The Instigator
Pro (for)
11 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
0 Points

The abuse of illegal drugs ought to be treated as a matter of public health, not of crim jus

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/31/2010 Category: Politics
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 8,288 times Debate No: 13488
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (1)
Votes (2)




SOR: I affirm the resolution: Resolved: The abuse of illegal drugs ought to be treated as a matter of public health, not of criminal justice..

VALUE: Deontology. Which course of action will serve the greater good? Is a human being not a human being? When we incarcerate a human being due to use of illegal drugs, we are bascially throwing away a human being.

OBSERVATIONS: Drugs are medicines, which fall under the medical field. The use or abuse of drugs, either legal or illegal, is clearly a medical matter that should be handled by medical professionals, not the justice department.

Our Federal Government contains 3 branches, the executive, the legislative, and the judicial. Within the executive branch are 15 cabinets, 2 of which are the Department of Justice and the Department of Health & Human Services. Each serves a distinct purpose, independent of the other. I ask you judges, "When you have a toothache, do you call the dentist or the police department?"

CRITERION: Cost Benefit Analysis. The AFF will demonstrate that not only is treating drug abuse as a medical matter instead of a criminal matter the right thing thing to do, but also that it makes fiscal sense as well.

DEFINITIONS: I think although the wording of the NFL resolution is a bit enigmatic (illegal drugs notwithstanding), I feel that we both concur on the intent of the resolution and not get into a semantics battle.

C-1: Jail or rehab?
The approximate average cost to house a healthy prisoner is $32,000 per year. Inmates that require services can be much more expensive. According to NPR, many states are running into the quagmire of overcrowded prisons and the rising cost of housing prisoners. They are struggling to pay for this. Further, drug abusers and other non-violent criminals are taking up space that is needed for the more hardened criminals. They are between a rock and a hard place because of victim's rights.

A more fiscally responsible action would be to go the medical route of rehab. Granted it costs approximately $35,000 for a 6 month stay, however compare that cost with the average prison sentence of 80 months, and we can clearly see that rehab is the way to go. I ask you judges, "Which serves the greater good?"

C-2: Productive citizen or wasted life?
When a person completes rehab, they have, in essence, a second chance at life. Many are grateful for the release of the burden that has held them prisoner fo rso long. A successful rehab case can go to work! A successful rehab case can spend money! A successful rehab case contributes to the GDP. What does a prisoner do in jail? Nothing that is fiscally productive. In fact, taxes pay for prisoners, millions of dollars are spent on housing prisoners who give nothing back financially. I ask you judges, "What is the greater good?"

C-3: Self Respect or Rotting Away?
What happens to inmates? They get mediocre services at best, and according to NPR, prisons are full of drugs. People sent to prison do not even get away from drugs. It can be likened to keeping a person down. Not only do they not get the quality help they need, they actually are put in a place where no on ereally cares what happens to them. People may say things like, "They are in jail, they are animals, they deserve this." Regardless, we are basically throwing them away. Many people who are drug abusers also suffer depression. This makes them even less effective in the real world. Further, when their sentence is up, what is likely to happen? We do not need a crystal ball to tell what will likely happen.

Many people who complete rehab not only go on to lead clean, happy, and productive lives. They also provide a positive testimonial to others who are still struggling with their addiction. People who have conquered addiction have a renewed sense of accomplishment. They have self respect and self confidence. Some statistics boast success rates of up to 80% on the first rehab stint. I ask you judges, which serves the greater good? I ask you judges, which is more fiscally responsible?"

Thank you.


I would like to thank Twsurber for the challenge; unfortunately I am not as experienced in debating as the challenger. However I will try.

Addressing the Value point Twsurber made, when a human being chooses to throw away their life and future is it not our right to try to stop them? Drugs destroy people's lives; they are addictive and have serious physical repercussions. As a result they were made illegal to discourage use; sadly many are still either using or suffering the consequences of using too many drugs or non sanitary needles.

