The Instigator
Blast
Pro (for)
Losing
7 Points
The Contender
thett3
Con (against)
Winning
20 Points

The U.S. should legalize all drugs

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 7 votes the winner is...
thett3
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/11/2011 Category: Society
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,879 times Debate No: 18286
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (15)
Votes (7)

 

Blast

Pro

This is my first debate on the site, so sorry if I have any format problems.

I argue that we should legalize all currently illegal drugs. These include marijuana, crack, cocaine, meth, you get the idea.


Hopefully this will be a challenging debate :)
thett3

Con

I thank my Opponent for challenging me to this debate. I accept.
Debate Round No. 1
Blast

Pro

I advocate a Harm Reduction approach to psychoactive substances; its more effective to make drugs not harmful rather than make futile attempts to prevent their usage. I would allow drugs to be purchased legally which enables a regulated approach to the issue.


1. Drug overdose

From 1979 - 1998, there were a claimed 44,747 deaths due to illegal drugs (1). 86% of these deaths are due to overdose on heroin and cocaine. So solve overdose, and solve drug-related deaths.

According to HarmReduction.org, most fatal overdoses are due to mixing drugs together (2). It is actually not common knowledge that doing so is fatal; people will not voluntarily take Ecstasy and Heroin together if they know it will hospitalize them. Unfortunately, the excessive taboo on psychoactive substances prevents us from saying anything knowledgeable about them to the public, like don't take two drugs at the same time. Legalization removes this taboo, and when the now legal drugs are purchased, we can put a giant sticker on the bottle saying that taking this substance with any other drug will cause fatal injury. Additionally, the media and private doctors could also reiterate this message, thus strongly discouraging users from taking multiple drugs at once. This removes a large portion of overdose deaths and saves thousands.

For many drug users, especially newer users, injecting or snorting the correct amount of the substance can be complicated. Its not like that plastic bag of crack the dealer gave you has any instructions on it. New drug users can easily be thrown into a guessing game as to how much substance to take, or how to even take it correctly. This is another cause of overdose; not understanding correct dosages or injection procedure. Users can easily take too much of the drug by accident on their first few tries and become gravely ill, or worse. Legalization solves this completely, by allowing correct dosage amounts and procedure to be posted on the container.

This is what drugs would be if legalized (3), and this is the status quo (4). I ask the judges to consider which of these is safer and more preferable.


2. Adulterated substances

The current system also puts drug sales in the hands of underground, cop-evading dealers who have no commitment to honesty or safety. Dealers often mix dangerous substances in with the drugs to dilute it. Melanie Gordon writes,

"Illegal drugs are extremely dangerous. You rarely...can trust the person who is selling them. You also dont know what other substances have been mixed in with the drug. Often drug dealers mix an illegal drug with another substance so that they can have more product to sell. For example, a dealer might mix cocaine with talcum powder, sugar, or even another cheaper drug. If you use illegal drugs you simply cannot be sure of what substances you are putting into your body." (5)

This creates the concept of purity. Because so many dealers adulterate their drugs, it becomes less pure. According to DrugScope, most street-drug amphetamines have less than 10% purity, while cocaine is anywhere from 20-90%, heroin is 30-80%, and ecstasy is usually riddled with a variety of substances that aren't MDMA (6).

This furthers the risk of overdose when drugs are illegal. When the strength of the drug can vary so much, its easy to take too little or too much of the drug because its unclear as to how pure it is. If you're used to taking crack that has 50% purity, then you get crack with 80% purity and take the same amount (because you obviously can't know its strength changed), then boom, you're in the hospital for overdosing. Then prison. Or, if the new drug is actually 30% pure, then it will be weaker than usual causing you to take more. Then boom, you're in the hospital and prison again.

Remember, drugs have this problem because its underground dealers selling them rather than legal regulations, which would post the ingredient list and correct dosage amount...


Also, sometimes street drugs are cut with dangerous chemicals which cause more drug-related deaths. Elizabet Kaa writes, "Identification of potentially dangerous substances contaminating illicit drugs is important because these substances might be more toxic than the drug itself. For example, cocaine adulterated with atropine [6] or phenytoin [7] are examples of dangerous mixtures sold on the European drug market."

Also go back to source 6, which shows that some drugs are adulterated with paracetamol, an over-the-counter painkiller. If users are taking other prescription medications for whatever reason, the illegal drug user would indirectly be mixing two prescription drugs together without even knowing it, which is also dangerous or fatal.

Legalization solves all of this by regulating the content of what is sold. Legal companies will be held accountable for impure or adulterated substances, and this would basically eliminate any threat of contamination in the now-legal drugs.


3. AIDS

About 1.8 million people died from AIDS in 2009 (8), and a lot of this is from drug users having to share the same injection needles. Because clean needles aren't widely available due to drug use being so taboo, addicts are forced to use each other's repeatedly, which spreads STD.

This is the cause of thousands of people dying: "In New York City, 34 percent of all people with AIDS have been heterosexual drug users, who presumably caught the disease by sharing needles and syringes with someone infected by the virus. Nationally, about one-fifth of the more than 36,000 AIDS cases have involved i.v drugs. An accurate estimate is probably double that, since many addicts' deaths from tuberculosis, pneumonia and other illnesses are now being recognized as AIDS-related (9)." This is unacceptable, and preventing these deaths should be a priority.

