would also like to thank my opponent for taking this debate.

I will begin by summarizing three popular arguments for the prohibition of drugs, and explain why these are not valid justifications for prohibition. I will focus mainly on the popular drugs that are still in Schedule I—the highest ranking of a "dangerous drug", under federal law.

Contention 1 - Life and Health of Users

I read the following statement in a related debate: "…illegal drugs have no medical benefit and lead to psychological and physical dependency." It is wrong to suggest that illegal drugs have no medical benefit. I will give several examples of popular illegal drugs with recognized medical use, in order to show the audience that our current drug policy is inaccurate, at best.

A) Marijuana: Has undoubtedly proven to have medicinal use, and to this day has not taken a single life due to overdose. It is ranked as a higher threat than both cocaine and methamphetamine (speed), by Federal Scheduling. This is a prime example of our radical, unrealistic drug policy.

http://www.erowid.org...

B) MDMA(Ecstasy): MDMA was synthesized in 1965 by Dr. Alexander Shulgin. After analyzing the drug's effects himself, he offered MDMA for experimentation to psychologist and friend Leo Zeff, who was preparing for retirement. Several days later, Shulgin receives a call from Zeff, who had tried the MDMA. He no longer wanted to retire. Zeff immediately begins practice with MDMA for a wide array of psychological disorders, particularly for it's ability to help patients overcome emotional barriers. By the time Dr. Zeff passed away years later, his network of therapists administering the drug to patients rose to over 4,000. Today, there are trials considering MDMA as a primary treatment for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

http://www.cognitiveliberty.org...

C) Cocaine: It is the only naturally occurring local anesthetic in medical use today. It is still used in hospitals for operative procedures of the nose and throat, as well as for dermal lacerations in children.

http://emedicine.medscape.com...

I hope I have shown these drugs have some medical use and, for certain people, may be beneficial.

To suggest that the majority of illegal drugs used are addictive, both physically and psychologically, is more than just a generalization. The majority of the illegal drug market is for marijuana. Marijuana is not physically addictive in recreational doses. The psychological addiction of marijuana is identical to an addiction to video games, television, or sex. MDMA shares the same type of non-physical addiction.

The article below shows a recent study performed by Professor David Nutt from the University of Bristol, and Professor Colin Blakemore, Chief Executive of the Medical Research Council UK. They ranked a variety of illegal drugs based on addiction, the actual harm to the user, to their families and communities, and society. The results were promising and showed that alcohol, a very legal drug, is quite near the top of the list.

http://www.sciencedaily.com...

http://www.infactah.com...

As with alcohol, individuals should be held accountable for their actions, and charged accordingly. People should not be arrested for simply possessing these substances, as we cannot distinguish responsible users from irresponsible addicts.

Contention 2 – A Rise in Crime

There is no conclusive evidence to suggest that crime would increase with the legalization of any drug. In fact, there is evidence to suggest the opposite. Prohibition of Alcohol in the 1920's led to the creation of a black market, and gang-lords like Al Capone. Everyone would still drink alcohol, but now they were criminals who purchased their drinks on the black market. There were gang wars involving alcohol, in which many lives were lost. Since there will always be a demand for drugs, the prohibition of any substance will directly lead to the creation of a black market, and more violence.

A recent change of policy in Switzerland supports this principle. In 1994, Swiss voters legalized heroin in a clinical setting. Addicts are given free heroin at local clinics in regulated amounts, supervised by a nurse. This led to a drop in ALL drug-related crime. In addition to keeping addicts from committing crime to pay for their habit, it also reduced the occurrence of open-drug scenes, and helped addicts to live more responsible lives by attending the clinic twice a day for their "treatment". The mortality rate (death) of heroin users dropped from 2.5% to 1% after legalization. This is another clear example of how the elimination of a black market, and offering support to addicts, can help a society as a whole.

http://www.drugwarfacts.org...

http://www.sciencedirect.com...

There is no reason to believe that the amount of DUI's involving recreational drugs would increase after legalization. Users who make the mistake of driving while intoxicated did just that—they drove while intoxicated. People who drive while on speed, coke, crack, heroin, or otherwise would most likely drive on alcohol, as well. Those who would drive while on these drugs probably already do. The supposition that the amount of irresponsible drivers would increase if drugs were legalized is unrelated and absurd.

