According to Aristotle, the use of drugs portrays a person’s character as immoral. This is supported by the fact that the use of drugs portrays a person as lacking restraint and adequate personal care. Therefore, according to Aristotle, so much immorality is shown by the mere fact that drugs are legalized and that people can misuse them as they wish.
According to the utilitarian view on the issue of legalizing of drugs, it is not right to completely abolish the use of all drugs. This is because of the benefits of some drugs such as pot compared to the harmful effects of the same. However, some drugs such as cocaine which have no value to the society can be abolished. Therefore, when considering which drugs to abolish, the ones that have some level of benefits compared to the harm that they pose, such as pot, should not be abolished.
The issue of legalization of non-medicinal drugs has been a hot topic for a long time. This is because of the controversies that surround the topic and the absolution that some contributors have in regards to the topic. However, I believe the overall questions regarding this issue should be, ‘‘Do people have the right to choose whether to use drugs or not to? Do we have the freedom to make personal choices regarding what we take into our bodies? Can the government benefit from drugs trade in case it is legalized? Do the people get any opportunities when the drug trade is allowed? Are there any benefits that come with the legalization of drugs or are they just negative impacts? What would the people want, being restricted on what is good or bad for them, or being given the freedom to decide that for themselves?’’ Through analysis of these questions, one can clearly come up with a clearer verdict on whether non-medicinal drugs should be legalized or not.
Thesis: Drugs should be legalized
Based on the current knowledge that I have regarding the ways that drugs contribute to economic growth, societal welfare and revenue collection, I strongly suggest that drug use be legalized. As a result of the idea of drugs being illegalized, there is the possibility of the rise in criminal market place that uses the opportunity to make money while selling the drugs. These organized groups of criminals utilize this opportunity and make worthy profits from it without due care of the impact of the same to the drug buyers. They are also likely to be careless about which age accesses the drugs so long as they get their share of profits.
Due to the illegalization of drugs therefore, there is a high likelihood of the thriving of organized crime which has the worst effects to the children and the society at large. With drugs being legalized however, I believe it is a better way for the society to come up with a proper platform through which minors can be protected by appropriate drug laws and licensing boards. Since drugs are expected to be available almost everywhere, then it would be a great opportunity for the society to understand fully some of the issues that they do not normally come to terms with even though they exist, and it is even a better approach to protecting the minors through educating them on such societal issues point blank.
The society has been misinformed about the issue of drugs for a long time. Through the legalization of drugs, it is an opportunity for parents, guardians, institutions and the society generally to access truthful information without fear, about drugs and their impact. Through the open legalization of drugs, there is a likelihood of the promotion of truth and honest talks about the various drugs, about their uses and their effects. This is primarily because so much information about drugs has not yet been disseminated and people are misinformed. For example, it is commonly known that pot or marijuana is a bad drug that should be abolished (Caulkins 100).
Marijuana in some countries such as Jamaica is known to be publicly advocated for by the musicians and the residents because of the fun that they have when, and after taking it. However, rationally speaking, marijuana is a natural approach to medicinal treatment in some cases such as chronic illnesses like cancer, seizure disorders and inflammatory bowel diseases among others. It is known to be a very effective pain killer that helps sick people and helps them to relax and feel better (Caulkins 98).
The utilitarian view on the issue of legalization of marijuana also stands out for me. First of all, it is expensive for the government to illegalize drugs such as marijuana as a lot of time and resources are wasted in dealing with the issue. True to that, it is an issue that will likely face a lot of contradiction especially from the medical field due to its use in patients, and also for those who use it for fun. Another point of argument on the issue of legalization of drugs like marijuana is that it is not more harmful than some other drugs which have been all through mostly legal like tobacco and alcohol. Personally, I think that legalizing such drugs and putting information out there to the users and non-users on their effects and letting them make the choice of whether to use them or not to, is the best option. People will exercise their right to choose what is right for them and what is not and since from experience, things that are illegalized are the ones that attract criminal gangs to set up and make money from the opportunity, such gangs are likely to miss that opportunity when the drugs are readily available everywhere (Caulkins 101).