The problem would be solved through legalization, which would allow several "needle-exchange centers" to be created. These are places where drug users can legally acquire clean syringes for little to no cost, eliminating the risk for STD transmission. Several countries already have such a system, but this is near-nonexistent in the United States because of its unnecessary strictness on drug use. A meta-analytical review of previous exchange centers found that the programs are indeed effective at preventing the spread of HIV (10).


4. Cartels

The Mexican drug cartels are a major cause of crime in Mexico, but they also operate in over 195 cities in the United States (11). They are the cause of hundreds of murders and thousands of felonies, and when we arrest them they clog our prisons. The status quo only exacerbates the problem. Putting the cartel's leaders in prison actually makes the problem worse because the cartels will now experience power-struggles for who will become the next kingpin, which has its own casualties. Thus, the status quo is making this country a hotbed for organized crime.

Legalizing drugs would prevent cartels from operating in our country. The legal sale of drugs would compete them out of business, driving all of them out of the United States. If this is effective at reducing crime, Mexico may be encouraged to follow suit, as they've lost tens of thousands of lives to their drug war. That would prevent even more crime from taking place and bring benefits to an international scale.




1. http://www.briancbennett.com...
2. http://www.harmreduction.org...
3. http://shopgala.com...
4. http://sydlexia.com...
5. http://books.google.com...
6. http://www.drugscope.org.uk...
7. http://tinyurl.com...
8. http://www.avert.org...
9. http://www.thenation.com...
10 http://tinyurl.com...
11. http://patdollard.com...
thett3

Con

Thank you to Pro for providing a very well written and powerful case. I will now refute it to the best of my ability.

Overdose

Pros soruce claims that 86% of drug OD's are due to mixing heroine and cocaine. First of all, this shows how drugs are bad providing more offensive ground for the negative. Secondly, I offer a counter-plan that fufills my criteria in the resolution, legalize one of those drug kinds, and you can thus turn the Aff's advantage of drug overdose reduction to my side. Thirdly, his claim of "the excessive taboo on psychoactive substances prevents us from saying anything knowledgeable about them to the public" is neither warranted, nor sourced; and indeed illogical. The media, if anything, glorifies drug abuse said taboo is non existant at best, and the other way around at worst.

Pro makes a compelling point in that the inconstistency between drug quality/quantity causes overdose, however it is not sourced and can be considered dropped for this round. Furthermore, he provides no solvency. Look at the status quo, there are many different kinds of cigarettes[1] and alcohols, so why does he assume that legalized drugs would all be to the same standard?

Adulterated substances

Pro makes a strong argument in the poor quality of drug's on the street, he doesn't explain how this is a negative thing. Look at his source, the substances described ( talcum powder, sugar, or even another cheaper drug.) are harmless, save for the last. The only harmful substances brought up by my Opponent are on the European market, not th American so his evidence is non topical.

Pro also continues his overdose argument arguing that the impurity among drugs increases the likelihood, however it's unwarranted. While I seriously doubt any surveys have been taken on the matter, it's common knowledge that people generally visit the same drug dealer. While it's probable that the purity of the drugs varies, it is improbable that a drug dealer would substantially alter his drugs. His customers would notice, and even possibly OD losing them for good. That is not profitable. So Pros argument can be shown to be insignificant at best.

It's interesting that my opponent consistently argues the likelihood of an overdose, when this is simply offensive ground for the Con. The dangers of these substances are enough to justify a societal rejection of them and criminalization. Despite his misguided attempts at solvency, the risk of an overdose is overwhelmingly a point support my side and is turned.

AIDS

Pros point can be shown irrelevant quite easily. The Negative offers a counterplan of creating the "needle-exchange-centers", without legalization. As early as 2002 this plan has been advocated[2]. Making syringe access easier provides solvency without needing legalization.

Cartels

"Putting the cartel's leaders in prison actually makes the problem worse because the cartels will now experience power-struggles for who will become the next kingpin, which has its own casualties" TURN: Drug dealers killing eachother is beneficial to society. Pros argument that crime will decrease due to legalization can be shown as false on many accounts. For one thing, there is a solid correlation between drugs and crime. The National Center for Victims of Crime[3] reports:

"In the 2004 Survey of Inmates in State and Federal Correction Facilities, 32% of State prisoners and 26% of Federal prisoners said they had committed their current offense while under the influence of drugs. Among State prisoners, drug offenders (44%) and property offenders (39%) reported the highest incidence of drug use at the time of the offense. Among Federal prisoners, drug offenders (32%) and violent offenders (24%) were the most likely to report drug use at the time of their crimes. "

Nearly 1/4th of violent offenses were committed under the influence. That is no coincidence. Drugs increase the probability of a person making an irrational decision including a crime, so logic shows us that drugs are a primary component in many crimes.