In addition, when someone is already catalogued as a criminal, they are more likely to commit crimes. We see this every day as people leave our prison system, only to return a few weeks later. There are many addicts who don't want to be criminals, they just want to use their drug of choice, safely and uninterrupted. But when society and law already label them as criminals anyway, what's to stop them from deciding to drive a few miles while high? For our own safety, we have to legalize these drugs.

Contention 3 – Legalization Will Not Increase Popularity or Usage

The most popular argument against legalization is that it would increase usage. Most would agree that during alcohol prohibition, there was no change in usage. One study suggests there may have been a very slight decrease in alcohol-related deaths during prohibition, but there was a gradual decrease in the years before prohibition, which suggests that it simply lost popularity during this time. Negative propaganda flooded the media, and citizens were promised positive change with the prohibition of alcohol:

"The reign of tears is over. The slums will soon be a memory. We will turn our prisons into factories and our jails into storehouses and corncribs. Men will walk upright now, women will smile, and the children will laugh. Hell will be forever for rent." - quoted in Kohler, 1973, 12.

But for those who wanted alcohol, there was surely no change. Consumption was virtually the same before, during, and after prohibition.

Another significant bit of research is that of the Netherlands, where marijuana became legal. Upon legalization, marijuana usage in the Netherlands stayed constant, and much lower than that of the U.S. However, once it was popularized with marijuana-based coffee shops, tourism brought an increase in the 1980's. This suggests that usage is not determined by legality, but by popularity.

http://berkeley.edu...

I am truly grateful for the opportunity to debate this topic, and I thank all of you who have read along thus far. To my opponent, I am eager to hear your opposition and I thank you for your time.
PervRat

Con

Thank you for my opponent in choosing this debate.

I intend to prove, in my arguments, that illicit drugs should not be fully legalized and, in fact, some of the currently 'legal' drugs should be more restricted. I will not contest that some drugs are infeasibly rated in terms of being a threat nor that the government's hysteria regarding certain drugs. I further believe that a doctor should be allowed to prescribe any drug they consider, in their professional medical opinion, to be appropriate for a patient's case, so I will not argue against bonafide medical use. I do not feel this necessary.

My biggest (though not only) gripe with drug use is with secondhand smoke. Most smokers of either tobacco or marijuana are far too careless, in my experience, in respecting the choices of others to not smoke. I had to move out of a household where I was renting a room (and was the secondmost senior of some 5 roommates) because they frequently smoked tobacco cigarettes or marijuana in locations where the odor wafted into my room, and would give me very painful and dizzying migraine headaches. No one should be forced to be exposed to drugs, and secondhand smoke (again, whether its tobacco or marijuana) is itself a drug. If I lived in a house where marijuana was heavily smoked, though I did not myself smoke it, a "hair" drug test would likely indicate (with enough exposure) consumption and get me fired from a job, to say nothing of the personal medical harm and the non-consentual drug exposure.

Exposing anyone to drugs who does not consent should be legally considered an assault, to me, the same as slipping someone a 'roofie.' If you slipped something like a roofie into, say, a pitcher of water in a fridge specifically to target one person in a house, but everyone took enough of the water from that pitcher to get exposed, shouldn't you get prosecuted for the others you pushed the drug on, even if it wasn't intentional? The same should be true of marijuana or even already-legal tobacco cigarettes/cigars/pipe smoking.

So, as I said I would, I aim to make it a case that even "legal" drugs today should be more (much more strictly) regulated.

In addition, any mind-altering drug should be illegal to operate a vehicle or heavy machinery while under the influence, and driving under the influence should be treated the same as "attempted manslaughter" -- you are a deadly danger to others. You should also be forbidden from carrying a firearm when under the influence of any mind-altering substance.

== REBUTTALS TO PRO'S ARGUMENTS ==
Does Pro truly feel Ecstasy or Cocaine are safe to allow to be legally available to anyone "over the counter" (that is, with no doctor's monitoring or prescription)? Both have a large pile of bodies from overdose abusers and those who attempted to drive or operate heavy machinery under their influence.

To suggest drugs aren't addicitve is ridiculous. Caffeine, Alcohol and Nicotene, three -legal- drugs, are proven to be highly addictive, as have (to my knowledge) all illicit drugs.

