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The Contender
Con (against)

Should Drugs be Legal?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/8/2017 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 976 times Debate No: 105656
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (2)
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I'd just like to start this off with the rules and debate format.

Round 1 - Greetings and acceptance
Round 2 - Pro Stance argument and rebuttal
Round 3 - Con Stance argument and rebuttal
Round 4 - Closing statements

- Keep it civil
- Don't debate with the intention of winning, debate with the intention of being open to being wrong, but at the same time try to help your opponent see your way of thinking

That's it. I look forward to debating anyone that's interested!


Hello, I look forward to engaging in a productive discussion. I like to start off with reasoning and my thought processes, then start citing more and more literature as my opponent begins his/her critique of my arguments. Hence, the sources are spare so far - but, I will base my stance on the following reasons:

1. Increase in Negative Health Effects

(P1) Legalization will lead to more widespread usage of drugs, arguably at better safety than illegal venues.
(P2) This wider spread usage of drugs will lead to dramatic increases of cases with substance abuse because of most drugs' addictive nature. This correlation is both statistically and economically proven. (
(P3) Legalization of drugs has already been done with several other damaging substances, and has almost always lead to an increase of harm to humanity. ( both alcohol and tobacco are discussed here)
(P4) Legalization of drugs sends message to unstable young adults (statistically at the highest ends of susceptibility for suffering from the problems of drug abuse) abusing laws and consequently, drugs that are legalized.
( - also says even when controlling for confounding variables, marijuana causes a decrease in cognitive skills/premature death)
( - adolescents with CD disorders are particularly susceptible from hard drugs/legalization programs
( - drug use clearly goes up with legalization, and harmful effects by consequence due to wider usage

2. Increase in Negative Economic/Social Effects

- -> finds necessary countermeasures (drug policing/more programs/facilities to distribute drugs safely as per legalization programs cost America more than simply keeping it illegal)
**Finds that legalizing drugs in Colorado actually lead to an increase in DUI arrests/prison time/jail taxation/etc. decrease in Colorado state revenue and economic instability rising due to legalization.
**Analyzes more states including Washington/Alaska/Oregon, etc. -> finds that legalization has little to no impact on economics (positive or negative) -> by my reasoning, a waste of money to institute a program that causes no change.

Overall, I feel I have covered the harmful effects (biological/economic/social) with hard (cocaine/heroin/etc.) and small (marijuana/alcohol) etc. drugs. I believe the harms outweigh the benefits. Ergo, legalization - will an innovative strategy at first, is irrational, economically unsupported, and neglects the clear health harms legalization could pose - both biologically, and learning from history with alcohol/tobacco, etc. I look forward to your counterargument.
Debate Round No. 1


Yeah don't worry about it. Just copy and paste it or something in the next round, and maybe I should've made the instructions a bit clearer. I hope by the end of the debate we can see each other's points of view.

To start, I think that a lot of people have misconceptions about drug legalization/decriminalization and what exactly it would do. Whenever I talk about it with other people, they seem to think that it'd just be to hand out drugs and leave them on the streets, but that's not at all what the point of it actually is. My arguments for believing in drug legalization/decriminalization are as follows:

1. Possession Charges Can Impact Someone Negatively for Their Entire Life
I'm sure we've both seen countless stories talking about someone who can't get a job because of past drug use. For example, here [1]. This guy got caught with weed and now his chances of getting his dream job are almost non-existent. If you look it up, you'll see endless stories about people who did some kind of drug and either regrets it or has quit, and wants to contribute to society or set their life straight, but they can't because of a criminal record. For someone who possessed weed, sure, maybe it won't affect his entire life. But what about someone who was addicted to heroin as a young person, got arrested, was released, and ended up stuck on the streets? Just the other day actually I was talking with a homeless guy in his 50's or 60's who was telling me he was homeless and starving because he couldn't get a job, because he had a criminal record for doing heroin when he was younger. You could tell from talking to him that he was the nicest guy you'd ever meet, but he was stuck in his half torn up jacket with a tiny toolbox doing odd jobs to get by, because he was trying to set his life straight. I'm aware that this is all anecdotal evidence, but there's endless stories of this kind, and decriminalizing drugs could make it a hell of a lot easier for former drug users to get actual jobs.