In regards to the cartels objection, James R. Mcdonough, the director of the Florida office for Drug Control[4] writes:

Looking only at crime and drugs, it is apparent that drugs drive crime. While it is true that no traffickers, dealers or manufacturers of drugs would be arrested if al ldrugs were legal, the same could be said of drunk drivers if drunken driving were legalized. Indeed, we could bring prison population down to zero if there were no laws at all. But we do have laws, and for good reason. When we look beyond the crime driven by drugs and factor in the lost human potential, the famil ytragedies, massive health costs, business losses and neighborhood blights instigated by drug use, it is clear that the greater harm is in the drugs themselves, not in the laws that curtail their use.

We have laws for a reason. Collateral damage is unavoidable. Besides, this only shows that we need to reform our methodology to fighting drugs, not legalize them.

Mcdonough further writes:

"Law-enforcement officers routinely report that the majority (i.e., between 60 and 80 percent) of crime stems from a relationship to substance abuse, a view that the bulk of crimes are committed by people who are high, seeking ways to obtain money to get high or both. These observations are supported by the data. The national Arrests and Drug Abuse Monitoring (ADAM) program reports on drugs present in arrestees at the time of their arrest in various urban areas around the country. In 2000, more than 70 percent of people arrested in Atlanta had drugs in their system; 80 percent in New York City; 75 percent in Chicago; and so on. For all cities measured, the median was 64.2 percent. The results are equally disturbing for cocaine use alone, according to Department of Justice statistics for 2000. In Atlanta, 49 percent of those arrested tested positive for cocaine; in New York City, 49 percent; in Chicago, 37 percent. Moreover, more than one-fifth of all arrestees reviewed in 35 cities around the nation had more than one drug in their bodies at the time of their arrest, according to the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse"

So the crime caused by drugs outweigh my opponents contention. Turn the crime argument to the Con side.

Another justification for drug criminalization can be found in the devastating effects they have on the person taking them, the family, and society. Since I am running out of time I will further elaborate on this during my next round.

The resolution is negated. Please vote Con.

1. http://incompetech.com...
2. http://www.publichealthlaw.net...
3. http://www.ncvc.org...
4. "Liberalizing Drug Policies Would Increase Crime and Violence" by James R. McDonough
Debate Round No. 2
Blast

Pro

I thank Con for his good response, and will now defend my arguments.


1. Overdose


Con misses the bulk of this argument. He never disputed that my legalization plan would solve for 86% of all drug-related deaths. Thus, extend my saving of thousands of lives. While he says that the risk of overdose proves drugs are bad, the previous concession means that drugs become safe through voting Pro.


Next, my opponent (strangely) advocates legalizing heroin or cocaine to reduce overdose. Cool, glad we agree on something.


Finally, Con said the media glorifies drug abuse, not demotes it. Doubtful. I ask the judges to think of a time when heroin or cocaine was mentioned in a positive manner on the news. Also try to think of a movie that had a drug-related theme, that didn't have a bad ending. Also, try to think of a TV show about drugs that doesn't portray them as destructive and taboo. The list is very long. This proves the argument that illegality prevents the spread of life-saving info about illegal drugs.


Purity overdose

Con complains that don't give a source on it. However, a source isn't necessary because I gave logical analysis as to why differences in purity (a by-product of criminalization) creates overdose.

Con says that legal substances like alcohol also have different purities. Correct. But even if this happens to drugs, these purity levels and proper dosage amount would still be posted on the bottle, preventing a risk of OD.


2. Adulterants

Con first claims that most substances drugs are adulterated with are either harmless or in different countries. First, note the word most. The Gordon evidence showed that dealers sometimes add other drugs into their substances, which cause severe medical problems. He also dropped my Paracetamol argument, whereby drugs are cut with painkillers which react badly with other medications.

Con makes a good point about drug dealers not wanting to hurt their customers, thus they don't harmfully "cut" their drugs. Though this makes sense, its empirically disproven as the Gordon and Kaa evidence prove that adulteration does happen. The likely explanation is that dealers don't make their drugs harmful intentionally, not realizing that adding other drugs or painkillers to their substances is incredibly dangerous. But this would be solved through legalization because these uneducated dealers wouldn't be the primary distributors of drugs.

Con says the risk of overdose is grounds to keep drugs illegal. I have two responses. First, the only reason overdose is a problem is because drugs are illegal, as per overdose being caused by criminalization. Second, turn - the status quo prevents research that would reduce the harms of drugs. Due to cigarettes being legal, research has been done that has developed the Electronic Cigarette, which according to 16 studies are hundreds of times safer than normal cigarettes and reduce cravings (1). Legalization would allow such work to be done on psychoactive substances as well, which could further reduce their harms.


3. AIDS

Con thinks we can open needle-exchange centers while drugs are illegal. However, 47 states have laws that disallow the distribution of syringes (2). Full drug legalization would be the ideal method to overcome it.

Also, I ask judges to picture a world where drug users can all get together and hang out in hundreds of places across the country, and get free needles to support their habit. Does it sound like drugs are illegal and condemned under this scenario? No, this requires legalization.



4. Drug cartels

Con ridiculously states that drug dealers killing each other is good. This is implying that people who give white powder to other people deserve death for their actions. This is a violation of justice.


