Legalization Best Defense Against Ravage of Drugs

Legalization Best Defense Against Ravage of Drugs
Posted by FoM on June 02, 2000 at 17:08:36 PT
By Derek Springer 
Source: Fresno Bee
With the war on drugs raging and drug wars between rival gangs killing our youth, solutions to our drug problems have been in high demand. Proper solutions, however, always have been a scarce commodity. From the bloodletting of the sick to brain surgery for the mentally ill, the help of good-hearted people has, at times, backfired. 
This seems to be the case with our drug problems. Traditional responses often have called for stricter sentencing or a greater police presence, but these have neither stopped the drug dealers nor quelled the bloodshed on the street. Sometimes the unorthodox solution can be the best. Though it may seem to increase our problems, the legalization of drugs in reality would lessen them by reducing the consumption of drugs, the number of gang-related deaths and the occurrence of drug-related crimes. How does legalizing drugs benefit us in these ways? The immediate advantage in legalizing drugs is the reduction of crime. The crime of selling or using drugs would no longer exist. Its legalization would allow other crimes to be enforced by the police. Users harm their own bodies and minds but a person must always be held accountable for their actions. Should someone under the influence of drugs break the law, charge them for the crime itself, not for the drugs. The police are supposed to be here to serve and protect, not to enforce a victimless crime. Drugs may not directly harm people but their high cost results in many other crimes. Gangs get involved in drugs and compete for territory to sell them. When conflict arises, innocent people sometimes get caught in the crossfire. Prostitutes work street corners to pay for their drug addictions. Homes are burglarized and stores are robbed to supply the money needed to feed a user's addiction. Making drugs illegal causes their value to soar. The law of supply and demand explains why when you make drugs illegal -- limiting the supply -- the value and demand for it increases. The legalization of drugs, however, makes drug sales profitable. With no profit to be made, drug dealers would be put out of business. With cheap drugs and high availability, many other drug-related crimes would diminish. Crack addicts need not sell themselves on the street to feed their habits and heroin addicts can afford fixes without burglarizing or holding up liquor stores. Traditional methods of combating the drug problem, and the crimes related to it, only feeds its growth. Drug busts only decrease the supply of drugs and guns on the black market and increase their value. It's simple economics. Victimless Crimes: The costs of these popular approaches and their failure in the fight on drugs can be seen in our overcrowded jails and high crime rates. Reports from the U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Prisons said the percentage of inmates sentenced to federal prison for drug offenses increased from 16.3% in 1970 to 58.9% in 1998. California alone holds more than 43,000 drug felons, according to California's Department of Corrections. The cost in taxpayers' money to house these offenders is overwhelming. Those inmates held on drug charges are there for victimless crimes and taxpayers are paying for their meals, housing, lawyers and guards, and all they are doing is filling up the jails, making it hard to keep real offenders in them. The money would be better spent on drug prevention and self-help programs. Police support the traditional approaches because they provide increased staffing and money through seizures of property. This is just an easy alternative to seeking out the real criminals in Fresno. Money can be made in other ways once we legalize drugs and clear the jails of needless prisoners. The government could sell and tax drugs to provide money for government programs. A whole new industry would need to be formed and jobs would be made. Profits from this new industry and the redirection of funds spent to convict, and imprison drug offenders, would help the economy to flourish. Drug use may not be something we can stop, but we can reduce the incentive. Without the pushers on the street selling the drugs, some kids may be saved from drug use altogether. Do we really want to fool ourselves into believing that there is only one way to solve our problems, or are we ready to try a different approach? If you were the patient being told the only way to get better was to bleed it out, you'd want a second opinion, too. Derek Springer is a resident of LatonPublished June 2, 2000 Copyright 2000, The Fresno Bee Related Articles:Legalizing Drugs To Combat Terrorism View Next 20 Articles: Articles On Legalization:
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Comment #2 posted by military officer guy on June 02, 2000 at 21:14:22 PT
ok, there have been many things going on that are fueling our cause...let's keep getting out there and speaking our word, and vote Libertarian in nov 00...we can win this war...keep fighting for our cause...
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Comment #1 posted by J Christen-Mitchell on June 02, 2000 at 19:35:40 PT:
Terrific Observation Except..
Almost 100% truth in this letter. Why is the issue of responsible use ignored? 8 of our first 14 presidents smoked hemp, was it McKinley who snorted blow when it was new and fasionable?100 years ago, when cigarettes were illegal in 14 states, it was estimated that 80% of drug users had no problems and led invisible lives. Very recently the ALCU found the 70% of illicit drug users led normal lives. Seems to me this is evidence that the majority of users have been and are, in spite of severe prohibition, responsible and exercise their deity given right of freedom of choice of intoxicant.Let's all play the the separation game. There are drugs and their effects and there is prohibition and it has its negative effects. There are people who do drugs and have problems and get in trouble and then there is a majority who are responsible with all aspects of their life and are responsible users.
Missouri Congressional Candidate
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