Marijuana: http://www.marijuanaaddiction.info... - "Addiction to marijuana is severe due to its affect on the user's brain. Scientists now know many facts about marijuana's effect on the body and how delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the major active chemical in Marijuana, acts in the human brain. When marijuana is smoked, THC travels quickly through the body and into the brain where it unites with specific receptors on nerve cells. Areas of the brain with the most receptors affected by THC are parts of the brain that control pleasure, thought, memory, sensory, concentration, time perception, and coordination. It's these areas of the brain that are most likely to be affected when an individual faces marijuana addiction."

Cocaine: http://www.emedicinehealth.com... - "Research with cocaine has shown that all laboratory animals can become compulsive cocaine users. Animals will work more persistently at pressing a bar for cocaine than for any drug, including opiates. An addicted monkey pressed the bar 12,800 times until it got a single dose of cocaine. If the animal survives, it will return to the task of obtaining more cocaine."

Ecstasy: http://www.maliburecovery.com... - "Ecstasy abuse can lead to tolerance, dependence and ecstasy addiction. A survey of young adult and adolescents found that 43 percent of those who reported a history of ecstasy abuse met the accepted criteria for dependence, as evidenced by continued ecstasy use despite physical or psychological harm, withdrawal effects, and tolerance. Almost 60 percent of people who abuse ecstasy report withdrawal symptoms, including fatigue, loss of appetite, depressed feelings, and trouble concentrating."

The notion that drug abuse will not increase if those drugs are legalized I also disagree with. During prohibition, while it is true drinking alcohol remained popular, I believe a lot of people who drank alcohol stopped using when it became illegal for fear of being treated as a criminal. Likewise, the illegitimacy of drugs suppresses the market to a bit. Of course there is a large black market, but the open market would be much greater -- its not hard to imagine marijuana use rising to the levels of tobacco use, for instance.

Thank you to Pro for taking this argument up to me. I certainly hope I can throw some unexpected things at him and not be a stereotypical drugophobe. I look forward to this debate.
Debate Round No. 1
zippo12321

Pro

Once again, I am grateful to my opponent for taking this topic. He mentioned some excellent points, and I intend to retrace each of them in order to substantiate my position against the War on Drugs.

First, I would like to clarify to my opponent that my stance on legalization is not that of a free market for all drugs. Selling crack at grocery stores would not help America. However, I do believe that if drugs were legalized that some lower-harm drugs, such as marijuana and possibly even MDMA, should be accessible to adults and purchased at specialty shops with a structure similar to that of alcohol. For more dangerous, highly addictive drugs, in-hospital regulation would be ideal. Addicts get their habitual drug of choice at a designated clinic, where they receive it free of charge, or for a small fee. As I mentioned before, the Swiss had excellent results with this method.

http://www.drugwarfacts.org...

Response 1 – Secondhand Smoke Increase?

My opponent first mentioned the issue of secondhand smoke:

"My biggest (though not only) gripe with drug use is with secondhand smoke."

This is a very important issue, as nobody should be compelled to inhale smoke if they choose not to. California currently has laws against smoking inside of public buildings. I support such laws. In addition, indoor smoking will likely decrease if outdoor smoking is legal, because smokers won't fear being arrested.

Con believes that sporadic secondhand inhalation of marijuana could lead to a failed drug test for non-smokers. This is not true. Passive, secondhand smoke of cannabis will not cause a failed drug test. Researchers at the National Institute on Drug Abuse published a study on marijuana use and the fallacy of hair tests, where 36% of subjects who smoked and ingested marijuana earlier that week passed the test, under the standard fair testing concentration of 0.10pg/mg. Secondhand inhalation, therefore, would not be substantial for a positive hair result.

http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov...

Nor would it on standardized urine tests, according to Discovery Drug Testing: "…the urine concentration, if any, will be way below the cut-off level."

http://www.drugtestpa.com...

Since my opponent went on to describe secondhand smoke as being comparable to using a "roofie"(date-rape drug), I will remind him that this debate is not of the issue of secondhand smoke, which I am against in all cases. This debate is to determine whether or not people should be sent to prison for their drug use as an ideal method of harm reduction in the United States.

Non-violent, taxpaying citizens should not be arrested, having their permanent records destroyed because of a personal habit. We have a choice to live in the same household as them, same as we have a choice to live with someone who smokes cigarettes. In either case, these people should not have their credibility permanently obliterated by a criminal record that will follow them forever.