Moving on, my opponent thinks drugs cause crime, and thus is grounds for criminalization. I have a few responses:


First, he doesn't explain why this is a reason to negate. Lets assume drugs cause crime. To make this argument work, my opponent would need to somehow prove that the status quo is reducing drug-related crime. In other words, he would have to show that legalizing would lead to more drug use and thus lead to more drug crime, which he doesn't do. Thus, he's not gaining any advantage.


Second, turn - legalization would reduce drug use and thus reduce drug-related crime. The Netherlands have over 700 "coffee shops" where marijuana is legally sold, yet they have significantly lower usage rates than the US, where simple possession is banned (3). Furthermore, its easier for teens to get marijuana than alcohol (4), despite the former's illegal status. Finally, teens would be less inclined to use drugs because they would become "uncool". Part of the reason drug use is so popular in high schools is because its illegal, which makes teens who use it appear to be "rebels" or "dangerous". This would be nonexistent under a legalization system. So even if you accept that drugs cause criminal behavior, affirming would only bring it down.


Third, turn - Legal regulations reduce the price of drugs, thus reducing crime. The Bureau of Justice writes, "In 2004, 17% of state prisoners and 18% of federal inmates said they committed their current offense to obtain money for drugs" (6). This would be reduced by legal companies, who could sell drugs cheaper than dealers because they have superior resources and funding.


Fourth, the correlation between drugs and crime is more attributable to social status than the substances. It should be a well known fact that most drug users are poor, and that most prisoners are poor. Poor people/drug users are more likely to commit crimes because they have no incentive to obey laws and maintain their poor quality of life. The Australian Institute of Criminology writes,

"Research suggests that drug use and crime involvement have common origins. Factors such as poor social support systems, difficulty in school, membership of deviant peer groups, early contact with government services and a lack of access to economic support systems are common in the backgrounds of both drug users and criminals" (5)

Which would indicate that social problems are just as likely to account for drug use/drug crime as their psychoactive effects. Drug use alone cannot be isolated as a cause of crime.


Legalization logic

Con offers the Mcdonough card which says that legalizing drugs would eliminate drug crime, but legalizing drunk driving would eliminate drunk driving arrests too. The issue is that I'm not advocating legalization of drug possession to reduce arrests for drug possession. I'm advocating legalization to reduce deaths from overdose, AIDS, and drug cartels. I'm not using the logic my opponent thinks I am.


My opponent doesn't answer that legalization would destroy drug cartels and that Mexico would follow suit from the US to eliminate their drug ban. This amount to tens of thousands of lives saved.


Drugs are bad

My opponent argues a few times that drugs are bad and dangerous due to risks of overdose and adulteration that I mentioned. Though he thinks this is grounds to negate, its not. Remember that most overdose deaths (86% of drug fatalities) are directly due to their illegal status. Also, even drugs are inherently bad, so are double quarter pounders and cell phone radiation. Con would have to somehow prove that the status quo is limiting the harms of drugs in order for this point to really matter, and that there is some outweighing benefit to affirming.



1. http://www.articlesbase.com...
2. http://www.cdc.gov...
3. http://drugwarfacts.org...
4. http://blog.norml.org...
5. http://aic.gov.au...
6. http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov...



thett3

Con

I appologize in advance for my argument. I had plenty of time to post during the weekend, but I decided to wait and long story short, life got in the way. However I do have some spare time as of now, and I know from experience that even a low quality reply is likely preferred by my opponent to a forfeit. At best this round will be described as short and concise, at worst a complete disaster.

Overdose

I have a few problems with this argument and it's support for the pro side.

--> Unless legalization would lead to people ACTUALLY reading the warning labels, AND the warnings actually being there, he is ganing no advantage.

--> Pro concedes to the negative counterplan of small scale legalization, showing that the overdose impact can be turned to the neg.

--> Pro argues that the media doesn't glorify drugs. Red herring, it bears no relevance to the debate I only brought it up as a small support of my side. The fact that Pro uses an entire paragraph to counter this is telling.

--> Pro gains no solvency. He claims that drugs are taboo, yet has given us absolutely no reasoning as to how legalization would lessen this. I contend that they are taboo because they're harmful, not illegal.


Adulterants

--> No impact argued that isn't already covered in the overdose section.

--> Pro states that adulteration is empirically proven..this is false, variation between drug dealers is empirically proven. We have yet to see anything showing how this happens individually.

--> Pro argues that drug dealers don't inentionally cut their drugs, yet he hasn't explained how or why this happens. If it's truly so dangerous than they would no about it, because a drug dealer undoubtebly knows more about drugs than either my opponent or myself.

--> Pro argues that criminalization prevents research. This is, again, false researchers are constantly developing techniques for dealing with addiction and the effects of drugs. Furthermore, many of the drugs illicit for recreational purposes have sanctioned medical uses, so you can ignore his research argument.


AIDS

--> Pro concedes that his advantage would happen under the negative counterplan. He argues "47 states have laws that disallow the distribution of syringes (2). Full drug legalization would be the ideal method to overcome it. " My response: why? All 50 states and the federal government have drug criminalization laws, and legalization would require legalizing each one individually. Legalizing syringe distribution would be much simpler.

