The Instigator
warren42
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
Emilrose
Con (against)
Winning
6 Points

The United States should decriminalize drugs.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
Emilrose
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/2/2017 Category: Society
Updated: 5 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 617 times Debate No: 103365
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (9)
Votes (2)

 

warren42

Pro

Resolved: The United States Federal Government should decriminalize drugs.

This debate is the first round of Bsh1's summer tournament. If Emilrose would like to change any of the definitions, rules, or structure, she can PM/comment on the debate. I've asked her to not accept the debate (or at least post her acceptance in R1) until August 4th. I will not have time to work on this from Thursday-Monday, so delaying it would help me on this.

Only Bsh's pre-approved judges will determine who advances as far as the tournament is concerned, but anyone can vote.

Structure:
Round 1: Acceptance
Round 2: Constructive (No rebuttals)
Round 3: Rebuttals
Round 4: Case Defense/Closing Arguments

Definitions:
USFG- United States Federal Government
should- compelled to do something as it is the best path of action
decriminalize- to change the current laws so that drug users are not given prison sentences
drugs- often illegal substance that can cause addiction, habituation, or a marked change in consciousness

Rules:

1. No new arguments in the final round.

2. No kritiks of the resolution.

3. No counterplans.

4. No trolling.

5. No semantics.

6. No forfeits.

7. BoP is shared, resolution must be looked at on balance.

If any of these rules are violated the offender loses the debate.

Thank you and good luck, may the best debater win!
Emilrose

Con

Accepted.

Good luck to Pro as well!
Debate Round No. 1
warren42

Pro

I. Intro

In the United States, drug abuse is a pandemic. Just about any substance available is suspect to abuse. In response, the government has cracked down hard in the past half-century, using prison time and criminal charges to deter use. However, despite millions of hours and trillions of dollars, the national addiction rate has stayed relatively constant, at 1-2% since 1970. It's time for change.

II. Harm Principle

Obviously, many drugs are outlawed in the United States. However, many people take and abuse mind altering substances that the government has deemed okay, while others use different substances that the government deems dangerous. This contradicts with British philosopher John Stuart Mill’s harm principle. The harm principle boils down to the idea that so long as the actions of one citizen do not cause harm to another, there is no reason to villainize such actions. If no negative externalities exist, under the harm principle, there is no reason for drugs to be criminalized. If, under the influence of a drug, an individual commits a crime, then clearly their actions must be punished. However, the drug itself should be freely ingested without consequence. There is a reason drinking alcohol is legal, but punching someone while drunk is not. It all boils down to one question: are you actively harming anyone else? If the answer is no, it shouldn't be illegal.


III. Prison System

Mandatory minimums (MMs) are common in the American justice system, especially for drug-related crimes. First we'll look at the theoretical merits to MMs. MMs beg the question as to a prison's purpose: "rehabilitation or retribution?" and suggest the latter. “To proponents, their certainty and severity help ensure that incarceration's goals will be achieved. Those goals include punishing the convicted and keeping them from committing more crimes for a period of time, as well as deterring others not in prison from committing similar crimes.” [1] In theory, this would deter users and dealers, while at the same time, keeping many of those people off the streets for a certain period of time. This would, therefore, achieve retribution, and likely deterrence as well.

There are two problems with taking the retribution approach with drug crimes. The first is that in the case of retribution, you are punishing the person for the harm they caused another person or society at large. Drug users did not harm anyone, though. The second is that as long as they are independent from more egregious offenses, there is going to come a day these people are going to return to society. Both of these issues show that, in the instance of drug crimes, it makes more sense to prioritize rehabilitation. The current penal system does the opposite. A former LAPD Deputy Chief discusses this in HuffPost. Upon incarceration, users’ prospects of achieving a better life, as well as those of their families, plummet. They are criminals due to what they do to their bodies, but usually that's it. However, prison culture changes them. The longer they are in the system (due in large part to MMs) the less they stay in touch with life on the outside. In prison, life is violent. The longer the drug users are subjected to life where violence is a social norm, the more likely this is to translate to their behavior upon release. Recidivism rates are approximately 2/3, making it clear that one of the goals of the penal system, rehabilitation, is far from being achieved in the status quo.[2]

This creates a problem, because The United States is also facing a prison overcrowding epidemic. This creates a positive feedback loop. MMs cause people to go to jail for extended periods of time. Going to jail for longer means there are fewer empty cells for a longer period of time. It also means you are more likely to recommit a crime, putting you back in prison and starting the whole process over again. If we were to stop this issue at the source, MMs, the problem would decrease dramatically. For drug use in particular, this would be the case, as the Economist points out that approximately a quarter of the US prison population is incarcerated due to drug use or other drug-related crimes. [3] Decriminalization would provide the benefit of reduced prison populations and better prospects of life for users.