With the legalization of drugs, the problems of drug abuse and people becoming useless as a result of deep indulgent in drugs is likely to reduce. This is because of the reduction of the hype or rather, the excitement associated with taking drugs especially among the teenagers and young kids and also among the youth. Normally, people get excited when doing the ‘wrong things’ such as, when taking drugs as minors, or doing something that is prohibited. However, when the drug trade becomes open with drugs being allowed to be used by people according to regulations such as reaching a certain age, the cases of drug abuse are likely to reduce. There can also be a regulation requiring the education of the users on their effects so that they can make the right choice. Additionally, with the legalization of drug use, a lot of information will be at the disposal of everyone and researchers should also invest in studying more on how problems associated with drug use and abuse can be prevented and controlled.
With the legalization of drugs comes the restoration of the right of people to choose what to ingest, as Mill under the principle of Liberty puts it. Since not all drugs can be said to have been proven to have harmful effects beyond reasonable doubt, it follows that the issue of drugs legalization should be considered as it gives people the space to exercise their right to take in whatever they feel like taking, so long as they are of the right age (adults). Mill’s contribution towards this discussion of legalization of drugs is extremely liberal from my point of view. To some extent, I can also say that people should not be dictated on what to and what not do with their bodies. This follows the understanding that adults have certain rights such as making their own choices.
When war is declared on drug users as it is in the society, it creates more tension and leads to a rise in criminal gangs who control the issue and benefit from the war. Therefore, instead of approaching the issue of drug use as a societal issue that is already deep-rooted in the society, pretending that it does not exist and that it is just a few who are affected is not the right approach for me. This is because it only intensifies the fight for the drug users and sellers, and creates a space for crime to initiate with the aim of protecting the territory. However, when drug use and abuse is acknowledged, it becomes easier to approach the problem of misuse and to make rational decisions that actually are geared towards tackling the problem and seeking more ways to handle it in the future.
After the legalization of drugs, the government should brace itself for the consequences as they are expected. For example, the government should understand that even though it will get a lot of revenue from the trade, there will also be cases of addiction and abuse of drugs. It should also be understood that there needs to be structures and plans laid down on how to protect children from accessing the drugs at a young age. Since this is a lucrative trade that will benefit many people through provision of job opportunities (business opportunities), investment in mental institutions, centers whereby addiction can be dealt with and also strategies and approaches on how to handle addicts and those who abuse the drugs, should be a top priority. It would be senseless to have no or few rehabilitation centers when the likely results of legalization of drugs are high cases of abuse of drugs. Strict laws in institutions such as schools should also be made so as to protect the future of the children. A lot of research in the legalized drugs should continue being made by researchers to understand fully what the people are dealing with. I would also recommend that the government carries out checks to ensure that other fake and harmful drugs do not appear in the market as a result of the legalization. This is because business people might be lured by the opportunity to make money and the need to bring in other cheaper and fake drugs into the market that are more lucrative.
In this discussion, to some extent I agree with Bentham and the utilitarian approach to the issue of drug legalization. Personally, I find pot to be useful in so many ways. However, what stands out for me is the ability of the drug to be used for medicinal purposes by people who are suffering from cancer and other illnesses. Being on so much pain and having a drug that can help one to relax is a good thing. I can only imagine the pain that the patients undergo, and with the issue of illegalization of marijuana, I would think that those who propose that are irrational. It would be unfair to deny someone in deep pain, a pain reliever or something that makes them feel better especially when they are in the last stages of the cancer whereby they know that they have a short time to live. It is better to let them live their last days with lesser stress and feeling much relaxed. To that extent, I agree with Bentham. For the other drugs as well, I think that the best thing is to let information out there for people to decide on what to take in understanding what they are doing and the effects of the same. So long as one is an adult, they have the right to make personal choices that affect them. In the same sense, the younger kids should be protected from the early usage of the drugs and from becoming addicts at such a young age to avoid the issue of becoming a slave of the drugs and being unable to live without them, as Mill suggested. Therefore, since minors do not have the right thinking on making such choices, then the law should be in place to protect them. To conclude therefore, drugs should be legalized. Those who make the choices of using them on a daily basis and becoming addicts thereafter should be left to do that as it is their choice after all. Those who need counseling and help to withdraw from the use of the drugs as well, should be given the right help as there should be institutions provided by the government and private investors to cater for such. A lot of information should also be at the disposal of everyone who needs it to understand how to deal with drug abuse, where to seek help if needed and also, how to avoid repeat of the same problem.
- Caulkins, Jonathan P. Marijuana Legalization: What Everyone Needs to Know. New York: Oxford University Press, 2012. Internet resource.