Cartels

--> Pro misunderstands my turn. From a utilitarian perspective, the removal of an average drug dealer from the streets is advantageous.

--> Pro essentially argues that criminalization does not deter usage. I have two responses: 1. The justice system does not exist only for deterrence, it also exists for punishment. However more importantly, criminalization does deter use. Logic suggests it, but for the sake of argument I'll provide evidence.

According to the Heritage Foundation[1]:

" the RAND Corporation reports that marijuana prices and cocaine use are directly linked, suggesting a substitution effect between the two drugs.[31] Moreover, according to RAND, legalization will cause marijuana prices to fall as much as 80 percent.[32] That can lead to significant consequences because “a 10-percent decrease in the price of marijuana would increase the prevalence of cocaine use by 4.4 to 4.9 percent.”[33] As cheap marijuana floods the market both in and outside of California, use of many different types of drugs will increase, as will marijuana use."

Furthermore: " Keeping marijuana illegal will undoubtedly keep many young people from using it.[51] Eliminate that criminal sanction (and moral disapprobation), and more youth will use the drug, harming their potential and ratcheting up treatment costs."

And this is only speaking of Marijuana, the softest of soft drugs.

--> Pro argues that we would decrease crime by legalizing drugs, however consider the Mcdonough card previously offered that rebutted this.

--> Pro argues that social status, not drug use, is what causes the crime. However he has ignored the logic that drugs decrease our ability to make rational decisions, so extend it.

--> Pro is also arguing against the status quo, however remember that it is his burden to advocate legalizing ALL drugs, not changing the status quo. Any harms caused by the status quo that can be fixed are not compelling reasons for legalization.

--> Pro argues that the drug cartels would cease to exist if legalization happened. They might cease to exist-as DRUG cartels. If my opponent believes that they'll turn to an honest living, he is deluding himself. Likely they would turn to harsher crimes such as robbery or human trafficking.

Please Vote Con.

1. http://www.heritage.org...
Debate Round No. 3
Blast

Pro

I thank Con for giving me a fun first debate on the site. I understand time constraints, we all have lives after all, and this round was posted with 15 minutes left!

Rebuttal:


Overdose

1. Con questions whether people will read the dosage amounts on legal drugs to prevent an overdose. Well its unlikely that they'll just take a random amount when the correct number if right there in front of them. I ask the judges to remember a time when they had to take some kind of medicine or pill, and remember if they just took a random amount or found out how much they should take by looking at the bottle or asking someone. In fact just seeing the words "take 2" or "take no more than 5 grams" would be enough to prevent overdose, which is nonexistent under the status quo of criminalization. I also ask the judges to go back to my sources 3 and 4 form my second round, and decide which substance they'd rather exist.

2. If my opponent wants to legalize cocaine, thats fine. Even if judges think thats acceptable, I'd still be gaining advantage on heroin overdose because thats also a major cause. Legalizing cocaine and nothing else (the con stance) might solve 43% of overdoses, but legalizing BOTH (the pro stance) would solve 86%.

3. In reference to the media's stance on drugs, Con cays its a red herring. Lol, well he's the one who brought this argument up! So I guess he's just defeated it for me.

4. Con says legalizing drugs may not lessen the taboo on them because they're still harmful. But remember, the only reason drugs are deadly is because they're illegal, which causes rampant overdoses and adulteration.

5. Extend - Purity overdoses will not exist under legalization. Wasn't addressed in my opponent's last round.


Adulterants

Drug dealers add substances to their drugs to dilute it, making it look like there's 10 grams of crack when there's really just 5, which makes them a bigger profit. However, they don't necessarily realize that them "cutting" the drugs in this way can harms their buyers . If a buyer gets sick, they can just dismiss it off as damage from just taking the drug, when in reality it was due to the adulteration. This would simply be solved by voting Pro, where legal regulations on drugs would prevent this type of damage.

Research to reduce the harms of drugs is being done now, but criminalization limits it strongly. Only government sponsored scientists are allowed to research on them currently. Private companies and researchers are barred from it due to drugs being illegal. Legalization would open the door to the private sector, letting more research on drugs to be done, speeding up the process of making them less dangerous.


Aids/Needle Exchange

Con drops my hypothetical, where I point out that its nonsensical to legalize only needle exchange centers, where drug users can hang out and use drugs as they please, but not legalize drugs in general. This is a huge concession, because it means the AIDS advantage is unique to the Pro position, which saves tens of thousands of lives.


Cartels


1. Con now says that drug dealers deserve to die because its Utilitarian. Um, what? They sell powders and plants to people. Most of them aren't mass murderers. So I don't see how its "for the greater good" to kill an average dealer for his actions.

2. I argued that drug use will decreases under legalization. Con drops ALL my warrants here. Extend 1. Netherlands sell marijuana legally yet have lower usage rates. 2. Criminalization doesn't prevent drug use, proven by teens being able to get weed easier than alcohol, which is legal. 3. Teens will use drugs less because they would become "uncool" if legalized. This is an independent reason to vote Pro. Con only has one offensive argument, and its that drugs cause crime. But if less people will use drugs under legalization (conceded), then there will be less drug-related crime, which turns the advantage.