MMs are one of the most obvious obstructions of justice with relation to drug convictions. However, MMs beget other related problems, and exacerbate current ones. Prison overcrowding is a major issue in the United States. Put simply, the U.S. incarcerates too many people, and inmates jailed for drug charges are an unjustifiably large portion of the prison population. Adjusting such policies could easily remedy the matter.

Prior to the war on drugs, our prison population remained mostly constant and low. However, due to policies created under Nixon that escalated the government’s efforts to get drugs off the streets, the prison population has risen dramatically. According to The Daily Kos, after Nixon started and Reagan escalated the drug war, our prison populations increased by 500%. In 1980, under 50,000 people in the United States were incarcerated for drug offenses. Today it is half a million, and the “land of the free” has the world’s largest prison population. [4] The Economist [3] estimates drug crimes constitute roughly a quarter of our incarcerated population. If we decriminalized drug consumption, (assuming about 80% of the people imprisoned for drug crimes are for usage) and applied this retroactively, about 1/5 of our inmates would no longer be behind bars. This would help solve some major issues.

The biggest issue this would address is prison overcrowding, which has become a national pandemic, with some prisons at over 200% capacity. Due to lack of space in cells, there are instances of prisoners being put up in gymnasiums, crowded into the small walkways their cots created. Other documentation of California prisons has shown that in some instances when no mental healthcare is accessible, a suicidal prisoner would be locked in a cage the size of a telephone booth, due to lack of bathroom access would be forced to urinate themselves, and had no choice but to stand in his or her own waste for nearly 24 hours. Crowded conditions raise questions with respect to the 8th Amendment, and the atrocious conditions in the instances of suicidal prisoners definitely violates the rights guaranteed to all American citizens. This is evident of a major issue with the current system under which our penal institutional operates, and must be addressed effectively and quickly.

The incredibly simple solution to this is major issue to decriminalize drugs, and retroactively reduce or end sentences. This would dramatically reduce the prison population and quickly alleviate the overcrowding so much of the nation is facing. Furthermore, it would reduce future incarceration rates, as those who would currently be jailed for low level drug offenses, and therefore prone to high recidivism rates. They would never re-enter the system because they would not enter it in the first place. One of the major issues society at large has with this idea is the notion that there will be a major uptick in drug usage following either of the paths of action. A case study of Portugal disproves, and this will be expanded upon later. Either way, users will be treated as what they are: addicts, not criminals, and their prospects of being able to change their habits will dramatically increase.

Ultimately, drug sentencing harms inmates, their families, and society at large, and must be changed.

IV. Sources

[1] https://www.rand.org...

[2] http://www.huffingtonpost.com...

[3] http://www.economist.com...

[4] https://www.dailykos.com...

Emilrose

Con

Drugs, and Health

It's a well-known fact that drugs (meaning recreational drugs) are extremely dangerous to ones health--this is both in terms of addiction and the fact that each person, can react differently to the presence of drugs in their system, and oftentimes this 'reaction' can warrant emergency treatment and be fatal in some cases. The National Institute of Health reported that since 2012, deaths related do the recreational use of cocaine have risen in the U.S; with more than 7000 people dying from direct overdose in 2015. [1.] https://www.inspiremalibu.com...

Additionally, the National Center for Health Statistics found that drug deaths related to heroin have also increased. In 2015, they were triple the percentage that they were in 2010 [2.] https://www.inspiremalibu.com...

This increase, has not gone unnoticed by health officials within the U.S--given how large the mortality rates are. Opioids (which are illegal) also make the top of the list in drug-related deaths over the last few years [3.] ahttps://www.usnews.com...

In order to get an accurate idea of why drugs can kill; we need to actually understand what happens to the body upon taking drugs. Even in moderate amounts, recreational drugs, come with an extraordinarily high-risk. I will list four drugs (that are the most popular among recreational drug users) and provide a brief description of their effects, and the dangers that they present to the system.