Response 2 – Drug Addiction

My opponent stated his concern for the following:

"Does Pro truly feel Ecstasy or Cocaine are safe to allow to be legally available to anyone 'over the counter' (that is, with no doctor's monitoring or prescription)? Both have a large pile of bodies from overdose abusers and those who attempted to drive or operate heavy machinery under their influence."

Let us remember that 39% of U.S. traffic fatalities in 2005 were alcohol-related, a legal drug. Illegal drug associations were much less frequent. But keep in mind, my position is not to support drugged or drunk driving. Driving under the influence of anything is a crime, and should remain so.

http://www.dot.gov...

Although cocaine causes less death to users than alcohol, it is a terrible, physically addictive drug that ruins lives. I don't believe that any physically addictive drug should be readily available for the public. Drugs like these should be available in a clinical setting. These addicts are physically unable to quit, and most drugs with this type of addiction are known to promote violent behavior. Therefore, professional help in a safe, clinical environment is the only way.

However, suggesting that Ecstasy (MDMA) would have a large pile of bodies if legalized is bad science. The exaggeration of the mortality rate of MDMA has frightened Americans for years. This fear is irrational, which is why regulated Ecstasy should be available for responsible adults.

According to SAMHSA, approximately 60 deaths were attributed to MDMA (or "Ecstasy") use in 2000. Based on these figures, the approximate death toll for Ecstasy is 2 per 100,000 users. This is comparable to alcohol deaths with a rate of 50 per 100,000.

Keep in mind that these 60 deaths (or 2 per 100,000) for MDMA were attributed to anyone who checked into a hospital reportedly having used "Ecstasy". Unfortunately, the majority of "Ecstasy" on the street today contains little or no MDMA. This suggests that a major portion of reported MDMA deaths were not only attributed to MDMA.

The site below is dedicated to scientifically testing street Ecstasy samples. The results of non-purity in these tests are absolutely remarkable.

http://www.ecstasydata.org...

This dangerous lack of purity in Ecstasy is due to black market regulation. With government regulation, purity could be ensured and drug dealers would no longer be poisoning Ecstasy users.

The only associated dangers with pure MDMA are that of hyperthermia (overheating) and hyponatremia (too much liquid). Hyperthermia, or heatstroke, can be caused by various factors including room temperature, physical activity, and water intake. Deaths of this type are typically associated in "rave" environments, in which users are dancing for several hours in a heated environment without drinking sufficient fluids. Hyponatremia, on the other hand, is caused by excessive fluid intake, and is not necessarily attributed to MDMA. In these cases, people have deliberately taken in gallons of fluid due to fear of overheating. Keep in mind, both of these causes are extremely rare and occur in only a fraction of a percent of MDMA users.

http://www.erowid.org...

My opponent mentions how certain legal drugs are addictive:

"To suggest drugs aren't addicitve is ridiculous. Caffeine, Alcohol and Nicotene, three -legal- drugs, are proven to be highly addictive, as have (to my knowledge) all illicit drugs."

Some drugs are highly addictive, and some slightly. But our laws are not based on addiction potential. The problem with prohibition is that our government decides, without reason, who goes to jail and who doesn't. It is fundamentally wrong to say "the people who use our favorite drugs can do it legally, but the people who use these other drugs go to jail".

Caffeine, Alcohol, and Nicotine provide very little benefit to the user. They lead to addiction, and in many cases, death. So why then are the users of more beneficial, less addictive, and less deadly drugs being sent to jail? There is no just cause for this incarceration.

Response 3 – Prohibition

Con states:

"I believe a lot of people who drank alcohol stopped using when it became illegal for fear of being treated as a criminal."

There is not conclusive evidence to suggest that alcohol consumption decreased during prohibition. I assessed this in the previous round. Alcohol use, and other drug use, is determined by popularity—not by legality.

http://berkeley.edu...

In conclusion, we must end this War on Drugs. The only result is more casualties and more harm to the families of these victims.

Thank you again for your time.
PervRat

Con

Secondhand smoke

I'm afraid my opponent missed or dodged my point. Indoor or outdoor, exposing anyone to secondhand smoke who does not consent to it should be considered an assault. It is no better to have to endure clouds of tobacco smoke clustered around a doorway or just outside an office window than to have to inhale it indoors. The same goes for marijuana use ... it was not infrequent but daily and regularly that I was exposed to secondhand marijana smoke. When I was pulled over for a traffic stop, the officer accused -me- of being a marijuana user apparantly because I was exposed to so much secondhand smoke that it was soaked into my hair or clothes, much the same way someone living in a smoking household reeks of lit cigarettes, even if they themselves do not smoke. There have been several confirmed cases of elevated incidents of lung cancer among people who did not smoke but were regularly around secondhand smoke.

