Opium Should be Legalized
Debate Rounds (4)
Opium"s illegal status is enormously harmful to the economy. Not only are the useful medical applications of opium not fully utilized, the money from the trade is consolidated in the hands of illegal drug dealers, rather than being spread fairly between legal employees, and business owners. Also, lack of legal markets means that the quality of opium products is less predictable and not subject to safety and quality standards, making fraud more rampant than it would be in a legal marketplace.
To attach a criminal penalty to something is a very serious act. In essence, it is the willingness to kidnap someone and lock them in a cell for years. This is justifiable for homicide and theft, things that harm other people. An opium user harms no one but themselves.
Threat to National Security
One of the primary sources of revenue for the Taliban is the opium trade. The Taliban can buy raw opium from desperately poor Afghan farmers for rock bottom prices because there is no legal competitive market that would give those farmers a fair price for their product. Then, the Taliban can sell at incredibly high prices because the risk of jail time dramatically increases heroin"s price. The Taliban also makes money by protecting the opium trade in southern Afghanistan. Protection would not be necessary if opium was legal. Efforts by the U.S. army to punish opium growers, and U.S. police to punish heroin users, drive Afghan villagers into the arms of the Taliban and create a revenue source that the Taliban makes an enormous profit from.
My opponent's first proposition includes a statement that posits that Opium, in its illegal state, is harmful to the economy and has not been used to its medical potential. Opium was in fact used for its medicinal properties in the early 19th century as an analgesic until it was overridden by morphine, a more potent and less addictive cousin. Morphine now dominates the analgesic field for the relief of severe pain, coupled with a close associate Laudanum which deals with sleep promotion and pain alleviation (there also exist other alternatives such as codeine and paregoric). Opium's inherent properties are just not as potent and compatible with these safer and less addictive cousins, which explains why it is not used for its medicinal value. Opium is just not medically sufficient, and the detriments of opium legalization clearly outweigh the benefits. In addition, when Morphine was initially legalized in the United States of America and Europe in the 19th century, people were binging on it and became instantly hooked by its high addictiveness, leading to a surge of Opium-dependent bourgeoisie. 
My opponent's second proposition includes a statement that refers to the accumulation of illegally obtained money from the Opium trade, as opposed to the equal distribution of money by legal employees and business owners. We have witnessed a severe decline in Opium usage since the Westerners and Chinese Opium War in the mid-nineteenth century to more common drugs such as Cannabis, Cocaine and LSD. There exists an entire field of drug trade that exists behind the federal agency's back but removing one drug (a particularly low-profile drug) from the drug trafficking trade will yield nearly nil change in its booming economy. Since Opium is no longer a drug of such high popularity (not a party drug), it's trafficking 'worth' is scant in comparison to Marijuana and Heroine. These more widespread party drugs should be the target of undermining the illicit drug trafficking business as opposed to the low-tune drugs that are sold to minors and tyros for quick money. My opponent also brings up drug quality and safety and quality screening, and decreased fraudulence of drugs in a legal marketplace. This is true to a certain extent, but why is our aim to legalize Opium when we've already identified it as a low caliber, unpopular (not a significant amount of active users and thus a small influence on drug trafficking), un-medical and monochromatic drug? Why legalize Opium when you have other drugs of higher medicinal potency? The crux of my opponent's arguments lies in the medicinal value that Opium bears, but it is evident to anyone who has a degree in the medical sciences, or anyone who has a substantiated knowledge of the properties of drugs (narcotics) that Opium is a weak and ineffective cure to illness or suffering.
My opponent's third proposition is in regards to the inhumane penalties that are imposed onto Opium users. The reason as to why Opium users are subjected to such a harsh penalty lies in the fact that Opium dealers must have an active body of customers in order for their business to prosper and swell. By imposing harsh penalties onto the recipients and buyers of Opium, it can a) be an aid for interrogation purposes in order to identify the dealer and b) can reduce recidivism and resurgence of Opium. This Federal law ensures that as they identify more Opium users, they will be able to narrow down the amount of potentiates for being one of many Opium dealers, and thus, in one aspect, shutting down one or more lynchpins of the Opium production and distribution industry. Oftentimes, Opium is dealt and produced by a few key players, and unlocking the identity and profile of one, interrogating him by coercion can lead to the capture of the other players and thus decimating the drug trafficking.