Cocaine

One of the most popular drugs, cocaine use can lead to many negative side-effects, long-term addiction, and of course, death. When a person takes cocaine (the most common method being to snort it through the nasal passages), it rapidly enters the system, primarily effecting the heart rate and the brain. Cocaine stops neurotransmitters like norepinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine from being 'reabsorbed' into the brain, which is what creates the so-called high and feeling of euphoria. [4.] Naturally, though, this is not normal, nor is it necessary. Serotonin in particular is an absolutely vital chemical, as it regulates the mood and anxiety levels. Low or inconsistent serotonin levels are strongly associated with depression and other mental health problems. [5.]

Now, in terms of what cocaine does to the heart, it can be even more damaging. According the American Heart Association, cocaine use (both long-term and short-term, and including direct cases of overdose) is responsible for 15,000 each year. [6.] http://luxury.rehabs.com...

Chest pain itself is incredibly common among cocaine users, with 40% having to be admitted to emergency rooms each year. [see above link.]

Arrhythmia, which is an abnormal heart rate, is very widely-developed among cocaine users, and can be serious. [7.] http://www.thepoisonreview.com...

As source #6 states, issues with the heart as a result of cocaine use occur because the heart becomes over-stimulated when cocaine enters the system, thus, it damages the valves and inner lining; which in addition to an irregular heartbeat, can cause blood clots in the heart.

First-time users, are in fact among the most vulnerable group when it comes to health issues related to cocaine use; which is pretty damning for young teenagers or people within their 20's who may be offered the drug. And if it was legalized, this would surely happen at a greater rate. One could argue that upon legalization, cocaine could potentially be as popular as alcohol among youths.

Research from Australia suggests that even casual cocaine-use, can risk heart damage. [8.]

The research also showed that cocaine-users had higher blood pressure than people who do not use cocaine, as well a higher pulse; which means they have developed tachycardia--an abnormal heart rhythm.

Heroin

Upon using heroin, the neurotransmitters within the brain (similarly to cocaine and other drugs) are severely impaired, resulting in poor mood regulation [9.] https://www.drugabuse.gov... and therefore inevitable chemical imbalance. [10.] http://www.pbs.org...

Other vital parts of the body, such as the kidneys and intestines, are also badly impacted. [11.] http://www.narconon.org...

Other organs that can be damaged are the lungs, and as with cocaine, it can cause blood clots to develop in them. [12.] https://www.sovhealth.com...

Other issues such as Empyema (the formation of pus between the lungs and chest area) can also easily be developed among heroin users. In addition, Pneumonia and Bronchial-type infections are also a danger. [see above link.]

Once again, if a drug like heroin was to be legalized, I see no reason why use related to it would decrease--if anything, legalization would be a suggestion to the general population that using heroin is safe, thus, it would likely increase.

Ecstasy

Similarly to cocaine, ecstasy and other pill-based highs are relatively common among recreational drug users. [13.] http://m.health24.com...

The detriments of these particular drugs are, again, pretty severe. Even minor Ecstasy use can cause seizures. [14.] http://pmj.bmj.com... and heart attacks. [15.] https://www.sciencedaily.com...

The effects of ecstasy on the brain (as with cocaine) are also rather alarming. People can develop psychosis/paranoia, and severe anxiety. [16.] http://m.talktofrank.com...

Cannabis

Indeed one of the more mild drugs, but certainly not without its detriments. Cannabis can also cause severe anxiety and paranoia. [17.] http://m.talktofrank.com...

And in terms of physical effects, it can increase your heart rate by up to 3 times, lower your blood pressure, and interfere with your blood sugar levels. [18.] http://www.webmd.com...

Moreover, cannabis impacts lung-functioning, making people more susceptible to bronchial infections and subsequent lung-abnormalities. [19.] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov...

Moral Implications

Laws exist in the first place to prevent and protect. It's abundantly clear that illegal drugs are dangerous and can cause extensive damage to people--therefore, they should stay illegal. The government has a moral and practical obligation to ensure the safety of its citizens and to minimize the damages to health that each individual can essentially incur; this is mainly why under 21's in the U.S cannot legally purchase alcohol, why tobacco use is being made illegal in public places around the world, and why medically-trained physicians are reponsible for our health care and are the only people who should make the decision as to whether we can take a certain drug; excluding minor drugs like paracetamol, etc.