Con does offer the Heritage Foundation card, which arbitrarily says that legalization would "increase the prevalence of cocaine use". I use the word Arbitrarily because it gives no reason as to why this would happen. It literally just says "this will happen" with no warrant explaining why thats the case. Even if its from a credible corporation, they still have to explain their reasoning if we're going to count this in the debate round.


3. Extend the Bureau of Justice evidence, which indicates that 17% of thefts are committed to get drug money. Con agrees that the price of drugs will decrease if we legalize, so we'll eliminate the need for that type of crime to occur.

4. I agree that drugs can make people have irrational decisions, but the whole argument is that we can't prove that these irrational decisions turn into criminal decisions. He never refutes my argument that social status is just as likely a cause of crime as drugs, which would mean he's not meeting his burden to prove that drugs are uniquely responsible for criminal tendencies. But remember, even if he won this argument, I would be the one gaining advantage because he conceded my warrants for legalization decreasing drug use.

5. Con thinks drug cartels will just become human trafficking cartels if we legalized drugs. However, the argument I made in the last 2 rounds isn't that they'll just disappear, rather, that they will flee the country to deal drugs somewhere else. This will eliminate cartels in the US without them making it up in other areas.

He never responded to my rebuttal of the McDonough card.


Conclusion

My opponent makes arguments saying that drugs cause crime and that they're dangerous, but never explains how keeping drugs illegal actually remedies the problem. At the point where its established that legalization would prevent 86% of drug-related deaths, and that criminal sanctions don't deter usage, and that it would drive out the Mexican drug cartels which house in over 200 US cities, it should be clear that there are benefits to voting Pro. Judges should consider whether my opponent has provided similar argument. Has he proven that good things happen if we keep drugs illegal? I'm not sure. In fact, he's tried to use a few of my arguments for himself, such as legalizing cocaine and needle exchange centers, which sounds pretty close to a Pro ballot anyway. But I think the biggest points I win on are that legalization reduces drug use, and that the legal sale of drugs will prevent overdoses and adulteration, solving for the vast majority of drug-related deaths. These alone save thousands of lives every year, which seems to be the biggest impact in the round. Even if my opponent won that legalization increases crime, he hasn't shown that it outweighs the benefits of solving the harms of drugs in the first place.

For these reasons, I urge a Pro vote.

thett3

Con

For this round, I'll do a little weighing.

Overdose

In regards to the idea that people are unlikely to read warning labels, Pro argues

"Well its unlikely that they'll just take a random amount when the correct number if right there in front of them." I have a few responses.

--> He seems to be operating under some absurd illusion that people will use currently ilicit drugs responsibly. The reason they are illegal is because they harm peoples ability to rationalize and have no accepted Medical usage. The entire purpose of them is irresponsibility.

--> The overdose impaact is turned to Con for two reasons: 1. Logically, criminalization deters usage as shown in the Heritage Foundation card and the McDonough Card. Thus maximal harm reduction flows to the Con side, because the Con is the side preventing usage. 2. Pro ignores the forbidden fruit effect. Without legal deterrent, when people see the proper dosage for them to take, they will liikely take more. The reasoning in this lies in a few reasons, namely that people won't take it as seriusly as they ought to (particuarly after a few drinks or pills or whatever) and a desire to get even more "buzzed". 3. The Negative counterplan of legalizing some drug kinds has been conceded to.

My Opponent argues: "Legalizing cocaine and nothing else (the con stance) might solve 43% of overdoses, but legalizing BOTH (the pro stance) would solve 86%."

I would first prefer to let it be known that this is not the official position I'm obligated to advocate, rather my way of showing that there are better ways than full legalization. In response to his objection, my question is: why? The overdoses from drug admixture can only come from mixture. If one of the substances in the deadly pairing is legal and has the warnings, than the overdosage can be prevented. If the users do not read them, then they wouldnt read them if they were both legal anyway.

Since his only objection to my counterplan is unfounded, the overdose point clearly goes to the Con side. Remember if you believe his argument that we could print warnings on the packaging of drugs and prevent overdose, we do not need to legalize all drugs for this advantage to happen and it goes to Neg. If you do not believe his argument due to its multiple holes, than the advantage is lost and a Con vote is given.

Pro argues that drugs are only deadly because they're illegal, but this is incredibly misleading and fallacious. Everyone knows the harmful affects of drugs (the reason they are illegal to begin with), and the Mcdonough card tells us this as well. Ignore this argument because his only advantage has been turned against him.

Pros Purity argument was addressed in the "Adulterants" section.

Adulterants

Pro argues "Drug dealers add substances to their drugs to dilute it, making it look like there's 10 grams of crack when there's really just 5"

--> I wonder how he came across these statistics. The only card he brought up for this argument is referring to European drug markets, not American ones and doesn't even argue that individual drug dealers change their substances. The Resolution specifies the United States only.

