Drug Legalization Paper

Submitted By Banille
Words: 2373
Pages: 10

University of Pittsburgh

Drug Laws: Fascism or Necessity?
Is the War on Drugs Hurting More than Helping?

Gabriel Naccarato
Advanced Topics in Criminology 1265
Dr. Ernest L. Fullerton
October 2, 2014
1. The war on drugs, while keeping the public in mind, hurts more than helps
Shaky, problematic history of drug legalization
The costs of the war on drugs
Decriminalization in Portugal
Benefits of legalization
2. A problematic history make drug illegalization less viable
Racist, religiously intolerant, and fascist tactics make the original use of illegalization pointless, coupled with blame shifting from government to citizens
No evidence that drugs caused violence in minority communities
Drugs used as scapegoat
Religions that accepted or encouraged drug use were ignored
Judeo-Christian majority was only considered
Heavy drug policing considered health fascism
“This is not healthy for you, so we will jail you for using it.”
Nancy Regan’s “Just Say No.”
Gov’t can’t help, so if a child does drugs, it’s the parents and child’s fault
3. Costs of War on Drugs
America cannot continue participating in an unwinnable war
Over one trillion dollars spent on war
Funding increasing every year since 1970
Jails are becoming overcrowded with nonviolent drug offenders
More jails are being built, justice system slowing down
Sending mentally ill to jail
Substance abuse considered a mental illness
4. Decriminalization in Portugal has turned out to be a large success
Portugal has become a healthy and low drug use country
Less drug use than America
Lifetime usage almost one-fourth of America
Healthier citizens
New HIV infections dropped
Hard drug deaths cut in half
Fairer treatment of drug abusers
Anyone caught is given mandatory rehab
Double the population looking for rehab than before
5. Re-legalization can create a better America
Legalization of all drugs has many economic, social, and health benefits for Americans
Regulated stores will safely give drugs to citizens and benefit government
Like state stores in PA, money will go to state or federal gov’t
Sales to abusers and those under the influence will not occur
Warning labels can deter users
Will eliminate the war on drugs
Wrestle control out the drug lords and cartels
Will stop violence caused by these individuals
Will eliminate overcrowding in jails
Since Nixon, 370 billion people have been incarcerated for nonviolent drug charges
Can use money saved and gained to improve rehabilitation programs
America receiving a D in mental healthcare
6. We can only benefit from legalization from drugs
The history of the war on drugs proves that it never needed to happen
The costs of a fruitless war can be spared
Portugal is an example of decriminalization’s benefits
Re-legalization can shape America into a better country

Since the 1970’s, drugs have been on the minds of all Americans. From politicians to school teachers, from criminals to good Samaritans, drugs are an everyday concern in the lives of the American people. The concern has not gone without negatives, though. Stemming from a problematic past and continued by a fruitless war on drugs, the benefits of re-legalizing, or, at least, decriminalizing drug use, was largely ignored by politicians. Now, with the problems of our current policy coming to light, the American people are slowly moving towards a positive position on drugs, mainly marijuana. With this much talk, it is time that Congress listened and took action, themselves. The modern day war on drugs began in the 1970’s. During the Nixon administration, drugs like crack cocaine were big on the market. With the recent panic of the Free Love Movement coming to a rest, it was time to crack down on what came from the decade before. There was no more free love, but gangs on the streets, violence in lower economic communities. Apparently, rather than funneling money into after school programs, the government took the initiative and found a scapegoat, drugs.