The point here is that drugs are not supposed to be for recreational use, but are there to treat issues which physicians see fit to treat. Your average citizen doesn't have the medical knowledge or practical experience to decide whether a drug is suitable for them or whether it is indeed safe.

And after all, there's enough pressure on physicians to treat problems relating to pre-existing 'legal' drugs like alcohol; with there many cases of alcohol-abuse, alcohol-related hospital admissions, and alcohol-related deaths within the U.S. [20.] https://www.cdc.gov...

So, the question is: why should we compound this? If anything, alcohol shows that if a drug is legal, the more widely used and abused it can actually be.

Debate Round No. 2
warren42

Pro


I. Intro


What we have is a system that is not working. It’s clear from my case, as well as various other issues. It’s time to try something new, and that pathway leads to decriminalization. In order to prove that drugs should remain illegal, Con has three pillars to uphold. The first is that a government has a responsibility to prevent people from harming themselves. The second is that drugs are harmful. The third and final pillar is that the status quo is the best way to achieve lower rates of drug use. From there, she must prove that the benefits from maintaining the status quo outweigh the harms of the status quo and the benefits of legalization outlined in my case.


II. Re: Government Responsibility


Cross apply my points regarding the harm principle to my opponent’s arguments about a government’s responsibility. We know the harms that can come from drugs. If someone chooses to accept those harms, it is the choice of the user, not the government.


III. Re: Health


Though some drugs, such as heroin, cocaine, and ecstasy can have negative health effects (though many are overstated by Con) marijuana is different. Con starts by saying marijuana causes “severe anxiety and paranoia.” However, her source (which seems semi-reliable at best) says otherwise.


Cannabis has a number of different effects. It is classed as a sedating and hallucinogenic drug. Its effects can turn out to be pleasant or unpleasant:



  • Taking cannabis can make people feel chilled out, relaxed and happy, and they may get the giggles or become very talkative.

  • It can make you more aware of your senses, and the hallucinogenic effects can even give you a feeling of time slowing down.

  • It can make you feel very hungry – this is sometimes called ‘getting the munchies'.

  • Some people have one or two drags on a joint and feel light-headed, faint and sick. This is sometimes called a ‘whitey’.

  • Cannabis may cause feelings of anxiety, suspicion, panic and paranoia. [17]


Note the stark contrast between what Con says and what her source says. Not only is she exaggerating, she leaves out benefits listed. However, if we look to independent research, we can see that it can actually help fight anxiety, paranoia, and depression.


Con also goes on about the lung issues related to cannabis. Here we need to be careful. Her source is a government agency [18]. This is relevant because the marijuana used in government studies is actually nothing like what you can get on the streets [1], so studies using this strain are inherently unreliable. In addition, this only applies to cannabis ingested via smoking, and does not apply to oils or edibles consumed with food products or via other methods. Furthermore, the longest running study using independent data actually suggests that when smoked occasionally, the opposite is true, and that marijuana use enhances lung functioning. [2] This is in addition to the myriad of other health benefits marijuana provides. It can be used to treat or slow chronic diseases such as MS, cancer, Dravet’s Syndrome, etc. It can also stimulate creativity, speed up metabolism, and suppress nightmares, among many other benefits. [3]



IV. Re: Criminalization


So far I have taken out the first critical pillar of my opponent’s argument: government ought to protect us from ourselves. I have cast doubt on the second pillar, which centers around the health problems Con listed, and even turned the marijuana argument into offense for Pro. Finally, I will dismantle the third pillar of the Con position, that criminalization keeps usage rates low. This was not explicitly laid out in the Con case, but was heavily implied.


Obviously, the major concern with decriminalization is that people will be more likely to use and abuse “hard” drugs such as heroin, meth, or krokodil. However, there is data from other countries who have decriminalized all drugs. Case studies can evaluate the data and generally point to benefits of decriminalization. Portugal is the poster-child of the health-focused drug policy movement. In 2001, Portugal decriminalized all drugs. (To be precise, multiple charges can stack up and lead to criminal charges, but that is rare, occurring in only 12% of cases.) Since their decriminalization efforts, the Portuguese have seen a 12% reduction in the social cost of drugs. [4] This was, in most part, driven by the decrease in drug-related deaths. Portugal now has the second-lowest rate of drug-related deaths in Europe and has seen a dramatic decrease in new AIDS cases among drug users. The average among EU member nations is 17.3 drug deaths per million, while Portugal is at an impressive 3 per million. [5] It is curious, then, why American lawmakers still claim that if we were to decriminalize drugs, the effects would be disastrous and an epidemic would ensue. We are approaching two decades of data from Portugal, and that could not be farther from the truth.



