The war on drugs has catastrophically failed. People are living and dying in the streets. Is this the fault of drugs themselves, or is this because of the way that we deal with them?
Personally, I believe that the reason that we have so many problems with drugs is because of the way that our government and media portray them. Drugs are seen as inherently evil, meaning that they must be outlawed in order to stop people taking them. Well, that clearly hasn’t worked, has it? Given that the majority of people that I know have at least tried illegal substances at one time or another, the fact that they are illegal is obviously not stopping anyone from doing it. Rather, you could argue that the fact that they are illegal actually encourages some to do it – purely from the excitement of doing something taboo.
1 a) Legalise using
I believe that the first step to helping solve the drugs problem is legalising them. Stop making taking drugs an offence – after all, why should it be anyone’s business what you put in your body other than you? The very idea that the government can tell you what you can and can’t ingest is very worrying to me – a complete invasion of bodily autonomy. Some may argue that drugs are simply too dangerous and therefore people should not be allowed to take them, but I would argue that that’s still no one’s business but the user. We don’t make fast food illegal, and yet obesity is one of the world’s biggest killers. We don’t make extreme sports illegal, and yet so many people get hurt or killed for a quick thrill. We don’t make cigarettes illegal, and yet around 1/2 of smokers eventually die of smoking-related diseases. We don’t make alcohol illegal, and yet look at how many people die of alcohol-related diseases.
1 b) Legalise selling
I also believe that we should legalise the manufacturing and selling of drugs – what better a way to get it out of the hands of criminals than to make them completely legal? That way, the cartels are no longer in charge of distribution and won’t make money off selling drugs. It also means that, if it’s above ground, that the use of women as drugs mules would also cease. Keeping women safe is vital.
If the government were to tax drugs, they would make an absolute fortune! Just look at the amount of money that cigarettes and alcohol bring in. Drugs have the potential to create millions and millions of pounds in tax, meaning that our seriously under-funded schools and NHS could be more easily kept afloat.
The final piece of the puzzle is regulation of drugs. If the government were to regulate the industry, like they do with cigarettes and alcohol, they could ensure that drugs are safe. At present, because they are produced by cartels, no one has any idea what actually goes in to them. In some cases, the drug itself is not what’s dangerous – it’s actually what cheap fillers they mix it with. Strict regulation would ensure that no undue harm comes to users.
I am acutely aware of the fact that this topic is extremely emotive for some. I’d be very surprised if anyone didn’t have a strong view on this. I know that many people may disagree with me because they feel that drugs are just too dangerous to be legalised. I have to say that I do completely understand that argument, but for the reasons stated above, I completely disagree. Drugs would be safer if they were legalised, taxed and regulated, and to me, that’s more important than anything else.
What are your views on narcotics? Let me know!