My opponent's fourth proposition addresses the lucrative Taliban Operation of cultivating poppies and stripping the dried latex off of it to make Opium. I agree that the Opium trade and the mass cultivation of poppies has increased in the Afghanistan region has spiked in recent years but I disagree that legalizing Opium would ameliorate the present conditions. As you may know, the Taliban enforced a ban that disallowed all local farmers to farm Opium, so that the Taliban would have full harvesting capability. They cultivated the plants successfully and distributed them at a high price point, but they've done this to such a large extent that they've neglected to plant new seeds, as Opium is not a perennial plant like tulips are in their respect. The supply of poppy has been nearly exhausted and the inclement weather does not suggest that the Taliban will be replenishing their supply of poppies any time soon; and regardless of whether or not Opium is legalized or not, the Taliban is almost obligated to revert to a new source of income.
I've decided to enlist my arguments in the following round but I'd like to show some rather horrifying Opium statistics.
Opiate abuse and addiction is a dangerous, costly problem in the United States. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports the following statistics regarding opiate abuse in the United States:
Statistics show that Opiate abuse and Opiate addiction cost Americans over $484 billion annually.
This amount includes healthcare costs and abuses of the healthcare system, lost wages, car accidents, crime, and criminal justice system costs. 
Opiate use and addiction is linked to at least 50 percent of the major crimes in the United States; at least half of all suspects arrested for violent crimes (homicide, assault, etc.) were under the influence of opiates when arrested. 
Reports indicate that nearly two-thirds of people in Opiate abuse treatment report were physically or sexually abused as children. 
The 2002 Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) reported that in 2002, heroin-related hospital Emergency Department episodes numbered 93,519. 
According to the 2003 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, an estimated 3.7 million people had used heroin at some time in their lives, and over 119,000 of them reported using it within the month preceding the survey. An estimated 314,000 Americans used heroin in the past year.
The group that represented the highest number of those users was 26 or older. Additionally, 57.4 percent of past year heroin users were classified with dependence on or abuse of heroin; an estimated 281,000 persons received treatment for heroin abuse. 
In 2006, approximately 20.4 million Americans aged 12 or older were current (past month) illicit Opiate users. 
According to the 2009 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration Web Site), 605,000 Americans age 12 and older had abused heroin at least once in the year prior to being surveyed.
According to the Monitoring the Future survey, NIDA's nationwide annual survey of drug use among the Nation's 8th-, 10th-, and 12th-graders, heroin use remained stable from 2003 to 2004. Lifetime heroin use measured 1.6 percent among 8th-graders and 1.5 percent among 10th- and 12th-graders. 
1. "Opium was in fact used for its medicinal properties in the early 19th century as an analgesic until it was overridden by morphine, a more potent and less addictive cousin."
Unfortunately, my opponent does not seem completely familiar with the facts. I"m not sure how this was a problem since I specifically mentioned morphine and heroin in my opening statement, but, to be clear: Morphine is not a cousin of opium, it is opium. Morphine is made by refining the extract of the opium poppy. Heroin is further refined from morphine. (This is a slight oversimplification of the process used to make heroin, but that is not relevant to this debate) Laudanum is a mixture of opium and alcohol. To be clear, MORPHINE IS ILLEGAL. This of course makes morphine more expensive than it would be, and more importantly means that medical use of morphine is surrounded by mountains of paperwork, meaning that morphine is not used medicinally as much as it could be.
2. "In addition, when Morphine was initially legalized in the United States of America and Europe in the 19th century, people were binging on it and became instantly hooked by its high addictiveness, leading to a surge of Opium-dependent bourgeoisie."
Opium was not legalized in the 19th century. It was completely legal (in the United States and Europe) for all of human history up until the late nineteenth century when the first steps were taken to regulate it. In the early twentieth century, it was made illegal. The "Opium-dependent bourgeoisie" my opponent refers to were often creative and productive citizens. The author Wilkie Collins was an opium (laudanum) user and later an addict. This did not prevent him from inventing the detective genre, in fact, he wrote much of his famous novel The Moonstone while under the influence of opium.  The nineteenth century was a period of colossal artistic and political achievement, technological development, and economic growth. We should be very suspicious of claims that drug legalization will lead to rampant laziness and dependency. Western civilization survived for centuries with no drug laws at all.