V. Sources


Con's Round 1 Sources


[17] http://m.talktofrank.com...


[18] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov...



Pro's Round 2 Sources


[1] https://www.washingtonpost.com...


[2] http://healthland.time.com...


[3] http://www.businessinsider.com...


[4] http://theinfluence.org...


[5] https://www.washingtonpost.com...



Emilrose

Con

Rebuttals

Harm Principle

Here, Pro contends that people essentially have the right to take illegal drugs--all the while still acknowledging their harms. However if there was nothing inherently wrong with harming oneself, things like traditional self-harm (mutilation of the body) and suicide would not be considered as reason to hospitalise, or strongly indicative of psychiatric illness. [21.] http://www.webmd.com...

As this source states, legally, people are hospitalised (taken away from the community) for unspecified periods of times when they are 'at risk of hurting themselves or others'.

Assisted suicide and voluntary euthanasia also show that the choice to harm oneself is indeed heavily limited; and illegal in many circumstances. At present, euthanasia is illegal in the U.S, while physician assisted suicide is only legal (and of course, heavily monitored) in six U.S states. [22.] http://www.cnn.com...

How Our Choices Impact Others

It's important to note that the choices we make, will always have consequences on those around us--for example, the family members of someone who has taken illegal drugs for recreational use and since become addicted, will undoubtedly be affected, and the individuals ability to function normally will be severely impacted; since addiction is all-consuming.

'A growing body of literature suggests that substance abuse has distinct effects on different family structures. For example, the parent of small children may attempt to compensate for deficiencies that his or her substanceR08;abusing spouse has developed as a consequence of that substance abuse (Brown and Lewis 1999). Frequently, children may act as surrogate spouses for the parent who abuses substances. For example, children may develop elaborate systems of denial to protect themselves against the reality of the parent’s addiction. Because that option does not exist in a single parent household with a parent who abuses substances, children are likely to behave in a manner that is not age appropriate to compensate for the parental deficiency.'

'Neighbors, friends, and coworkers also experience the effects of substance abuse because a person who abuses substances often is unreliable. Friends may be asked to help financially or in other ways. Coworkers may be forced to compensate for decreased productivity or carry a disproportionate share of the workload. As a consequence, they may resent the person abusing substances.'

'People who abuse substances are likely to find themselves increasingly isolated from their families. Often they prefer associating with others who abuse substances or participate in some other form of antisocial activity. These associates support and reinforce each other’s behavior.'

'Substance abuse can intensify problems and become an impediment to a stepfamily’s integration and stability. When substance abuse is part of the family, unique issues can arise. Such issues might include parental authority disputes, sexual or physical abuse, and self esteem problems for children.'

[23.] Chapter 2 of Impact of Substance Abuse on Families, p.3,4,7,8, 31.

In addition:

'Children whose parents abuse alcohol and other drugs are almost 3 times likelier to be physically or sexually assaulted and more than 4 times likelier to be neglected by their parents compared to children of parents who are not substance abusers.'

'With 28 million children of alcoholics and several million children of other drug abusers, children and adults in America who, during their lives, have been neglected and/or physically and sexually assaulted by substance-abusing parents constitute a significant portion of our population.'

[24.] https://www.centeronaddiction.org...

The reason I'm including a source specifically referring to alcohol use, is to demonstrate that when a drug is legal, it is more readily available--that is partly why there's a higher percentage of people abusing alcohol as a substance.

So, it's quite obvious that drugs are inherently harmful to ones environment--negatively impacting personal relationships and capacity to fulfill commitments. And this, of course, is in addition to the internal harms (I.E harms to physical and mental health.)

Thus, the 'harm principle' that Pro put forward has more or less been negated--specifically as these 'harms' negatively impact others, and, as I initially argued, it's a well-established fact that people cannot freely decide to harm themselves (using the examples of body multilation, suicide attempts, etc.) without at least some form of intervention to prevent this behaviour.

