Drug Legalization in America - A Radical Stance

Essay by spoonman419College, UndergraduateA+, April 2004

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Is the use of illicit substances really much of a problem in America? According to The Federal Government's Household Survey on Drug Abuse, often cited by the DEA, roughly 12.7 million people used an illicit drug in the past 30 days. Another 30 - 40 million people admit to having used an illicit drug in the past 12 months. (SA&MHSA) With countless government programs to combat drugs, it would seem that there is a lack of significant progress. However, common sense dictates that these numbers are grossly under-reported as the survey is conducted by randomly calling people asking them about their illicit drug use. Other surveys report numbers more than twice as high as those reported by the Household Survey. The lack of reliable information on the true number of illicit drug users in America today is a direct result of their prohibition, which proves to be a most convenient by-product for those tax-hungry government programs.

According to another recent survey, the National Institute on Drug Abuse reports roughly 11 million Americans ages 12 and over consumed illegal substances at least once a month. In fact, the percentage of 12th graders who have ever used illicit drugs is up from a low of 32% in 1992 to a high of 49% in 2001. (NIDA) Noting these statistics, one may begin to question the effectiveness of the current drug laws and enforcement agencies in this country. Is there really a need?

Sure, it may seem radical to suggest the abolishment of our current drug legislation, but the justification for such an act is quite rational. The "war on drugs" has been in effect for decades, but with what success? The federal government spent about $1.5 billion on prohibition back in 1981. Today we are nearing $50 billion a year at the...