Observations: While drugs do fall under the medical field, just having medical professionals deal with the problem of drug addiction would not solve the problem. The Justice department prosecutes drug users and tries to destroy drug cartels so that the supply would be cut off therefore making it harder to buy drugs, helping many people. While having no access to drugs is not the best situation to beat drug addiction it is better than having easy access to drugs and using them constantly.

Addressing the issue of Prison or Rehab, while drug addicts should be put in rehab; how would you be able to tell which drug dealers are actually addicted to drugs? Rehab is a much shorter sentence then prison; therefore drug dealers could claim they are addicted to get a lesser sentence. While the real addicts are not getting the help they need, so I ask the judges this "would it be in the interest of the greater good if drug dealers were free to break the law with little consequence?"

Now while the prison systems are not the best, no one can help addicts until they want help. If they don't want to get better then we would be wasting resources trying to save someone who essentially doesn't want to be saved and is more interested in their next dose of drugs then their own well-being. Until these people are ready to get better why should we waste resources, space, and time on them? We could be spending that time trying to help people who actually want help, there are programs and groups made especially for the purpose of helping people break the addiction of drugs.

So while people who have broken drug addictions and set good examples for others, there are still a great number of people who need to be brought to justice. Some drugs are illegal if we give them the excuse they are looking for they will be back on the street within six months.

Thank you.
Debate Round No. 1


I will address points made by my opponent, and then attack my opponent's case.

I concur that someone should try to intervene, however, as the resolution states, it is more of a medical matter than a criminal matter. Drugs relate to medical. As my opponent stated, drugs do have a PHYSICAL repercussion, which should be treated by a doctor, not a jailer. In jail, drug users have access to drugs, but not adequate access to treatment. This only exacerbates the existing problem and offers little to no healing.

Opponent's observation. I concur and stipulate that the justice department does indeed attempt to bust drug cartels. Unfortunately, drugs are made from plants, which is a function of agriculture. Therefore, drugs will never be eliminated, thus people will always have access to drugs. It does not eliminate drugs nor does it make drugs significantly less accessible.

Rebuttal to prison or rehab. The resolution does not address drug dealers, it addresses drug abusers. Rregardless, I have demonstrated through CBA that it is more cost effective to treat abusers in rehab than it is to imprison them.

Rebuttal to the prison system statement. The aff will concur and stipulate that some people will not accept help. Again, I refer to CBA. Putting them in prison still is not cost effective. Placing them in residential rehab is more cost effective and provides a better opportunity for a successful recovery.

Rebuttal to opponent's last statement. I admit that is certainly possible for rehab cases to revert back to their old ways. Does that mean we throw in the towel? Is throwing them away the right thing to do? Who has not repeated a mistake? Does that mean we give up on them?

I have addressed all of my opponent's challenges. What I have not done is attack my opponent's case, because no case has been presented.

Voter issues:
1) As this is the L-D topic, it should resemble an L-D format.
2) My opponent has not offered a Value Premise
3) My opponent has not offered a Value Criterion
4) My opponent has offered no contentions to support her case
5) My opponent has not presented a case
6) Although new information should not be admissible beyond the initial round, I will allow my opponent to build a Negative Constructive in Round 2.

Thank you


Gothicdead forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2


1) My opponent forfeited Round 2, therefore I extend the attacks on my opponent's position with no opposition.

2) The AFF had demonstrated that the abuse of illegal drugs should indeed be treated as a medical matter rather than a criminal matter.

3) Not only is it the right thing to do, it also serves a greater good by affording drug abusers to obtain the medical & psychological treatment they need to have the potential to become productive citizens again.

4) Throwing them in prison (criminal matter) does nothing for the drug abuser, but rather increases the tax payer's financial burden, while offering no chance at rehabilitation.

5) The cost of rehab is much cheaper than imprisonment.

6) Rehabilitated drug abusers get jobs, pay taxes, and add to the GDP.

Thus the resolution is AFFIRMED, I respectfully request a PRO ballot.

Thank you to Gothicdead and the judges.


Gothicdead forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by Chad 5 years ago
The Contender did not bring up contentions of her own, she only addressed the contentions of her opponent.
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Vote Placed by mydogwags 5 years ago
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Vote Placed by Chad 5 years ago
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