Under no circumstance and in no location should you be allowed to expose an unwitting victim to secondhand smoke. If you own your own home, you should be required to post signs warning visitors they may be exposed to secondhand smoke in your home if they visit you. Your smoke (regardless of whether it is tobacco or marijuana ... again, I think "legal drugs" like tobacco need stricter regulation!) must not drift into a neighbor's property, or that too should constitute an assault. Keep your bad gas to yourself! And anyone exposing underaged minors to secondhand smoke should be given the same penalty as if they had given the below-legal-age minor the cigarettes or marijuana (if marijuana were given the same legality-with-restrictions as tobacco in this hypothetical if-I-made-the-laws scenario). Parents who do so regularly should be considered as abusing their children, since studies have shown children exposed to secondhand smoke regularly will be disadvantaged in academic performance in school.

If I have medical reactions to secondhand smoke, it is too strong and I don't trust a drug user's promise that I wouldn't suffer a failed drug test because of it. If an officer smelled it on me and suspected I myself was a user, I feel I have good cause to believe I would be in danger of failing a drug test, despite an drug abuser's assurances.

Does drinking and driving constitute a non-violent, taxpaying citizen to Pro? Mind altering substances, by their very definition, impair judgement and perception. A person's behavior and ability to carry out regular tasks can become unreliable and unpredictable rather quickly under the influence of a mind-altering substance. I often work around dangerous machinery, should I not be concerned whether the operators of those machinery are under the influence? It takes only a slight hesitation for a forklift operator to take my life due to their use of drugs that Pro asserts are safe.

An individual's right to enjoy themselves, to me, should not infringe my right to my own personal health and safety. The use of mind-altering substances -- drugs -- must be kept tightly controlled and regulated, and again while I agree some adjustments need to be made, in my mind there are quite a few drugs that need even tighter regulation than they do now. Anything with "secondhand smoke" effects should be consumable only in sealed areas built expressly for that purpose to avoid the slightest exposure to any unwilling person. No outdoor smoking, no hanging outside a public building nor in a work truck (which is where I was exposed to secondhand smoke on one jobsite ... unfortunately most places don't regulate work trucks for secondhand smoke, my state certainly doesn't).

Again, I believe some drugs could stand to be "less illegal" than now, but they should be much more tightly regulated than alcohol or nicotene are today -- and alcohol and nicotene should have their use more tightly regulated. I would not have a problem with, say, tobacco cigarettes and marijuana being given similar restrictions, but it should be much more controlled than tobacco cigarettes are today anywhere in the U.S.
Debate Round No. 2
zippo12321

Pro

I will respond to each issue presented by my opponent, followed by my conclusion to this debate.

-Response 1 – Secondhand smoke, revisited.

Con seems to believe that secondhand smoke is dangerous, even outdoors, and that no smoking should be allowed anywhere:

"Indoor or outdoor, exposing anyone to secondhand smoke who does not consent to it should be considered an assault."

I don't wish to take this on, as this is a completely different topic than drug legalization, but I do find it odd that my opponent thinks there is not enough air in the world for outdoor smokers.

My opponent continued to stress the importance of secondhand smoke by suggesting that legal marijuana would cause lung cancer:

"There have been several confirmed cases of elevated incidents of lung cancer among people who did not smoke but were regularly around secondhand smoke."

Fortunately, marijuana does not cause lung cancer. This has been confirmed by several studies and is accepted by the scientific community. Researchers at the University of Salerno have been studying marijuana compounds as "anti-tumour drugs, based on the ability of some members of this class… to limit cell proliferation and to induce tumour-selective cell death". Basically, it is going to be used to treat lung cancer.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov...

http://esciencenews.com...

I would like to express my sympathy to my opponent for having to deal with such impolite marijuana smokers in the past. They should not be smoking at such close proximity to a non-smoker. However, that is an issue between my opponent and his roommates. It does not, and should not, involve Federal Law.

I will quote one more statement from my opponent on the issue of secondhand smoke, before I move on:

"Your smoke must not drift into a neighbor's property, or that too should constitute an assault."