--> Furthermore, the Pro has argued no advantage. Remember that Tabacco and Alchohol have vastly different kinds on the market, why should drugs be different? He concedes to my logic that drug dealers will not purposely harm their customers by changing the purity of their drugs. Maybe variations exist across the Market, but he has not shown specific drug dealers to alter their substances, so the impact is practically non existant. In fact this can be turned to the Con side, because whatever changes the Drug Dealers make they will at least be consistent (to avoid harming their customers). A legal market would lead to people buying drugs from a variety of sources with varying purity. People uninformed about drugs would likely change from purity to purity to test it out, and so this impact is maximalized if you affirm.

--> Crime caused outweighs, we're talking about perfectly innocent people being robbed, raped, and murdered by people on drugs. While I do not want drug addicts to die, their deaths are resulting from their own actions. The moral highground belongs to Con.

--> The research argument falls. He has shown no compelling interest for the private sector to invest in lessening the effects of drugs, so he is gaining no advantage. Besides, research is already being done and he has shown no reason save for the private sector idea to show that the research being done is not enough. I'm also not buying his Private sector argument, because the Government gives special privileges to companies to research with criminalized substances all the time. Please drop the research argument.

AIDS

--> Counterplan Dropped, and therefore conceded to. Impact goes to the Con.

--> Pro objects that my counterplan is nonsensical, but he hasn't truly explained how. Legalizing the sale/distribution of needles is a far cry away from creating places where "drug users can hang out and use drugs as they please"


Cartels

--> Pro strawmans the Utilitarian argument. It's not that they deserve to die, as much as it is that they are violating the social contract, and if they are excluded from it (even through death) than it is beneficial. The average drug cartel brings massive amounts of crime to communities (which is the whole basis of his contention) and their removal is, in a strictly societal sense, advantageous. Also, please consider the logic that the Cartels will turn to other forms of crime.

--> Pro accuses me of dropping the warrants. I do not agree, but I'll address them anyway.

1. "1. Netherlands sell marijuana legally yet have lower usage rates" Compared to what? The USA? Remember, the Heritage Foundation card shows us that usage increased in the Netherlands due to the Social stigma being eliminated. Pro has not shown legalization to decrease usage in individual communities, and logic shows the complete opposite. Decreased usage goes to the Con Side.

2. " Criminalization doesn't prevent drug use, proven by teens being able to get weed easier than alcohol, which is legal" Theres the claim, now where's the warrant and evidence? Besides, Alchohol is illegal for teens.

3. "Teens will use drugs less because they would become "uncool" if legalized." Again, no warrant or evidence. Recall that the Heritage Foundation card shows increased usage with legalization as does logic. Teens use drugs to get high and have fun, not to be "cool" (or, the "cool" aspect of it does not come from its illegality).

Pro misunderstands the Heritage Foundation card. It shows quite clearly research from the RAND coporation indicating an increase in use. It also argues that since Marijuana is a gateway drug, a cheaper price leads to more use, which leads to more use of harder drugs. Even if you don't buy this logic, it hasn't been properly addressed and thus stands.

" 17% of thefts are committed to get drug money."

--> 17% of thefts vs. 24% of violent crimes committed due to drugs. This argument is clearly weighed to Con.

Pro concedes that drugs cause irrational desicions. He argues that social status can affect crime. Great. Too bad that doesn't relate. He doesn't attack my logic, so the argument goes to Con.

--> Pro argues that Cartels will leave the USA rather than commit more crime here. Why? The USA is much wealthier than most of their home countries, so logically they would stay here where the potential gains from their crimes are greater. Vote Con just on this impact.



In conclusion the resolution is clearly negated. I want to thank my Opponent for giving my a wonderful debate and an excellent case to refute.
Debate Round No. 4
15 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by F-16_Fighting_Falcon 5 years ago
F-16_Fighting_Falcon
1) OD - Pro mentions deaths due to overdose. He advocates warning labels and doing away with the
media taboo. Con at first simply argues that drugs are dangerous. Later however, he gives the far more convincing arguments that drug users don't think straight ans are hardly likely to read the warning labels.

2) Adulteration - Pro shows that drug dealers sell adulterated substances and argues through the concept of purity how it can be dangerous. Con argues that the adulterated substances are harmless. I fail to understand how eating talcum powder is harmless and also adulteration is a harm in and of itself. The part about drug dealers giving good product to get repeat customers goes to Pro. Do drug dealers actually care?

3) AIDS - Pro shows that cheap needles will reduce AIDS. Con argues for needle exchange without legalization. It wouldn't be purely for drug users so Pro's counterargument is negated.

4) Cartels - Pro shows how cartels will go away due to more competition from legal manufacturers. Whether or not drug legalization will reduce or increase crime is grey enough. There is no surefire conclusion.
Posted by Raisor 5 years ago
Raisor
Roy,

There already exists an effort to come up with '"better" designer hallucinagens." First, there are hundreds of strains of marijuana that have come out of efforts to breed better psychoactive strains. Second, "legal" herb - chemically synthesized drugs that are similar to THC- have been around for a long time and one of the biggest problems in legislating against them is that as soon as one form is made illegal, a different form is created.

Or, just go read the wikipedia article on "designer drugs," theres a whole list of man made psychoactive drugs: http://en.wikipedia.org....