3. "Since Opium is no longer a drug of such high popularity (not a party drug), it's trafficking 'worth' is scant in comparison to Marijuana and Heroine."
HEROIN IS OPIUM.
4. "There exists an entire field of drug trade that exists behind the federal agency's back but removing one drug (a particularly low-profile drug) from the drug trafficking trade will yield nearly nil change in its booming economy" [the] more widespread party drugs should be the target of undermining the illicit drug trafficking business as opposed to the low-tune drugs"
Obviously heroin and morphine are not "low-profile" drugs and make up a very large part of the illegal drug market. Regardless though, it makes no sense to say that we should not obtain a benefit that we can obtain for free just because it is a small benefit.
My opponent explains that harsh penalties for opium users are necessary to catch opium dealers and prevent opium use. He has not explained how the government is morally justified in pursuing either of those goals. It is generally accepted that a mugger is not morally justified in mugging a person because that person enjoys poetry, or music, or even alcohol. Similarly, we cannot morally mug someone just because that person endangers themselves by playing football. Why do we allow people to kidnap and imprison people who peacefully consume opium in their own homes?
Threat to National Security
1. "As you may know, the Taliban enforced a ban that disallowed all local farmers to farm Opium, so that the Taliban would have full harvesting capability. They cultivated the plants successfully and distributed them at a high price point, but they've done this to such a large extent that they've neglected to plant new seeds, as Opium is not a perennial plant like tulips are in their respect. The supply of poppy has been nearly exhausted and the inclement weather does not suggest that the Taliban will be replenishing their supply"
This is interesting, but I don"t think it"s true. My opponent may be thinking of the short lived ban on opium implemented by the Taliban when they decided it was contrary to the laws of Islam. The Taliban reversed this ban very shortly afterward, when they realized that they had lost an incredibly important source of revenue. The Taliban is now thoroughly back in the opium business and cultivation is increasing. 
2. U.S. police working to destroy opium cultivation (often by violently destroying opium fields and leaving the farmers destitute) do not want to be killed by the Taliban so they operate in areas that are friendly to the U.S. This impoverishes areas friendly to the U.S., but far worse, it reduces the supply of opium which drives up the price, which enriches the Taliban friendly areas on which U.S. police do not patrol. U.S. military actions work to enrich the Taliban. My opponent could argue that drug police should venture into Taliban friendly areas, but why does it make sense to have U.S. personnel risk their lives to protect a policy that harms the economy and crushes individual freedom? 
1. "Opiate use and addiction is linked to at least 50 percent of the major crimes in the United States; at least half of all suspects arrested for violent crimes (homicide, assault, etc.) were under the influence of opiates when arrested."
I think Harvard economist Thomas Sowell addresses this better than I could.
"Drugs are inherently a problem for the individual who takes them, but they are a much bigger problem for society precisely because they are illegal. It is their illegality that
makes them costly and drives people to desperation to get the money by any means at anybody else"s expense. The mere cost of production of drugs can be very inexpensive. If an addict could support his addiction for a few dollars a week, he would still be an addict, but he would not have to steal mug or kill other people to support his habit" -Thomas Sowell 1987
5. "Statistics show that Opiate abuse and Opiate addiction cost Americans over $484 billion annually. This amount includes healthcare costs and abuses of the healthcare system, lost wages, car accidents, crime, and criminal justice system costs."
I researched this figure and found that numerous websites contain this statement, all in identical wording, but I could not find the actual study the figure comes from. However, let"s assume that it"s true. The cost of opiates could be reduced dramatically if we stopped wasting police and justice system resources trying to fight them. But even if opiates still resulted in an enormous cost society, does this mean they should be illegal? If music did not exist, I would probably spend more time working, and I would certainly spend less time playing music. I would spend less of my income on music and more on other things. Many intelligent people who major in music would focus on jobs that have a more productive material benefit to society. Certainly, music distracts people while they are driving. The cost of music in terms of lost wages, car accidents, and lost productivity is surely enormous. Does this mean that music is wrong? Should it be banned?