Prison System

Firstly, we should establish that everyone in prison, regardless of the crime (and this refers to Pros 2nd source) is 'taking up beds'. The point is that drugs have a relatively high level of danger, and that's why they are illegal. Their status is supposed to serve as a deterrent in terms of what the physical, environmental, and criminal repercussions could be. Nothing regarding the present system in the I.S (in which people can receive sentences for drug possession, dealing, etc.) would particularly change if drugs were to be made legal--as I stated in round two, they would likely be further abused, this risks to society would be further increased. Essentially everyone in prison in taking up a bed, but they are to be held accountable for their actions.

To use one example--it is legal to smoke/distribute cannabis in the state of Colarado; subsequently, personal use of the drug there is 42% higher than the national average. Teenage admissions for addiction to cannabis increased by 66% between 2011 and 2014. Moreover, disorderly conduct increased by 45% in the first year of legalization (2012-2013.) According to Colarado State Patrol, 77% of people tested positive for having cannabis in their system after having road traffic accidents. [25.] https://www.drugfreeworkplace.org...

Pros 3rd source, argues that legalisation would equate more regulation but this is highly speculative. All the while, the article fully acknowledges the significant risks associated with drug use.

Source 4 focuses more on the incarceration aspects, but again heavily ignores key points related to incarceration itself and why people are given jail sentences in the first place.

There is nothing to really show, that legalising drugs would indeed be more beneficial than detrimental; especially in regards to health and society.

Rather than actually legalising drugs--the U.S government should attempt to address the issues that often lead to drug use; such as poverty, lack of opportunity, lack of education, violence in the home, etc. The answer isn't to make the 'quick-fix' (drug use) more accessible but to penetrate the underlying factors relating to it.
Debate Round No. 3
warren42

Pro


I. Intro


I’ll mostly be going over the major points of contention and showing you why Pro has won this debate.


II. Harm Principle


No matter whether you buy my argument here or my opponent’s, I win this argument, and therefore, the debate. If you believe me and think that people should be able to harm themselves, via drugs in particular, then I win this debate because the government should not make laws restricting the right to do what you want to your own body. In the last round, my opponent likens drug use to self-harm. If you buy this argument, I still win because, as my opponent even states, these people are hospitalized for their self-harm. If my opponent wants to liken it to drug use, the same procedure should occur. It should be treated as a health issue, rather than a criminal one. Therefore, drugs should be decriminalized and we should shift toward a health-centered model like Portugal. Either way, I have won the debate on these grounds alone.


III. Choices Impacting Others


Here Con essentially states that the harm principal does not apply because drug use has a secondary effect on other people. However, if the use itself isn’t directly harming others, there is no reason to make it criminal. In the US status quo, there are plenty of decisions we can (and should be able to) make that have some negative impact on others. For example, if a father decides to spend money on the new iPhone instead of paying to fix the hot water heater, his family is negatively impacted. If a mother decides to abuse alcohol, her family suffers. However, these are both legal. People act selfishly. Sometimes there are secondary effects from these selfish actions. However, if they do not directly hurt others, they should be able to make poor decisions. We do not need the government to protect us from ourselves.


IV. Prison System


Sure. Every inmate is “taking up a bed.” Con is correct. However, drug users pose little to no threat to the outside world. There is no reason that they should be deprived of their freedoms and basic human rights just because of a poor decision that harms their own well-being. They are non-violent (until being deprived of normal social interaction and immersed in the violent world of the prison system for an extended period) and therefore they need not be imprisoned. A shift toward a health-centered model would alleviate the issues in the prison system, help rehabilitate drug users, and ensure dignity to both inmates who remain in prison and the drug users who would be sent to rehabilitation facilities. This is a health issue, not a criminal one.


Con questions whether regulation would occur with legalization (though this debate is about decriminalization; legalization takes it a step further) which is a ridiculous notion. Surely, like all other drugs that are currently legal, including OTC drugs, prescriptions, and alcohol, there would be a governing body which oversees and regulates potency, production, distribution, etc.


V. Usage Rates


Con drops my Portugal case study, which proves that decriminalizing drugs actually LOWERS rates of drug abuse. I again win the debate on these grounds alone, because Con’s primary goal is to decrease drug rates (which as I stated, has not happened in nearly a half-century of the current American drug policy) so if I can prove that decriminalization achieves this (and I have) then I win the debate.


