The Instigator
200machao
Con (against)
Losing
7 Points
The Contender
LaissezFaire
Pro (for)
Winning
14 Points

the abuse of illegal drugs should be a matter of public health, not criminal justice

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
LaissezFaire
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/11/2010 Category: Health
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 11,354 times Debate No: 13349
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (4)
Votes (3)

 

200machao

Con

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.
LaissezFaire

Pro

As Pro, I will be arguing that drugs should be treated as a public health matter and not a criminal justice matter, thus, all currently illegal drugs should be legalized.

If drugs were legal, gangs in US inner cities would lose their main source of revenue. Latin American drug cartels currently killing tens of thousands and destabilizing governments would lose their source of income and dissolve. The Taliban and other terrorist groups would lose their main source of income. But what about increased drug use? Wouldn't an increase in drug users cause an increase in crime? No. In fact, crime among drug users would probably decrease. There would be an increase in drug users, yes. But where would these new drug users come from? The new users would have to come from the group of people that respected the law too much to use drugs while they were illegal. Those people are unlikely to become criminals. In addition, alcohol (Not meth, not PCP, not heroin, not crack—just alcohol) is the only drug that has been shown to cause aggression. [1] Violent crime committed by drug users is generally the result of people who were violent anyway. But what about addicts stealing to support their habit? If drugs were legalized, the price would fall to a small fraction of the black market price. Marijuana, for example, is predicted to fall by as much as 80% if Proposition 19 passes in California. [2] Desperate addicts would need less money to support their habit, so they wouldn't need to steal nearly as much.

[1] http://www.druglibrary.org......

[2] http://www.rand.org......

Not only does strong law enforcement cause crime, it also often hurts law-abiding people. Many innocent people become victims of corrupt DEA agents or police officers in the drug war. Particularly dangerous to every private citizen are asset forfeiture laws, (police can seize anything they believe is connected with any crime, without a trial or hearing. Innocence of the crime is usually irrelevant.), as the following example illustrates:
"The owner of a $5 million California ranch refused to negotiate with officials who wanted to merge the property into a park system. Subsequently a search warrant was obtained for a drug squad raid on the rancher's home. When applying for the warrant, police said an informant had reported thousands of marijuana plants on the property. Police did not tell the judge they were skeptical of the informant's credibility. In the application, one officer swore to what he was told by another officer, but the other officer's statement was false (by using this technique neither officer could be accused of perjury). Nor was the judge told that more than one secret warrantless search had recently been made of the ranch land without finding a single marijuana plant. Maps handed to all members of the strike team included handwritten notations saying '200 acres' and '80 acres sold for $800,000 in 1991 in same area.'" When the drug squad burst into the ranch couple's home, the wife started screaming, 'Don't shoot me! Don't kill me!' as team members manhandled her. The commotion apparently roused her sleeping husband who ran downstairs with a pistol. Squad members told him to lower the firearm, and as he obeyed they shot him to death. They ejected the woman from the house while she ran to her stricken husband. No marijuana was found in the house or anywhere on the 250 acres. The county prosecutor admitted the raid 'was motivated, at least in part, by a desire to seize and forfeit the ranch for the government.' Governmental desire to merge the ranch into parkland may explain the otherwise curious presence of U.S. Park Service agents in the drug raid team." [3]

[3] Miller, Richard Lawrence. Drug Warriors and Their Prey: from Police Power to Police State. Westport, CT: Praeger, 1996. Print. 105-106.

But what about the public health dangers of the drugs themselves? Well, those dangers are often caused not by the drugs, but by our treatment of drugs as a criminal offense (The spread of HIV through used needles, for example). But, yes, many drugs are dangerous. However, they are not nearly as life-destroying as most people assume. As an example, I will discuss heroin specifically below, and will also discuss any other drugs my opponent wishes to mention.

Heroin- This drug is said to be immensely pleasurable, supposedly many times more so than an orgasm, so good that users get addicted for life after one hit. Then, once addicted, get higher and higher doses to attempt to get back to the original high, ruining their life in the process. These claims are largely false. First, a heroin high is nowhere near as good as most believe. Researchers injecting heroin into test subjects found that the vast majority were indifferent to the feeling or disliked it. [4] The actual high is basically several hours of blocking out everything. Food, sex, jobs, friends, pain, frustrations, and everything else no longer matter. Generally, only a person that already had problems, someone that wanted to escape from reality, would have a compulsive craving for this feeling. But what about physical addiction, like how smokers have physical cravings for nicotine? Studies of users show that physical dependence does not develop easily. A user would have to inject pure, unadulterated heroin three times a day for two straight weeks to develop a level of dependence detectable by medical instruments. [5] With diluted street heroin, it is even harder to develop physical dependence. Another false claim is that once addicted, heroin users are addicts for life, because it is so hard to get off heroin. Most users have few problems with withdrawal; which, physically, is generally no worse than a bad cold, and over in a few days. [7] Of course, those are just the physical symptoms. Many addicts use heroin to escape their problems. Since those problems come back once the heroin wears off, often worse than they were before, addicts just use more heroin, creating a vicious cycle. These are the people that have tremendous difficulty getting off heroin; and this type of addict has more to do with the person than the drug. As for the effect of heroin use on one's life: When most people think of a heroin user, they think of a desperate addict living on the streets, stealing to pay for his habit. This image is not the typical heroin user. [8] In 1971, Washington DC police captain Gerald M. Caplan, said "more than 100 officers were taking heroin. How did we learn about them? Not because their performance was poor. . . We took urine specimens." A study of college student GPA's found no significant difference between users and non users. [9]