I will proceed to address some of the contentions that have been brought up in the previous rounds.
1. I would not like this to evolve into a semantic debate but due to unfortunate circumstances and my opponent's inability to differentiate between an association and a direct correlation forces me to get into technicalities. A "cousin" is a thing related or analogous to another. In this case morphine and opium are associative cousins, NOT directly correlated items. They are related to each other in the sense that they are both drugs that are exercised for the purposes of mitigating physical pain and irritation - they are applied with similar objectives in mind, for instance, to increase euphoria, create pleasure and block unpleasant memories. My opponent is facilitating a fallacious remark when he makes the baseless claim that morphine is opium. According to http://en.wikipedia.org..., morphine is a derived opioid, such as oxycodone, hydromorphone, and diacetylmorphine (heroin). An opioid is an opiumlike compound that binds to one or more of the three opioid receptors of the body; an etymology provided by Merriam Webster to further establish my skepticisms in your claim: possessing some properties characteristic of opiate narcotics but not derived from opium http://www.merriam-webster.com.... I'd like to emphasize the fact that it is "opiumlike" and does NOT have the fundamentally identical chemical constitution to that of recreational opium. The same logical reasoning applies to that of heroin, an opioid derived from morphine http://en.wikipedia.org.... Ergo, I do not have to address laudanum, an opioid. I'd like to enforce a critical posit that my opponent does not endorse. Morphine is clinically legal, but only with prescription from a trained physician. The physician will ensure that the patient is able-bodied and is in a physically and psychologically ample condition prior to prescribing morphine in regular, sustained doses. In fact, morphine is the most widespread analgesic in practical medical use as of this moment. There is near nil paperwork implicated in prescribing an opiate medication for a patient; you only require a trained physician and a healthy patient.
I also would like to ask my opponent to cite his sources, as much of what he claims is untrue or erroneous.
2. My opponent claims that opium was not legalized in the 19th century. This is de facto incorrect, referencing back to the reliable source that I had posted in the previous round, and the agreement from the remainder of the web; http://www.infoplease.com.... The opium-dependent bourgeoisie that I had referred to in the previous round are no longer able-bodied citizens after overindulging and binging on opium and its derivatives. They are permanently hooked on this substance and will be musing about consuming the drug during every second available to them. They lose absolute functionality because they are fully dependent on the drug, and if deprived of it, will recklessly spend all of their money to obtain the drug, or even push themselves to physical limits to embezzle it. I'd like to continue to refute my opponent's arguments by quoting a sentiment presented by him.
"The author Wilkie Collins was an opium (laudanum) user and later an addict. This did not prevent him from inventing the detective genre, in fact, he wrote much of his famous novel The Moonstone while under the influence of opium."
According to http://en.wikipedia.org..., Wilkie Collins was an inherently brilliant writer and did publish some exquisite novels (The Woman in White, Armadale and No Name) during his lifetime, procuring recognition and praise from his local community and posthumously, the greater region around him. There are some men who have a less reactive and less responsive immune system, especially to substances like opium. Opium's potency and addictiveness varies from person to person and have different effects on people depending on their genetics and health. I am not making the false claim that Collins was one of these men but rather I'd like to point out the fact that Collins wrote and published the novel, 'The Moonstone' while on an opium binge. After critics have analysed the publication long after his burial and death, they have deemed the quality of his writing incomparable (in a negative way) to the previous novels that he had published during his lifetime. "He continued to publish novels and other works throughout the 1870s and 80s, but the quality of his writing declined along with his health." http://en.wikipedia.org...
3. No, Heroin is not opium. It is an opioid and its chemical constitution deviates from that of opium. http://en.wikipedia.org...
4. I'd like to refute this statement by enforcing the fact that opium, morphine and heroin are all not party drugs and are exclusively low-profile, uncharacteristic drugs. Opium was first introduced as a painkiller, in fact, the first analgesic in its respected field. "Opium is obtained from the opium poppy (papaver somniferum) by scraping the unripe seed capsule, and then collecting and drying the rubbery exudate." http://www.ch.ic.ac.uk... Morphine was the first alkaloid and heroin was a subsequent derivation that was synthesised by acetylation. They all appear in the field of anaesthetics and analgesics, and have superseded their own potency and addictiveness throughout the generations. I'd like to emphasize that painkillers are a very minute aspect of the entire medical industry, and are not paramount to the mal-effects of high-profile drugs that incite side effects and deformities that initially demand the need for opium and its derivatives.
