Friday, February 24, 2012

Stopping the drug war or producing more addicts?

Milton Friedman talks about legalizing drugs. He makes so very interesting points. He explains that legalizing drugs is a moral issue not a economic issue. He post the question why is the government wanting to make criminals out of people "who may be doing something you and I don't agree with but is causing harm to no one else?." The initial reaction I had was well when you are under the influence you have a lack of making smart judgments and you may harm other people. But after looking at it through a different perspective I saw that hypothetically if I was walking down the street smoking a drug that is illegal I would get arrested and put in jail causing one more person in the already over crowded jails, making me a criminal and making it less likely for me to get a job. Going to jail even though I am not causing harm to anyone but myself seems petty and a waste of time. At the end of the day Milton poses the question that how far should we let government in our personal decisions? Over eating causes negative effects as well as illegal drugs but the government doesn't tell you ho much you can eat. Exactly where do you draw the line?


Taylor said...

While I feel that is a poor decision to use drugs, I also feel that people should have the right to choose what they put into their bodies. I feel that as long as people aren't putting others in danger by getting behind the wheel or being out in public displaying destructive behavior while using drugs (cannabis in particular), the government shouldn't have the right to interfere. Although I do believe, like cigarets and alcohol it should be regulated as far as the age in which it can be bought, etc.

Darcy said...

I agree with you here. Legalizing less heavy drugs like Marijuana might be a saving grace to some parts of the country struggling in this economy.

Taxing Marijuana could actually bring sizable revenues to state governments, which could possibly help out their economy in the long run.

On the topic of self harm vs. harm to the community, I have never looked at drug abuse in this way, that a person doesn't necessarily pose a threat to society by destroying their own bodies. There is the issue that they could sell drugs and share drugs, but again, those choices to do drugs are in the hands of the individual. A very interesting view.

Alex D. said...

Portugal and the Netherlands offer superb real-world examples for the consequences of drug legalization.

About ten years ago, Portugal decriminalized all drugs: today, drug abuse is down by half. This is intensely contradictory to some Americans' belief that legalization/decriminalization would exponentially increase usage.

A few explanations for this include the redirection of the budget now being used to combat the War on Drugs. (While the US has declared this war, it's safe to say drugs are winning.)Why don't we use the billions of dollars being futilely pumped into the anti-drug machine and use it towards... I don't know... Education? Treatment? As of SECOND, over seven billion dollars has been spent on the War on Drugs this year. It's only March. In addition to the money saved on policing drug dealers, the load on the prison systems are also lessened. There's evidence that shows the American prison system creates harder criminals than it takes in... those serving six months to a year for a cocaine charge could end up joining a prison gang that pushes them towards more severe criminal activity.

To put it in perspective, the violent crime ratio for the USA to The Netherlands is a little over 3:1 per 100,000 inhabitants.