The Legality Of Drugs Essay Sample
To most us, the word ‘drugs’ is very common and we already have our own understanding even with out defining the term. We often hear such terms as drug addicts, drug over dose, and drug dependents which are all associated with the use of drugs either with right prescription or just by our curiosity.
Before going to discuss the legality of drugs, it is quite necessary to have accurate knowledge what really is a drug. Nita K. Pandit defines it as “a chemical substance that interacts with a part of the body to alter an existing physiological or Biochemical process” (p. 8). Pandit explained that Drug can increase or “decrease an existing function of an organ, tissue, or cell, but cannot impart a new function to them” (p. 8). Pandit cited some examples of this drug function such as: to decrease blood pressure, decrease acid formation in the stomach, increase urine production, and increase bone density to which Pandit said that drugs are available for therapeutic use for this ailment.
Hamid Ghodse noted that there are many unsatisfactory definition of the word drug which was merely based on healing effect with out considering the properties of the substances. He pointed out that in the past “coffee, cannabis, and tobacco were used for their medicinal properties, and, accordingly, would then have been classified as drugs” (p. 1) Ghodse noted that now a days all these substances “would escape that definition” as most people would be uneasy “as far as cannabis is concerned, and perhaps coffee and tobacco too” (p. 1). Ghodse defines drug in the medical concept, as any substance with the potential to prevent or cure disease or enhance physical or mental welfare…” (p. 1).
The definitions given offers the idea that drugs before it has to be use should consider not only its curing effect but its properties to cure or prevent disease or its interaction with parts of the body. Ghodse cited the WHO lexicon of alcohol and drug which acknowledges “drug is a term of varied usage” (p. 1).
The Importance of Regulated Legalization of Drug
As it has been said and acknowledges by the WHO that drug is a term of varied usage it is very important to regulate the legality of drug use not only because of its varied usage but to prevent wrong use and over use of the of the substance as illicit use of drugs are bad on our heath. But legalization of drugs has been a hot issue of debate in the United States. Richard Wilson noted the argument of those who favor the regulated legalization of drug; he said that the first point made by proponent of those who favor the regulated legalization is that “legal control and prohibition have failed in the past and there is no reason to believe that they will succeed in the future” (p. 287).
He noted that the basic reason to call for legalization of drugs “is that government have tried to suppress drug use since 1914… and there has been a long list of an ever tougher and more comprehensive efforts to use the power of government to stop the use and sale of illicit drugs” (p. 287). He also noted that the government had spent multi billions of dollars for this effort of apprehending and controlling the use of illegal drugs but has not been really successful because as Wilson said, “it is impossible to stop completely the supply from reaching consumers who are willing to buy them” (p. 287).
But it cannot be denied that the rampant use of illicit drugs have wrecked many lives. Gary L. Fisher point out that “many users enter treatment every year for help recovering from chronic abuse of marijuana and similar soft drugs…” (p. 53) In other words full legalization of the use of drugs poses danger to many young people who are often victims of drug abuse. Thus this paper does not uphold the arguments of those who promote the idea of full legalization of the use of drugs. By full legalization here means to include the so called hard drugs, which include cocaine, heroine, and opium, while the regulated drugs include only the soft drug.
The issue of Regulated Legalization
Regulated legalization of the use of drugs as has been clarified above means only of including the soft drugs which is marijuana and perhaps tobacco and alcohol, too. The issue of regulated legalization stemmed from the argument that the government is merely losing millions of dollars in police efforts and court cases over the criminal act of possessing illegal drugs such as Marijuana. Thus there were suggestions to decriminalized possession and use of these soft drugs. Mitchell Earleywine stated that “removing penalties for marijuana sales and use would save billions of dollars worth of time and effort for police officers, judges, attorneys, and correction centers nation wide (p. 15).
Earleywine stated that in his estimate “legalizing marijuana would save almost eight billion dollars per year in prohibition enforcement cost” (p. 17) He added that marijuana legalization would yield two billion dollars annually and six billion dollars more if it were taxed comparable to those on alcohol and tobacco” (p. 17). Since the government cannot entirely control the use of illicit drugs and is spending billions of dollars with not much success in their campaign it would be quite practical to consider the regulated legalization of the use of this substance.
Of course, not everyone would agree on this particularly those who are openly against the legal use of marijuana. They argued that prohibiting the use and sale of marijuana “reduces marijuana trafficking and use thereby discouraging crime, improving productivity, and enhancing public health” (p. 17). Earleywine suggested that “marijuana legalization is more substantial, than marijuana decriminalization which mean that repealing criminal penalties against possession but retaining them against trafficking” (p. 18)
Balancing between the risk and the benefits or legalization it clearly shows that there is more benefits in regulated legalization of the use of drugs than in prohibiting it. It has been quite established that the efforts towards controlling and prohibiting the use of illegal drugs has not been successful and the government is merely spending billions of dollars with only little result as the number of people seeking treatment of drug related problem continues to flood the treatment centers every year.
Therefore in view of the above discussion, this paper strongly suggest the adoption of regulated legalization of drugs on grounds that no matter was the effort previously done it was not successful and the law enforcers admitted that it is impossible to put to stop entirely the use of illicit drugs. Also, that based on studies; there is more benefit in regulated legalization of drugs than in prohibiting it.
As it was mentioned earlier, the risk that can be expected is the possible abuse of this substance. In this case, the government must conduct massive campaign of the proper use of this substance and that although possession of this drug is not a criminal offence but trafficking of these drugs remains a criminal offence. The benefit that the government can get certainly from legalizing drug use will help a lot in their effort to improve basic services for the people.
Earleywine, Mitchell 2007. Pot Politics: Marijuana and the Costs of Prohibition. New York: Oxford University Press.
Fisher, Gary 2006. Rethinking our War on Drugs: Candid Talk about Controversial Issues. USA: Praeger Publishers.
Ghodse, Hamid 2002. Drugs and Addictive Behavior: A Guide to Treatment (3rd Edition). UK: Cambridge University Press.
Pandit, Nita K 2007. Introduction to the Pharmaceutical Sciences. USA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
Wilson, Richard and Kolander, Cheryl 2003. Drug Abuse Prevention: A School and Community Partnership (2nd Edition). Jones & Bartlett Publishers, Inc.