My opponent requests that I provide a governmental justification for my suggestion of harsher penalties for opium users. I'd like to counter by querying him; why is it not morally justified to impose harsher punishments to the opium users, which, if done in mass, can infiltrate the drug dealers and traffickers? The drug users do not have to be tortured before interrogation (which was the case only a century ago) but instead you can alleviate the sentencing time span and the user becomes inclined to agree to the terms. I do not see the relevance of my opponent's analogy of the mugger and his passion for the arts.
Threat to National Security
1. The ban on poppy was in fact short-lived, lasting only a few months during 2000, which was intended to be a season of mass cultivation. But nonetheless, it was extremely effective; to quote from Wikipedia, "Illicit opium production, now dominated by Afghanistan, was decimated in 2000, when production was banned by the Taliban, but has increased steadily since the fall of the Taliban in 2001 and over the course of the war in Afghanistan. Worldwide production in 2006 was 6610 metric tons"about one-fifth the level of production in 1906." Despite the fact that the ban was enforced for only a brief period of time, the production levels have increased exponentially. This is a fact, http://en.wikipedia.org....
2. My opponent demonstrates that he is able to narrate a scenario, but evidently unable to make a connection back to the given proposition. What is the significance of the U.S police force making an approach to demolishing poppy fields. How does this support your stance?
1. I agree with his sentiments but I am not obligated to propose a counterargument since no coherent attack has been initiated by Pro.
5. Since I have a limited amount of characters remaining I will have to address his concerns with this statistic along with his other rebuttals in the subsequent round, which will determine the result of this debate.
I now eagerly await my opponent's counterarguments.
1"A "cousin" is a thing related or analogous to another. In this case morphine and opium are associative cousins, NOT directly correlated items. They are related to each other in the sense that they are both drugs that are exercised for the purposes of mitigating physical pain and irritation - they are applied with similar objectives in mind, for instance, to increase euphoria, create pleasure and block unpleasant memories."
My opponent claims that "opium" (by which I assume he is referring specifically to the raw latex that secretes from gashes in opium poppies) and morphine, are used to produce the same effects, euphoria, pleasure, mitigating pain, etc. All recreational drugs are used for these effects. The relationship between morphine and raw opium is not just that they are both recreational drugs. MORPHINE IS MADE FROM OPIUM POPPIES. THAT IS A DIRECT CORRELATION.
2"According to... morphine is a derived opioid"
This means that it is made from the opium poppy.
3""such as oxycodone, hydromorphone, and diacetylmorphine (heroin). An opioid is an opiumlike compound""
Opium is not a chemical. It is not a compound. Opium is the name that humans have applied to a substance that contains many different chemicals. Saying that a compound is "opiumlike" is like saying a compound is "cinnamon-like." I think what my opponent means to say is that drugs classified as opioids get their active ingredients from the opium poppy. Again, opium is a substance, a substance that contains many psychoactive chemicals. Oxycodone, hydrocodone, morphine, vicoden, heroin, codeine, and opana are drugs that are refined from opium poppy latex to contain high amounts of one of these chemicals. 
I would also like to remind my opponent that taking segments of his sources verbatim without using proper quotation marks is plagiarism.
4"Merriam Webster: "possessing some properties characteristic of opiate narcotics but not derived from opium"
Dictionary.com has a slightly different definition.  Furthermore, there is absolutely no question that morphine and heroin are "derived from opium." EVERY GRAM OF MORPHINE THAT HAS EVER BEEN PRODUCED HAS BEEN MADE FROM THE OPIUM POPPY. Heroin is then made from morphine. 
5"I'd like to emphasize the fact that it is "opiumlike" and does NOT have the fundamentally identical chemical constitution to that of recreational opium" Ergo, I do not have to address laudanum, an opioid."
False. The active ingredient in laudanum and morphine (morphine) is exactly as it is found in the opium poppy.
