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

The abuse of illegal drugs should be treated as a matter of public health not criminal justice

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/9/2010 Category: Health
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 5,441 times Debate No: 13606
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (5)
Votes (2)




This follows the Lincoln douglas Debate Format. The affirmative will argue first, and then the negative or con, then affirmative gets a rebuttal in which they can attack the negative case and finally in the last rebutal the negative attacks the aff.


I thank my opponent for starting this debate.

Viewers will likely be amused by my initial arguments, however I urge all of us to approach this debate with an open mind as well.

I wish my opponent luck.
Debate Round No. 1


"…the solution lies in prevention, which in turn is largely a matter of education and enforcement, which aims at keeping drug pushers away from children and teenagers."

It's because I agree with the DEA that I affirm the resolution, "RESOLVED: The abuse of illegal drugs ought to be treated as a matter of public health, not of criminal justice."

Public Health: The Southcentral foundation ( an Alaskan native owned healthcare organization) defines public health as, "Discusses and acts on issues that affect the general health of a community. Often involves issues such as water safety, sanitation, immunizations, housing, infectious diseases and illness prevention."

Value: Societal Welfare
The resolution frames the area of concern in the round, which is societal welfare. This is because society suffers when its members have poor health outcomes, such as the negative consequences associated with drug use.

Criterion: Consequentialism
Consequentialism is defined by the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy as "whether an act is morally right depends only on consequences." This means the only way we can determine the morality or justification of any act is through a Consequentialist framework.
The resolution frames the area of concern for the round, being that of looking at the consequences, positive or negative, of both the criminal justice system and the public health approach when deciding how to treat the matter of abuse of illegal drugs. Thus, we default to the Criterion of consequentialism, because we must look at the harms and benefits associated with these two systems.
Observation: The resolution does not imply any specific actor because the resolution is used in a passive voice. In any statement using a passive voice, the subject receives the action. This means the Affirmative is not shackled by the massive burden of defending a specific actor.

Contention 1: The public health approach prevents harmful consequences by preventing drug abuse.
•Subpoint A: The public health approach uses preventative measures to control and mitigate drug use.
NIDA '09
... prevention research has led to improved understanding of addiction and has to build upon solid epidemiological findings and new insights from genetics and neuroscience. Findings have revealed the myriad contributors to addiction… research strives to identify the factors that put people at risk of drug abuse or protect them from it. Results lead to more effective strategies to prevent people from ever using drugs in the first place.
•Subpoint B: The public health approach minimizes the spread of HIV/AIDS through drug use.
NIDA '09
Drug abuse continues to be a major vector for the spread of HIV/AIDS through its connection with other risky behaviors… research advances the less acknowledged link between drug abuse… and HIV transmission. This highlights the… plan to continue to support… the most effective HIV risk-reduction interventions for different populations… This includes seeking out the best ways to incorporate HIV education, testing, counseling, and referral and supporting research to identify and overcome stigma and HIV and drug abuse. NIDA also sponsors research to learn more about the multiple interactions that occur with neurological complications of HIV, substance abuse, other comorbid disorders. This knowledge can inform the development of more responsive interventions.
•Subpoint C: The public health approach targets the underlying causes of drug use with preventative measures.
NIDA '09
Contention 2: Pragmatism - Public health proponents often promote the testing of
behavioral interventions (like drug treatment programs or education
programs) with experiments just like one would do on a new drug.
Rather than assuming that an education program works (or policies
that imprison people for possessing a drug), public health proponents
like to use experiments to test whether their programs actually improve
health outcomes. Does the education program actually reduce drug use
in children? Public health people want to know and they are more than
willing to abandon approaches for which the data do not seem to show
an effect


Once again good luck to pro.

I negate.

The value is Global Security. Security is defined as freedom from danger or harm, thus global security is securing the world from danger or harm. This is the paramount value in the round because not treating drugs as criminal will cause harms on a global scale.

To uphold Global Security I offer the criterion of Adhering to International Law. If nations do not follow international contracts that they themselves agree to then it destroys their credibility to the world and threatens global alliances. Without trust between nations, tension is created and conflict becomes inevitable.

Contention 1: Failing to treat drug abuse as a matter of criminal justice will inevitably lead to large-scale war.

Sub point A. Failing to criminalize drugs violates international obligations.

Currently there are a set of treaties in place that have been signed and ratified by 180 different nations including almost every major country in the world. These include the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs Act of 1961 and the Convention on Psychotropic Substances Act of 1971. In short, these treaties mandate that all participating nations criminalize drug use, possessionn, trafficking, etc. The Single Convention treaty states quote (1) "... each Party shall adopt such measures as will ensure that cultivation, production...*possession*...purchase, sale...and exportation of drugs contrary to the provisions of this Convention...shall be punishable offenses when committed intentionally, and that serious offenses shall be liable to adequate *punishment* *particularly by imprisonment or other penalties of deprivation of liberty.*

The Psychotropic Substances Act reinforces these provisions for additional drugs discovered after the Single Convention Act was created. (2)

Therefore, all 180 participating nations are obligated by international law to criminalize drug possession, which is necessary for abuse. Since the affirmative advocates not treating drug abuse as a matter of criminal justice, they cause all participating nations to violate these international treaties, thus breaking international obligations and law.

Sub point B. Violation of international treaties will destroy the credibility of all violating nations.

When the affirmative causes all nations to break treaties that they themselves signed and agreed to, it will destroy the credibility and honesty that they worked hard to create. It would create far too much suspicion if everyone broke these treaties at once, John Lawn explains "it is necessary to consider how drug legalization will affect this country's future. Legalization of drugs would send the wrong message to the rest of the world. Under these treaties, nations are obligated to establish and maintain effective controls on those substances covered by the treaties. A violation of these treaties by the United States would destroy our credibility with drug source and drug transit countries that are now working with the United States in the global war on drugs."

John C. Lawn, former administrator of the United States Drug Enforcement Administration, "A
Symposium on Drug Decriminalization: The Issue of Legalizaing Illicit Drugs", Hofstra Law
Review, Volume 18, 1990.

Lets also look at this from a real world perspective. How would we feel if the UK for example, who has been on this treaty from the getgo, all of a sudden broke its obligation to fulfill this treaty that we worked so hard to create? Now imagine if every nation broke this agreement. When everyone was so supportive of the treaty but broke it anyway, how can we trust them to uphold their word in the future? This creates a destruction of trust between nations.

Sub point C. Destroyed credibility will lead to nationwide distrust and inevitably, conflict on a global scale.

In a world with heated rivalries between nations, trust and alliances are necessary to maintain peace. However when we cannot trust other nations to uphold their word it threatens all foreign relations. We are now thrown into a world where we cannot trust other countries to do what they claim. As a result, tensions rise at the slightest action by a foreign state. Let us look at the Treaty of Versailles, which will give us an example of treaty violation leading to war.

(3) The Treaty of Versailles was signed after World War I that required Germany to pay war reparations among other things. A key component of this treaty was that Germany was not permitted to expand its territory or occupy nations it had lost in the war. Adolf Hitler said no. He broke the treaty and annexed Austria and reoccupied the Rhineland. We all know what happened next. The violation of this treaty ended up creating a chain of events that eventually lead to World War 2.

We see how violations of international agreements leads to war. We also must account for international distrust caused by drug decriminalization. Because India and Pakistan cannot trust each other to not invade the territory of Kashmir, they have ended up in large scale war three times. In 1950, when the United States warred with North Korea, China no longer trusted the United States to not invade communist nations. Being communist itself, China now felt threatened due to this distrust and ended up joining in the Korean War and conflicted with the United States.

Trust and alliances are necessary to maintaining peace. As we see from these several examples, without trust, war is inevitable. Because failing to criminalize drugs will destroy all nations' credibility and lead to international distrust, we must negate the resolution and keep drugs illegal.

1. (article 36)

Onto the affirmative.

My opponent fails to define Treat, therefore you accept my definition for the round. Treat is defined by Random House Dictionary as "to subject to some agent or action in order to bring about a particular result" (4)

My opponent values societal welfare. However, there are several societies in our world, and my opponent never specifies which society or societies he provides welfare for. In short, the subject of my opponent's value is extremely vague. Therefore you must accept Global Security as paramount for this round, because I specifically say who I a proving safety for. The globe. Everyone.

His criterion is Concequentialism. He says drug abuse will happen if we dont affirm, so not doing so is immoral. However, as my case shows, hundreds of thousands of people will die if we do not negate. Which consequence is more important in this round? Having a few potheads walking the streets, or the death of potentially millons of people?

Contention 1 is all about prevention of drug abuse. However, extend my conceded definition of treat, which means to subject to some agent. My opponent's burden, therefore, is to treat drug abuse. He does not treat drug abuse, he tries to prevent it. This is nontopical for this round because my conceded definition does not encompass prevention. He as the affirmative must TREAT drug abuse, as the resolution refers to; prevention is negative ground. Because he does not fulfill this burden, you must vote con.

Contention 2 is about...experimentation? I'm not going to pretend like I completely understand what its trying to say, but I will say that experimentation on public health systems should not take priority over preventing large scale war.

Round summary:

Criminalization is necessary to maintain international trust, and to prevent war.
Aff does not fulfill his burden of *treating* drug abuse.
War outweighs all his impacts of more drug abusers.

I urge a con vote.
Debate Round No. 2


billybobjoe122345 forfeited this round.


My opponent is the one who challenged me yet he quits.

Vote con.
Debate Round No. 3


billybobjoe122345 forfeited this round.


My opponent quits.

Please vote con.
Debate Round No. 4


billybobjoe122345 forfeited this round.


Vote con.
Debate Round No. 5
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by billybobjoe122345 7 years ago
yah i do but i messed up typing
Posted by BlackVoid 7 years ago
One more thing.

"and finally in the last rebutal the negative attacks the aff."

Do you not want a 2AR?
Posted by BlackVoid 7 years ago
Alright. WWIII it is. Good luck, this should be really fun for both of us.
Posted by billybobjoe122345 7 years ago
Dude its okay just post ur other one cuz i want to go against the crazy one its good practice
Posted by BlackVoid 7 years ago
Give me a day or two to finish my new neg. I'll gladly accept then. Our coach got mad because we were getting known as the school that ran crazy cases, so we had to make somewhat normal ones. Besides I dont think my "Decrim -> World War III" will persuade people on this site.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by BlackVoid 7 years ago
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Vote Placed by 200machao 7 years ago
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Total points awarded:07