The United States is at war. I am not talking about the war in Iraq or the War on Terrorism; I am talking about the War on Drugs. We are currently facing a large debate on the issue of drugs. That is whether drugs should remain illegal or be legalized within the United States. It has come to be a war; a war which is being fought against our own citizens and against other countries. It is a war which has taken many lives and will not cease in its toll. Both sides of the argument have strong points. In 1970, Gore Vidal wrote an essay supporting the legalization of all illegal drugs in the United States. I agree with Vidal, in legalizing drugs. They should be legalized and regulated by the government just as cigarettes are.
In “Drugs,” Gore Vidal argues that all drugs should be legalized. The government should make all drugs available in markets and sell that at cost to the consumers. He states that the prohibition of these drugs is a violation of the constitutional right for the pursuit of happiness. He observes that legalizing drugs will take away its title of being a "forbidden fruit." People always want what they cannot have. Legalizing drugs enable people easier access to them, taking away the thrill of getting them. He argues that the prohibition of drugs, like that of alcohol in the 1920's, will be a failure. He believes that both the Bureau of Narcotics and Mafia are against legalizing drugs and selling them at cost because then there would be no profit for the Mafia to make anymore and the Bureau would diminish. He concludes by saying this situation will continue to get worse.
Cigarettes are legal, and yet they are harmful to the health of a human and lead to diseases and cancers that can lead to death. They are also addicting. Drugs do more or the less the same, however they are illegal in the United States. In fact, if one is caught with the possession of drugs, severe punishments can be charged against them. Why is that? I believe the government should legalize drugs, and they should heavily tax it like they do with cigarettes. This can help bring money into the government, perhaps help pay off the national debt. Just like we have surgeon general warnings on cigarettes we can have the same for drugs. They should have all the dangers and effects written on them for everyone to see.
Now the question arises as to what should be done, when there are drug addicts running around. We can do the same thing we have been doing for Smokers and Alcoholics. Have support groups, and hotlines they can call. Like the “NY Quitters” hotline commercials we see on television all the time, like the one with that former smoker who now has a hole in his throat and uses an instrument to help him speak. The “Truth” and “Above the Influence” commercials also run negative campaigns against smoking cigarettes. With the legalization of drugs, all these organizations can expand their networks and campaigns to influence viewers to stay away from drugs. When I see those commercials, some of them are insightful and do hinder me from buying cigarettes, which is why I can truthfully say I am a non-smoker of cigarettes.
Now, we need to analyze the current situation: the War on Drugs is seen as a failure. It is still available on the streets, and is resulting in high crime and violence rates. This can be seen as a mirror image of the days of Prohibition which was a failure. So much money is being spent to try to put a stop to illegal drug trafficking and many lives are being lost. Instead of spending so much money, the government can just legalize it and bring in money. We can tax buyers when they purchase it and have excise taxes when we import drugs from other nations. Making it easily accessible will make it easier to regulate, like alcohol and liquor.
Both sides of this argument have made their case. However, I believe that having a form of regulated legalized drugs would be a tolerant middle ground that would make