6"Morphine is clinically legal, but only with prescription from a trained physician. There is near nil paperwork implicated in prescribing an opiate medication for a patient"
First, in the busy medical profession, "near nil paperwork" is not to be conflated with no paperwork. Also, the fact that people need a physician"s prescription to receive a medication adds layers of unnecessary logistics to its use. Third, recent experience with marijuana indicates the medical effects of criminalizing a drug. Medical marijuana was legal in 19 states before it was made completely legal in 2.  But it is only now that it is completely legal there that some medical uses are coming to light. 
7"My opponent claims that opium was not legalized in the 19th century. This is de facto incorrect, referencing back to the reliable source that I had posted in the previous round"
My opponent"s source states that "Medicinal opiates were freely available in the United States and Europe in the 19th cent." It does not say that opium was legalized in the 19th century because that would be incorrect.
No, opium was not legalized in the 19th century. It has never been legalized. It was made illegal in the 20th century.    
8"The opium-dependent bourgeoisie that I had referred to in the previous round are no longer able-bodied citizens after overindulging and binging on opium and its derivatives. They are permanently hooked on this substance and will be musing about consuming the drug during every second available to them."
This is a baseless claim. My opponent posits this as a universal claim, but it is clearly refuted by the cases of Wilkie Collins, Hector Berlioz, Thomas De Quincy, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, John Keats, and Jean Cocteau. 
9"They lose absolute functionality... will recklessly spend all of their money to obtain the drug, or even push themselves to physical limits to embezzle it."
As explained previously, this problem is almost entirely eliminated when drugs are legal and cheap. When this was the case, drug related violence and other drug related crimes were relatively rare. 
10" After critics have analysed (sic) the publication long after his burial and death, they have deemed the quality of his writing incomparable (in a negative way) to the previous novels"
The wikipedia page my opponent cited does not say that critics have found The Moonstone of a lower quality than his other novels. What this source actually says is "The Moonstone remains one of Collins's most critically acclaimed productions."  In fact, The Moonstone is generally considered a masterpiece, as well as the first detective novel. 
11The chemical makeup of heroin is slightly changed by the refining process just as baking soda in crack slightly changes the chemical makeup of cocaine. Again, every ounce of heroin that has ever been made is made from the latex of the opium poppy. (So called synthetic heroin is actually drugs that mimic the effects of heroin but do not contain any opium) 
12"I'd like to refute this statement by enforcing the fact that opium, morphine and heroin are all not party drugs and are exclusively low-profile, uncharacteristic drugs."
Actually heroin is the third most popular drug in the United States. 
My opponent suggests that the government can justifiably threaten drug users in order to catch dealers. He has still not addressed why it is any more acceptable to arrest (kidnap) and imprison drug dealers than it would be to arrest (kidnap) and imprison someone for playing football or drinking alcohol.
Threat to National Security
1""Illicit opium production, now dominated by Afghanistan, was decimated in 2000, when production was banned by the Taliban, but has increased steadily since " 2001" Worldwide production in 2006 was" one-fifth the level of production in 1906." "the production levels have increased exponentially."
Of course, opium production is lower than it was in1906, the last year of massive British opium cultivation in India. As my opponent says, opium "production levels have increased exponentially" since the ban was rescinded.  The Taliban run profit enormously from the growing opium trade.
2When the supply of a product is reduced the price increases. Thus, when U.S. police destroy opium fields, the price of opium rises. U.S. police do not patrol in places friendly to the Taliban. This means that opium farmers in the areas friendly to the Taliban do not have their fields destroyed, and benefit from the higher price of opium. The Taliban, as the middle man in those areas that are friendly to it, benefit as well.
**Claiming that morphine is not opium is like claiming that hash is not marijuana. However, this doesn"t really matter. I specifically mentioned morphine and heroin in my opening statement. If my opponent did not wish to debate the legalization of morphine and heroin, he should not have accepted this debate.
**But furthermore, even if my opponent continues to deny that morphine and heroin are opium, his arguments are not valid. He has thus far argued that legalization of raw opium may have benefits, but it is a "small time" drug. This argument is ridiculous. If legalizing raw opium has any benefits at all then it should be legalized.
Thank you, please vote Pro
Sources in comments.
CloudApex forfeited this round.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by lannan13 2 years ago
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