2. Helping Users Get Help
The most prevalent issue that prevents drug users from getting help is the stigma surrounding drug use [2]. When drug addicts are seen as criminals, and not someone who needs help, it's quite natural that users would be seen and treated as horrible people, when most are really fine people who might've turned to drug use for one reason or another. I think that one of your counterarguments to this could be that the stigma would never change, legal or not. I would say there's already a great example of stigma towards something being reduced. Just look at mental illness " there is a long history of mental illness being misunderstood and stigmatized, from the "schizophrenic mother" to the warehousing of "crazies"[3]. When you compare that kind of stigmatization to where we are know, it's insane how far we've come in a short amount of time. Because mental illness is far more understood by the general public, the stigma has been greatly reduced. All it would take to reduce the stigma around drug use, similar to mental illness, would be to educate the public more on what can cause drug addiction and why people don't get help.

3. Allocation of Government Funds
The details here are specifically for the United States, but the argument could apply to any country where drugs are illegal. In an article by The Huffington Post, they say that over 4 decades taxpayers have spent over a trillion dollars on the drug war [4]. Now I won't sit here and say it would cost nothing to set up more clinics and acquire safe drugs for the public, but I can say with complete certainty that it would cost much, much less than what The Drug War has cost over the years, and how the cost will continue to increase. Just think about it, you have potentially hundreds of billions of dollars that could go towards things that desperately need improvement, like education in poorer parts of the country, as well as infrastructure, which is currently pathetic for the richest country in history.

4. Safety, Organized Crime, Disease and Overdose
There will always be a market, legal or not, for drugs. I'd say we can both agree on that. However, controlling the quality of drugs being used is important to keep users alive. When the entire market is forced to be criminal, there aren't any regulations that need to be followed, so it's likely that creators of illegal drugs will take shortcuts or really won't care at all where the drugs have been, as long as they get money in return. The exact situation occurred when prohibition was in place in the 20's and 30's. Because production of alcoholic beverages was forced into the black market, and it was being distilled by criminals who may or may not know what they're doing, you will inevitably have a more dangerous product.

Organized crime is another huge aspect that comes with making a substance illegal. Because there was still a market for alcohol after it was made illegal, gangs inevitably rose up to sell it and fight each other over it, which leads to more violence. This source talks a fair bit about the rise of organized crime after prohibition was enacted [5]. Do you see the parallel we have here? One situation where drug legalization could've helped in saving lives is the scenario with Pablo Escobar. If the U.S. had made cocaine legal, there wouldn't be an opportunity for Pablo to get rich very quickly, and there you have it, you don't have a madman with hundreds of billions of dollars that's killing thousands of people in Colombia. Drug gangs exist but could be taken out of the picture if there was no illegal market for drugs.

The main counterargument to legalizing drugs is that more people would die from overdoses. My solution however would be to set up many supervised injection sites. I understand that not every user would want to do drugs outside of the comfort of their own home, but so far, in Canada, where the rules on drugs are very hazy, and you can go to supervised injection sites to do your heroin or fentanyl or whatever it may be with a greatly diminished risk of overdosing. This article goes into a bit more detail on how it actually saved someone who would've died if he didn't do his drugs at the site [7]. If these kinds of facilities were set up for all drugs instead of locking people up for their addictions, great things could come. Something else these sites could address is the spread of diseases like HIV by providing clean needles.

5. Race Issue
Another argument for legalization is that it could help deal with discrimination against blacks [6]. This article states that other races have a higher chance of developing drug addictions, but blacks are ten times more likely to be arrested for drug use than other races.


I'm quite new to debate in general so if you think I did anything wrong, please let me know! I definitely feel like I have tons of room for improvement and I'd love to hear your criticisms. There were one or two other minor points I wanted to add on but I've got about 300 characters left. Sorry for the long response time.


Placeholder for first argument - because I screwed up and didn't read the rules. Looking forward to the rest of your rebuttal.
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Debate Round No. 4
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by Soulman4764 3 years ago
I would agree Alphamus. Even I have trouble reading the rules properly.
Posted by Alphamus 3 years ago
Apologies, I did not read your rules properly. Please excuse my post, and post your arguments first!
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