[4] Lasagna, L., John M. von Felsinger, Henry K. Beecher. "Drug-Induced Mood Changes in Man." Journal of the American Medical Association 157 (1955): 1113-1119.

[5] Kaplan, John. The Hardest Drug: Heroin and Public Policy. Studies in Crime and Justice. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1983. 27.

[6] Scur, Edwin M. Narcotic Addiction in Britain and America: The Impact of Public Policy. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1962. 27.

[7] Platt, Jerome J., and Christina Labate. Heroin Addiction: Theory, Research, Treatment. Wiley Series on Personality Processes. A Wiley Interscience Publication. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1976. 171.

[8] Blum Richard H., et al. Students and Drugs: College and High School Observations. The Jossey-Bass Behavioral Science Series and the Jossey-Bass Series in Higher Education (published jointly). San Fransisco: Jossey-Bass, 1969.
Debate Round No. 1
200machao

Con

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 shall state my case and move on to attack my opponents

Before I begin this debate, I shall define a few words in the resolution.

I negate , Resolved, "The abuse of illegal drugs should be treated as a matter of public health, not criminal justice.

I value Public Safety which is best achieved through the criterion of hegemony, which is essentially a dominant cultural group exerting its power over other lesser cultural groups. Culture is defined by the Merriam websters Dictionary as human beliefs or behaviors often passed on through generations.This means a religion can be considered a culture as well.Hegemony achieves the public safety because the CIA World Fact Book states that 46% of the world's population is either Judaist, Islamic, chiristian, Buddhist, or Hindu, which are the dominant cultural groups in the world. All of them are opposed to the harm drugs can cause, and even most atheist or smaller religious groups still have a certain degree of opposition to the harmful nature of most illegal drugs.

Contention one: Public health and criminal justice are interconnected. Looking at most world laws, you will see a noticeable pattern in all of them. The "Do not kill" and "Do not Steal" laws are present in almost every country. Why do such laws exist? One, to prevent anarchy, which is a governments main opposition, but also to protect the citizens of the state. Drugs cause immeasurable harm to other citizens, which is opposed to. The main reason laws are made are one, yes to benefit the government, but also to ensure public welfare.

Contention Two: Drugs cause immeasurable harm to the public. Joseph Malamor, A University of Kentucky professor explains, "The drugs alter your body in such a way that you will be often unaware of your actions. A research shows 35% of drug abusers end up commiting some type of murder. Ith this being said, it is the government's obligation to preserve lives, which achieves global stability and morality.

On to my opponents case

He has no value for his case. What is he trying to achieve? He has no criterion. How does he plan to achieve his value? I automatically win by default because of this.
On his contention one, he states violent crimes were commited by violent people. What? Here is his warrant for that claim. That entire contention is dropped because he is giving his own biased assumptions of who drug abusers are, and therefore he is being abusive. Alchohol is the only source that causes aggression? Cross apply my evidence that illegal drugs cause unpredictable behavior, as explained by Jospeh Malamor. He has no warrant for this claim, while I do, so I outweigh him on this evidence. He also states desperate addicts would not need to steal as much. Again, judge, understand he has no warrant for any of these claims and should be disqualified for being overly abusive. If my opponent does not prove public health does not contradict criminal justice, then I win the round. Therefore I urge you to affirm.
I apologize for my hastily written case, this will certainly improve by tournament time.
LaissezFaire

Pro

Before I begin, I'd like to correct part of my previous post. Sources [1] and [2] are http://www.druglibrary.org... and http://www.rand.org... respectively. The ends of the links were accidently cut off.

My opponent claims that I have no value or criterion for my case, and thus, he "automatically wins." I thought it was extremely obvious that I was arguing that legalization would lead to the best consequences, but if my opponent wants me to explicitly write this out:
Criterion: Consequentialism. That is, society is better off under legalization than under the current system. "Better off" refers to a combination of many things, including public safety, public health, crime, etc.

My opponent's case:
First, he claims that drugs are viewed as harmful by almost everyone in the world. Well, so what? We aren't debating whether or not drugs are harmful or whether or not they're a good thing. Drugs exist and will always exist—we are debating which approach to them will cause less harm, legalization or prohibition.