VI. Conclusion


In this debate I have proven that the government need not interfere in our decisions to harm ourselves. However, if they do, it is not a criminal matter, it is a health one, so we should not criminalize drug use. This was the first pillar to Con’s position. I have cast doubt on the health implications of certain drugs Con decided to use as examples, particularly marijuana. Marijuana has massive health benefits and should be legalized for those reasons. This puts a dent in the second pillar. Finally, I have proven that decriminalization will reduce rates of drug abuse and help move us forward. This takes out the third and final pillar of Con’s position. Since I have disproven two of the three essential pillars to the Con position, as well as providing offense of my own, this debate has clearly been won by Pro.


VII. Closing Remarks


Thank you, Con, for a good debate. Thank you, voters, for taking the time and effort to put into it. If you are voting for Bsh’s tournament, no RFD is required, but if you have the time, I know I’d appreciate a quick one like “Pro wins because he proved x and y, while Con only proved z.” If you can do that it’d be greatly appreciated, if not thank you anyway!



Emilrose, if you advance, good luck in the next round!


Emilrose

Con

Final Rebuttals/Closing Argument

Throughout round four, Pro more or less simply states that he should win without really going into any great detail as to why he should win. I've demonstrated in my argument that illicit drugs are extremely dangerous to ones health, and have damaging societal effects (in terms of family, the ability to maintain a job, etc.) I've also highlighted that when drugs are legal, as in the case of alcohol and tobacco, they are more widely used and thus more open to abuse; this is one point that Pro has essentially dropped.

In arguing that people are hospitalised for self-harm, I was merely attempting to demonstrate that self-harm is heavily discouraged, and that the 'right' for people to commit-self harm, is practically non-existent. Indeed people who self-herm or attempt suicide so not receive prison sentences, but they do have the right taken away in the form of psychiatric prevention. For example, if someone wants to commit suicide, they can be involuntarily sectioned--thus, that proposed 'right' to do what we want to ourselves is extremely limited when we overstep the lines of doing ourselves physical harm, which inevitably occurs in the case of drug use (as I have demonstrated in my round one argument, by listing all the effects that specific drugs have on the body.)

In round three, I additionally looked at the state of Colarado and the overall impact that marijuana legalisations has had on the state so far--as can be seen, it is largely negative. (Pro appears to have dropped these contentions, though.)

In regards to Portugal (and I'll use this as my second-last rebuttal), drug-legalization hasn't actually been a complete success. No fact, there's plenty to indicate that's it's been quite the failure. [26.] http://www.bmj.com...

Note that delegalisation, doesn't necessarily equate more regulation, less crime, or indeed less drug use; as the above statistics clearly show.

***************************

I didn't have the opportunity to fully negate Pros argument on marijuana, either. Pro placed a great deal of emphasis on marijuana alone (whole somewhat ignoring my inclusion of other drugs), and argued that marijuana can actually be good for you. However, the 'relaxing' effect it has on people is mostly psychosomatic; and actually 'real'. And again, there's a number of detrimental physical effects that smoking it can incur--blood pressure alteration, blood sugar alteration, and lung damage. Not to mention the psychological impact it can have on some people; I.E, the severe anxiety and paranoia that it can cause.

I will leave my closing case here. Thanks to Pro for this debate. Once more I urge judges to assess those three key parts of my argument (health, society, and the overuse/misuse of drugs that are legal) and take them into consideration when deciding who to vote for.
Debate Round No. 4
9 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 9 records.
Posted by whiteflame 4 months ago
whiteflame
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>Reported vote: Outplayz// Mod action: Removed<

3 points to Con (Arguments). Reasons for voting decision: I agree with pro on one thing, cannabis. Yet, my vote goes to con bc i agree with con on all other issues. Good debate. Pro, in my opinion, could have won this by arguing changing laws to non-violent drug offenders. Giving addicts a chance to heal before incarceration. But, full decriminalization of all drugs is very dangerous overall.