Clearly, my opponent has very radical views on secondhand smoke, which he believes constitutes prohibition. I am not convinced.

-Response 2 – Public Health and Safety

I will list several statements and questions by my opponent, with my responses:

"Does drinking and driving constitute a non-violent, taxpaying citizen to Pro?"

I don't know where my opponent was going with this, but I assure you, the audience, that I would never recommend drunk or drugged driving. Impaired driving is, and should always remain, illegal.

"…should I not be concerned whether the operators of those machinery are under the influence? It takes only a slight hesitation for a forklift operator to take my life due to their use of drugs that Pro asserts are safe."

Con claims that I've asserted that drugs are safe to use with heavy machinery, when I've suggested no such thing. No drugs are safe for use with heavy machinery, legal or not.

My opponent concluded his previous response, as follows:

"Again, I believe some drugs could stand to be "less illegal" than now, but they should be much more tightly regulated than alcohol or nicotene are today -- and alcohol and nicotene should have their use more tightly regulated."

Con believes that some drugs should be "less illegal", which is like putting a Band-Aid on a severed artery; it's just not enough. The War on Drugs is destroying lives and wasting our tax dollars. Making drugs "less illegal" doesn't eliminate the black market, and it certainly doesn't make it easier for addicts to quit. We need to take a different approach on drug control, and let the people of the United States know that the government is not out there to control their behavior. It is here to protect it's people, to help them, and to ensure freedom whenever possible. The current policy is much closer to the opposite.

-Conclusive Response

I hope that you, the audience, have taken this debate seriously, as it isn't comical to the families and loved ones of the people killed or incarcerated in this Drug War. Gang violence is at an all-time high, and is supported by the black market that prohibition creates. So, we must put an end to this War. Prison is for people we're afraid of— not for people we're mad at.

I appreciate everyone who has read along thus far. Vote in favor of Drug Legalization in the United States. Thank you for your time.
PervRat

Con

I disagree that secondhand smoke should not be an issue of law -- again, exposing anyone who does not consent (or anyone not of the age of consent) to secondhand drugs (tobacco or marijuana or anything else smoked) should be considered an assault.

"I don't know where my opponent was going with this ..."

Pro was asserting drug consumption is harmless and non-violent. I used his own phrase back at him. Operating dangerous vehicles or machinery under the influence of any intoxicant to me is violent, in contrast to my opponent's statement that:

"Non-violent, taxpaying citizens should not be arrested, having their permanent records destroyed because of a personal habit."

Driving drunk is an example of a personal habit that is violent, for which I wish there were a federal law regarded as a violent felony. The same should ring true of operating any vehicle, machinery or firearm while under the influence of any intoxicants -- and the law should be made to put a stop to habitual offenders, anyone found guilty say, three times of such offenses should have their driver's AND gun licenses permanently suspended as they've infringed the safety of the others to the point they are too much of a danger (and have, in my book, given up their right to bear arms or drive) to innocent people. If they cannot control their "personal habit," they can indeed be a violent threat to others.

With that in mind, re-read my opponent's claim that personal drug habits are not a violent offense. Remember it is you and me on the roadways, in a factory, or next door to a neighbor who likes to intoxicate him or herself to the point they are impotent to control themselves with a gun in their possession. Where does their right to have fun end? Shouldn't it end where it infringes on your personal health and safety?

Today's world is very stressful. It is, unfortunately, understandable to me that people seek to self-medicate away from stress and anxiety. Some turn to drugs, some to other vices. I think we all need 'escapes.' I do not blame someone for this, and if it were possible for someone's drug habit to stay strictly to themselves without endangering others, I would be okay with that.

However, drugs are as I described -- mind-altering substances. No one under the influence of a mind-altering substance is in a right mind to operate machinery or a vehicle, nor stay in control of a firearm. "Aww, c'mon, I just wanna have fun!" could be used to excuse a lot of stupid behaviors, frankly. While I sincerely respect the stress people endure, their escapes from that stress should not infringe the safety of others -- that only increases the stress on others.

This debate is no more comical to those who have overdosed or taken a mind-altering substance and gone on to kill themselves or others in an "accident" ... but anything that happens under the influence of a mind-altering substance is no accident, unless the exposure to that drug was not intentional. Any activity, such as drug abuse, that provides a serious threat to public safety must remain tightly regulated. While I would not be adverse to the laxing of some laws, overall drugs need to be heavily regulated to avoid more tragic yet very preventable deaths.

I thank you who has read, and respect my opponent for a different view, but in the end I hope a majority of the audience will vote opposed to eliminating legal restrictions on the consumption of mind-altering substances for non-medicinal use. Namaste.
Debate Round No. 3
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by zippo12321 7 years ago
zippo12321
Thank you so much, Rahl. That's an excellent point. That's actually been proven in the Swiss study I mentioned, as well. Here's a quote from the Lancet, a respected medical journal:

"The harm reduction policy of Switzerland and its emphasis on the medicalisation of the heroin problem seems to have contributed to the image of heroin as unattractive for young people." -Vol. 367, June 3, 2006, p. 1830.

The policy referred to above is identical to what I am suggesting for the hard drugs in America. You may believe that legalization will cause a spike in usage, but the fact remains that it won't.

I completely agree with everything you said here:

"And in regards to guns, its the same as DUI ... you should not possess a gun if you are under the influence. If you become intoxicated in public or are caught operating machinery, a car or possessing a gun while intoxicated, you should lose your rights to all of them."

No reason to debate that. Lastly, you said:

"Just saying 'Legalize drugs' is ludicrous. The danger of drugs must be respected, and by the extension anyone under the influence. Letting someone do marijuana, cocaine or even tobacco or alcohol without restriction is not reasonable."

There are restrictions, and they should be the same with alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana. Ages 18/21+, and no driving under the influence. Cocaine, however, should only be issued in a clinical setting, like the Swiss heroin program. Physically addictive and dangerous drugs should be dealt with in this way.
Posted by Ragnar_Rahl 7 years ago
Ragnar_Rahl
"Its a simple question: Is there anyone out there who has been curious about, say, marijuana but has shied away because it is illegal?"
No, because there's also another question on top of it: Is there anyone out there who would have no interest in, say, marijuana, except that they wanna feel like a badass rebel?

:)
Posted by PervRat 7 years ago
PervRat
Drug use /will/ increase with legalization. Its a simple question: Is there anyone out there who has been curious about, say, marijuana but has shied away because it is illegal? Zippo, your assertion legalization would not increase use would demand the answer is no, there is no one out there, not a single soul has decided against drug experimentation because it is illegal.

And in regards to guns, its the same as DUI ... you should not possess a gun if you are under the influence. If you become intoxicated in public or are caught operating machinery, a car or possessing a gun while intoxicated, you should lose your rights to all of them.

Just saying "Legalize drugs" is ludicrous. The danger of drugs must be respected, and by the extension anyone under the influence. Letting someone do marijuana, cocaine or even tobacco or alcohol without restriction is not reasonable.
Posted by zippo12321 7 years ago
zippo12321
GUNS? I don't want to give anybody guns to play with. Are we suggesting that people will run rampant and play with guns if drugs are legalized??? LEGALIZED DRUGS=PLAY WITH GUNS? How are we assuming that people will become more dangerous if drugs are legalized? DRUG USE WILL NOT INCREASE SOLELY BECAUSE OF LEGALIZATION. Somebody, please, fill me in. This is my first debate, so perhaps I'm just confused, but I honestly don't see Con's viewpoint here. Gun use will not increase with legalization. It will decrease. ALL drug-related crime will decrease. I've already proven this, and cited my scientific resources. What more can I do? Maybe we're suggesting that somebody will get so high that they'll go play with a gun. But that doesn't happen. And if it did, it would happen much less often than the drive-by shootings we support with our current legal structure. Sadly, though, I think most of the conservative right America will vote this agenda down, due to omnipresent fear. I hope one day Americans can stand up and see what a safe, rational society looks like. I'll probably leave before then, though. Too much ignorance and fear in this country...

Thank you Con, for this debate. I did enjoy it, as it was my first. However, this has been a debate with a "stereotypical drugophobe", as you said. Your fears of gun-toting druggies and bumper-car crackheads are unsettling. For the sake of those rotting in prison, I hope you change your views.
Posted by zippo12321 7 years ago
zippo12321
I still don't understand why my opponent believes DUI's would increase with Legalization. It's a separate issue, and I wish we could have discussed more than that. DUI's are never okay, and I said that multiple times in my arguments. That has absolutely nothing to do with legalization. Drugged driving would not increase with legalization, and as I said, it "is and always should remain ILLEGAL".
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