Next, he mentions that laws against stealing and murder are in place in every country. Those laws are universal because they are obviously bad things that should be prohibited. Drug laws, on the other hand, are not uniform in every country. Many Western countries have taken a more public-health oriented approach to drug policy. For example, Portugal decriminalized drugs in 2001 (Criminal penalties for trafficking and production remain, but criminal penalties for drug use were removed). A study on the effects of this policy found that "Although postdecriminalization usage rates have remained roughly the same or even decreased slightly when compared with other EU states, drug-related pathologies — such as sexually transmitted diseases and deaths due to drug usage — have decreased dramatically." [1]

[1] http://www.cato.org...

My opponent also claims that "The main reason laws are made are one, yes to benefit the government, but also to ensure public welfare."
Actually, the main reason these laws passed is racism. In the 1930s, the government began a smear campaign against marijuana. In 1936, the Federal Bureau of Narcotics stated that "prolonged use of Marihuana frequently develops a delirious rage which sometimes leads to high crimes, such as assault or murder. Hence Marihuana has been called the 'killer drug.' . . . Marihuana sometimes gives man the lust to kill, unreasonably and without motive. Many cases of assault, rape, robbery, and murder are traced to the use of Marihuana." [2] They also stated that "50 percent of the violent crimes committed in the districts occupied by Mexicans, Turks, Filipinos, Greeks, Spaniards, Latin-Americans and Negroes can be traced to the abuse of Marihuana cigarettes." [2] Similar campaigns resulted in the criminalization of opium (said to have caused Chinese to rape white women and commit other violent crimes) and cocaine (supposedly caused blacks to rape white women, etc).

[2] Bonnie, Richard J. and Charles H. Whitebread. The Marijuana Conviction: A History of Marijuana Prohibition in the United States. New York: Lindesmith Center, 1999 (reprint).

As for my opponent's 2nd claim—that 35% of drug abusers end up committing some type of murder—this is obviously false. First of all, there just aren't enough murders for this to possibly be true, even if every murder was committed by a drug user. Second, as my previous link shows, even the Department of Justice found that drug use isn't linked to aggression. Third, he didn't provide a link to this study, and I could find no mention of a professor by this name at the University of Kentucky's faculty directory.

On my opponent's critique of my case: He claims that I have no evidence for my claims, and that they are based entirely on my "biased assumptions of who drug abusers are." Actually, my claims are based on empirical facts, including a report from the Department of Justice stating that alcohol is the only drug that has been shown to cause aggression. They found that drug-related violence is generally either violence between rival drug sellers, which is purely a result of the fact that drugs are illegal, and property crimes committed to obtain money to buy drugs. The first source of violence only exists because drugs are illegal, as evidenced by the fact that alcohol sellers and distributers stopped shooting each other after alcohol prohibition ended. The other form of crime is a result of the high prices of drugs, also caused by the fact that they are illegal. The RAND study linked earlier found that marijuana prices, for example, would drop by 80% if marijuana were legalized.
Debate Round No. 2
200machao

Con

You are pretty impressive at debating. I admit my defeat, I am a novice actually, and I did so just so I could see some good points for the affirmative. Thank you for this insight, and I consent my defeat. However, legalization is subjective for a value because legalizaion is not universaly accepted, so, correct me if I'm wrong, a value must universally accepted therefore everything is dropped.
LaissezFaire

Pro

I don't know what you're talking about. The value is that society will be better off.

Arguments extended.
Debate Round No. 3
200machao

Con

um ok so are you even a ld debater? because your value should be clearly stated. I said i dont really want to debate a logical dbater, i want to debate a ld debater
LaissezFaire

Pro

I'm not sure what you mean by "logical debater." I would think that all debaters should be logical. Anyway, "Value-society's well being" then.
Debate Round No. 4
200machao

Con

200machao forfeited this round.
LaissezFaire

Pro

Arguments extended.
Debate Round No. 5
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by LaissezFaire 6 years ago
LaissezFaire
That's weird. Maybe it's someone's 2nd account.
Posted by J.Kenyon 6 years ago
J.Kenyon
She's not an active member. She just shows up from time to time to votebomb. She did it on a couple of mine, I believe.
Posted by LaissezFaire 6 years ago
LaissezFaire
tbtaylor, my opponent conceded in round 3. Why did you vote 7-0 for him?
Posted by LaissezFaire 6 years ago
LaissezFaire
OK, so the debate will be:
Round 1a. What you just posted
1b. My opening argument
2a. Your opening argument
2b. My rebuttal
3a. Your rebuttal
Then what? Just repeated rebuttals until 5a and 5b?
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by J.Kenyon 6 years ago
J.Kenyon
200machaoLaissezFaireTied
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Total points awarded:07 
Vote Placed by tbtaylor 6 years ago
tbtaylor
200machaoLaissezFaireTied
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Vote Placed by LaissezFaire 6 years ago
LaissezFaire
200machaoLaissezFaireTied
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Total points awarded:07