[*Reason for removal*] The voter is required to assess specific arguments made by both debaters. Simply stating what the voter agrees with, and generally how the voter feels about the issue and what could have been argued, is not sufficient.
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Posted by LostintheEcho1498 5 months ago
LostintheEcho1498
That said, I realize that it was sourced before and while repeating a source is something I wouldn't encourage, having a source your opponent has rebutted and then attempting to make a rebuttal without even referencing a source makes it shaky ground at best. Considering health affects overall I'd give that to Con simply from the number of drugs introduced that Pro failed to rebut. I also need to consider societal affects as well as government responsibility(since I forgot it, oops). As far as government, Con starts by pointing out the moral obligations we have to make laws to prevent dangerous drugs from being used in a recreational manner. Pro attempts to rebut this by applying the self harm theory he used but unfortunately he didn't sufficiently support that position and as such does not apply. That gives this to Con. Then to societal affects, aka Portugal and Colorado. Pro starts off by giving the state of affairs in Portugal, the poster child of deregulating drugs. Con addresses Portugal at the end with a source of her own stating that Portugal may not be the success it claims to be. With there being opposite positions with sources it comes down to source reliability and credibility. With all the sources in question being media outlets I'd give them the same level of credibility all around and as such will simply move on. Colorado was discussed little enough I'm not sure to consider it as a contributing factor but I'll put it in here briefly. The position of Colorado as a positive example of deregulation is made in passing during Pro's cannabis rebuttal but is barely discussed again except at the end when Con simply states it may be wrong without sourcing. Overall, societal affects I leave at a tie. Overall the vote goes to Con. I know I didn't address all headings given throughout the debate and sort of grouped them together for the sake of convenience during consideration. In all, good debate guys.
Posted by LostintheEcho1498 5 months ago
LostintheEcho1498
Conduct, S/G, and sources are ties, nothing particularly negative on either side. As far as arguments, I'll grade on the system given, being 1. Self-Harm 2. Prison/Government Responsibility 3. Health Effects/Widespread Behavior(Portugal/Colorado). As stated in the intro BoP is on both sides so with that in consideration, I'll give 1 to Con. Con sufficiently disproved the theory by stating that suicide, or self harm, is illegal in a legal capacity and Pro failed to disprove. Pro did mention that hospitalization is what action is taken with self-harm and therefore should be applied to drugs but that only applies to the individual, not the government. Euthanasia being illegal still stands as a valid, uncontested point. As such 1 goes Con. For 2, being prison/government responsibility I will give this point to Pro. Pro originally states overcrowding and retribution rather than rehabilitation as the reasons to decriminalize. Con makes a 2 birds one stone approach saying that prisons are full because people do illegal things and drugs are illegal because its extremely unhealthy. This works, but I would hope for a more direct rebuttal that directly addresses the point he gave. That said, pro then goes to say that drug users have a tendency to be less violent and a medical approach would be better than prison. This statement remained standing by the end and so I give 2 to Pro. I consider giving this category a tie but with the total lack of rebuttal for taking a medical route compared to a weak rebuttal of Pro with prison overcrowding I lean Pro. Down to the final category, which is a difficult one. Con makes a firm position on the negative health of effects of several high profile illegal drugs and Pro attempts dismantling only her cannabis argument while reverting back to the self harm argument in regard to the rest. Pro does make a strong case for Marijuana and Con goes for a rebuttal in the conclusion but it wholly lacked sources.
Posted by Wylted 5 months ago
Wylted
That's right you guys ar jits so you won't know what a hit is either. Here you go https://www.google.com...

You're welcome
Posted by Wylted 5 months ago
Wylted
Here is a dictionary definition because you guys are jits and won't understand . https://www.merriam-webster.com...
Posted by Wylted 5 months ago
Wylted
Meant to say dibs. Dibs on winner. Dam auto correct doesn't know what "dibs" is?
Posted by Emilrose 5 months ago
Emilrose
O.o
Posted by warren42 5 months ago
warren42
Wylted: what?
Posted by Wylted 5 months ago
Wylted
Find on winner of this
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by Outplayz 4 months ago
Outplayz
warren42EmilroseTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: I agree with Con's arguments. Drug legalization would have more cons than pros. The only way around the drug problem is to change the laws of incarceration, changing it to a three strike rule or something, but that isn't what Pro argued. He argued for full decriminalization. This wouldn't help for the reasons con answers, more people would use it, more people will become addicted, and the psychological harms each drug has on the user.
Vote Placed by LostintheEcho1498 5 months ago
LostintheEcho1498
warren42EmilroseTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments