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Essay about Legalization is Not a Realistic Alternative to the War on Drugs

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Legalization is Not a Realistic Alternative to the War on Drugs


For years, the issue of legalization has been an increasingly controversial subject. Millions of dollars are spent annually in the War on Drugs causing many to wonder if this fight is cost-effective or if an alternative such as legalization would be more realistic than current efforts in drug prevention. Opponents state that with legalization would come an increase not only in availability, but also with everything associated with that availability. This includes suffering of users and their loved ones, death of users and innocent alike, increases in health-care costs, cost to employers, drug-related crimes, and increases in various other social, economic, and emotional costs. On the other hand, advocates argue it is pointless to continue to ignore the presence of drugs in society. They feel society must acknowledge the now-illegal narcotics as it has with alcohol and tobacco. Legalization would result in purity assurance, labeled concentration of the product, obliteration of pushers, obliteration of drug crime, savings in expensive enforcement, and significant tax revenues. Both sides of the controversy are confident with the credibility and effectiveness of their respective arguments, making it necessary for society to ask itself whether legalization of narcotics is a realistic alternative to current prohibition and the war on drugs or if legalization would result in more negative consequences than positive.

The United States government's current position on narcotics is prohibition. The cornerstone of drug prohibition in America came with the Harrison Narcotic Act of 1914. The Harrison Act restricted the use of opiates, such as morphine, heroin, and cocai...


... middle of paper ...


...tephen P. Thompson. San Diego: Greenhaven Press,
1998. 139-144.

Nadelmann, Ethan A. "Drug Prohibition in the United States: Costs, Consequences, and
Alternatives." Drugs, Crime, and Social Policy. Ed. Thomas Mieczkowski. Boston: Allyn
and Bacon, 1992. 299-319.

Olson, William J. "The Legalization of Drugs Would be Harmful to Society." The War on
Drugs. Ed. Stephen P. Thompson. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 1998. 112-117.

Roe, Benson B. "The Legalization of Drugs Would Benefit Society." The War on Drugs. Ed.
Stephen P. Thompson. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 1998. 107-111.

Trebach, Arnold S. Legalize It? Debating American Drug Policy. Washington, D.C.: American University Press, 1993.

Vallance, Theodore. "Legalizing Drugs Would Lead to a Reduction in Crime." The War on
Drugs. Ed. Stephen P. Thompson. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 1998. 133-138.


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