The Instigator
Pro (for)
The Contender
Con (against)

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

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/27/2017 Category: Society
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 562 times Debate No: 101445
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (1)
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It didn't fit in the title but it should be stated that we will be debating about whether or not it should be that way in America, if that makes any difference

First round is acceptance only
Second is opening statements
3rd and 4th, rebuttals
5th, closing arguments

I will be arguing FOR this


I accept.
Debate Round No. 1


Thank you for accepting this debate, I will be outlining my main arguments in this round.

1. The War on Drugs

I will be using this first contention to explain why the criminalization of drugs has failed.

a. The War on Drugs has Failed

The fact remains as it did back when alcohol was under prohibition. Prohibition just simply does not work. More than $51 billion dollars is spent on the war on drugs annually. [1] We have nothing to show for it except a couple of grim statistics:
More than 100,000 people have been killed in Mexico's drug war alone since 2006.[1]
More than 200,000 students lost federal financial aid due to drug convictions.[1]
"The drug overdose death rate increased by about 10 percent per year from 1999 to 2006, and then continued to increase but at a slower rate, rising 3 percent per year from 2006 to 2013. Then, the rate sped up again, rising by 9 percent per year from 2013 to 2015." [2]
In 2015 Alone, 52,404 people died of drug overdose.[1]
360,836 people contracted aids from syringe sharing, 30% of all diagnosed aids patients.[1]
These grim statistics are all taken from a percentage or per x amount of people basis. All of these statistic show the failure of the drug war.
"Since the global war on drugs began, drug use has expanded steadily, the exact opposite outcome the war is meant to effect." [3]
The key statistic here is the one from this article. [2] It uses per 100,000 people basis so it adjusts for population perfectly. This proves, without a doubt, the drug war has failed.

b. The War on Drugs is detrimental

This will essentially be a laundry list of the effects of the war on drugs.
"In the past 40 years, The US has spent more than $1 trillion enforcing drug laws." [3]
"Taxpayer money squandered on drug enforcement is diverted from other social spending measures that actually benefit citizens." [3]
The amount of people incarcerated for drug related offenses is 13 times the amount it was 40 years ago. Causing in a productivity loss of $40 billion a year. [3]
The war on drugs has made being a criminal INSANELY profitable, "413% mark-up from farm gate to consumer in the price of a legal drug, coffee, the percentage price mark-up for an illegal drug such as heroin can run into multiple thousands." [3]
Expensive drugs, caused by the war on drugs, causes more people to commit crimes in order to fund their habits. [3]
"The violence perpetrated by both criminals and governments to control the illegal drug trade is devastating."[3]
Makes criminals of the poor by cutting off the only way they can earn a living.[3]
"government planes are spraying Roundup ""'""""" an indiscriminate herbicide that kills every plant it touches ""'""""" from the sky in an attempt to eradicate drug crops." [3]
Etc. Etc. Etc.
These are all direct results of the war on drugs, not the drugs themselves.

2. Freedom to One's own Body is a Human Right

John Stuart Mill stated his view of freedoms based on "The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others."
The government has no right outside of that, you cannot enforce laws that stop people from doing what they want with their own bodies and lives as long as those things don't infringe on the freedoms of others. There is no reason for the government to stray outside these bounds.
Drugs are the prime example of modern law stopping people from doing what they want to their own bodies.
The old arguments that drugs cause the violence that surrounds them are flawed, because the only reason for that violence is that the drugs are illegal which makes the "drug game" a free for all.
Decriminalizing drugs would restore somatic rights to all people of that nation.
Most of the argumentation against the harm principle (John's view of freedoms) is that it is not clearly defined. While in general that is a valid argument, it isn't in this context. Taking drugs does not provide a clear line to the infringement of another individual's freedoms.