So the motivation and trend already exists. I guess its just a question of how legalization might impact the trend.
Posted by RoyLatham 5 years ago
RoyLatham
A good debate on a large, difficult subject.

The resolution was open to interpretation. I think it would have been fair to jump on antibiotics and other prescription drugs in the "all drugs" resolution. However, among psychoactive drugs, debating the legalization of "date rape" drugs and other extreme drugs would be a reasonable approach. The problem with rewriting the resolution more narrowly is that if heroin and marijuana are the only one legalized, the argument then opens that cartels will move to the ones not legalized. I don't think thatthe argument that drug use would go down was convincing -- that would depend on the characteristics of American society and the effects of advertising in the large American market. Around 1900 all drugs were legal in the US, and it didn't work back then.

Another argument is that legalization would set off a race to discover "better" designer hallucinogens.

I think Con should have made more arguments about the non-crime impact to society. Alcohol has had a huge negative impact, despite it's being legal. Con did reference that, but didn't hit it hard.

Pro didn't use the libertarian argument that people have a right to do whatever they want, so long as they do not harm others.

I'm still undecided about legalizing pot and heroin, although I lean negative. Maybe legalization under some sort of supervision or limitations is a possible resolution. Drug addicts shouldn't be airline pilots, physicians, or police officers. Maybe a user's license. I'm not sure.
Posted by Blast 5 years ago
Blast
Do you mind if I ask a few clarification questions about your R4? I was confused by a couple statements made.
Posted by Raisor 5 years ago
Raisor
Theres some super sketchy CP use going on in this debate. Pro should not allow you to posit to CP's AND defend the status quo. But whatevs, if he doesnt say anything in round then its a good day for Con...
Posted by waylon.fairbanks 5 years ago
waylon.fairbanks
I think libertarians AND utilitarians are annoying because they both think that one "thing" is all that matters.
Posted by 000ike 5 years ago
000ike
Libertarians are annoying because they think liberty is all that matters in the world, when in actuality, all that matters is happiness. Liberty and happiness often go hand in hand as a human necessity, but there will be issues where an action limits the liberty of some, but makes the rest of society happy.
Posted by thett3 5 years ago
thett3
This site has a very strong libertarian streak
Posted by Blast 5 years ago
Blast
I can understand her surprise though. Full legalization is not something talked about in the media. The average person probably is repulsed by the idea, and admittedly, there are good points against it. But I've noticed that people here tend to be more liberal towards it. 49% agree with it, and I'm certain it's less than 20 in the general public.
Posted by thett3 5 years ago
thett3
Her profile says Con for drug legalization so probably you :/

but you needn't be offended just look at her debates..lol
7 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Vote Placed by F-16_Fighting_Falcon 5 years ago
F-16_Fighting_Falcon
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro makes quite a few assumptions especially with the overdose argument. Needle argument well-refuted by Con. Cartel argument inconclusive. Overall Con showed that legalization is not going to work the way Pro expects it to. (See comments for more analysis)
Vote Placed by dappleshade 5 years ago
dappleshade
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Reasons for voting decision: Unlike many, I don't feel the cartels continuing crime was a clincher. Sure, they'd continue crime, but most of their other crime comes from the big money in illegal drugs. Pro neglected the 'alcohol more harmful/would be Class A' route. Con clinched it through negating 'all drugs' as a blanket legalisation.
Vote Placed by Myrant 5 years ago
Myrant
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Reasons for voting decision: I don't believe warning labels will stop overdoses (especially heroin). These drugs destroy the takers mind and I just don't see a warning label making a difference. Legalization would help with drug purity. AIDS? Not sure, might help - might not. Druggies are not exactly sanitary. Legalization would end the cartels but people constantly break into places to steal legal drugs. The costs outweigh the benefits.
Vote Placed by wiploc 5 years ago
wiploc
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Reasons for voting decision: Resolution says _all_ drugs should be legalized, which invites Con to try to come up with one drug that shouldn't be legalized, but he didn't. Pro was lucid and persuasive. Con seemed disgorganized, maybe even confused. For instance, he criticized Pro for making a claim without evidence, and then immediately made a claim without evidence. He tried to use the taboo against drugs as evidence that drugs are bad, but he also said the taboo doesn't exist.
Vote Placed by RoyLatham 5 years ago
RoyLatham
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Reasons for voting decision: A very close debate. I thought the crime argument was tipped in Con's favor. Also, the argument that drug cartels would turn to other illegal activities is a strong one. Becaus the debate was close, I was more critical of S
Vote Placed by Raisor 5 years ago
Raisor
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Reasons for voting decision: Good job by both sides. Con wins largely due to advocating three different positions and claiming benefits from all of them. His CP's seem to work pretty well. Con provides better evidence that legalizing will increase drug use (though if you read some of Heritage's sources youll see Heritage overstates the evidence). Again, decent debate by both sides.
Vote Placed by seraine 5 years ago
seraine
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Reasons for voting decision: When Con won the crime argument, he won the debate. Pro could have done a lot better arguing against the crime argument. However, Pro's points on OD and adulterants were very interesting and I don't think thett adequately refuted them. 3:2 Con