3. Advantage 1 - Less Drug Abuse

These arguments will be backed up by this article. [4]

a. Decriminalization reduces drug use of children
This point in the article draws on the proven notion that with decriminalization and normalization of drugs would cause more responsible decisions to be made surrounding them. This is not just because of the education that would improve with decriminalization; but with it being another substance that is just apart of life experience around it will increase as well.

b. Encourages actual treatment for addicts
"the treatment that we see today is not genuine because it is forced on people and doesent address the reasons why they are doing drugs in the first place." The vast majority of drug addicts started using for some mental health reason or another. Many times its stress, anxiety, or depression; but it is also common for abuse victims to turn towards drug to cope. Today's treatment programs try to force the idea that drugs are bad into peoples head, although they are already addicted. This obviously has little to no effect and should be a preventative measure instead of a reactive measure. To put this into a quantitative statistic:
"Since many treatment centers do not follow up with their patients, the '100 percent' success rate some cite only applies to those who complete the length of their stay. Even those who boast a more modest '30 percent success rate' only draw that figure from the immediate sobriety rates after treatment, not from six months or three years down the road."[5]
This shows that even a 30% success rate is still too high. The reason for this? The article continues to explain that the traditional form of rehabilitation, "self-help," is ineffective. It explains that the idea one must hit "rock bottom" for self help to work is one of the inherent flaws. It also elaborates that medication is extremely effective especially when used in tandem with psychological therapy.
The abolition of the drug war would also result in less drug overdoses. Not only because there is less abuse but also for different reasons. Let's look at the typical PREVENTABLE drug OD scenario. A usually small group of people are using, when someone starts to show signs of an overdose the police aren't called or notified, and the hospital isn't an option. Why? Because they are afraid of what would happen to them, selfishly so, and don't want to get caught. Only 9 states have passed good Samaritan laws that protect people that get help for an overdosing patient, but these wouldn't even be needed if the prohibition of drugs wasn't in place.
Not only does the abolition grant somatic rights but it also protects privacy rights. Just on the basis of the officer smelling a potential drug, they can enter homes, search cars, and violate the rights of nonviolent people.
By taking away the war on drugs we can finally address the addiction for what it is, a detrimental illness and not an incriminating act.

4. Advantage 2 - Massively Reduced Crime

This will not be claiming that decriminalizing something means there is less crime, you could decriminalize anything and there'd technically be less crime. What this will be addressing is the crime surrounding drugs.
Let's work off an example in Britain. The prices up until the mid 1950s were about 25 pence a "hit" for heroin. During period of time, there were only about 50 hardcore addicts in all of what is the UK. Now that it is illegal heroin is about 30 POUNDS a hit. 120 times what it was. This cannot be attributed to something like inflation, it is due to it being criminalized. More risk = higher cost. Now this is where we get the notion that decriminalization would reduce crime. Since the UK now has around 260,000 heroin users, we can expect a lot of crime to pay for their addiction.
Just think logically about it. Poppy and hemp grow for next to nothing in a vast majority of places. If it were legal, there would be no need for heroin addicts to do crimes to fuel their addiction. This is because the drug provider has lower manufacturing costs and the regulation that comes with decriminalization creates a competitive market that lowers prices.
Plus in this article we see a specific example. [6] After the legalization of marijuana in Colorado: "According to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, the state saw an overall decrease of 1 percent in reported crimes for 2014. The state also saw an overall decrease of 2.5 percent in the crime rate per 100,000 people. Digging even deeper, Colorado experienced a 3.1 percent drop in property crimes and a 12.8 percent decrease in homicides."
The site goes further into how car theft, sexual assault, and burglaries have lowered as well. The overall crime rate only had a small percentage drop because pot is fairly affordable. This means addicts don't have to do crimes such as the ones detailed above.

In conclusion, the war on drugs have horribly failed and have caused many detriments to the health and somatic rights of the general population. Not only would the the abolition of the war on drugs and legalization of illegal drugs stop these harms it would also cause many advantages.

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Debate Round No. 2
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Debate Round No. 3
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Debate Round No. 4
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Debate Round No. 5
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by Nuevo 3 years ago
My apologies for delaying my R1. I am really ecstatic to have this discussion with you.Can you challenge me to this debate again? I already wrote my introduction and it would be sore if I chunked it to waste.
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