Should Drug Use be Decriminalized?

Essay by beetlejuice73University, Bachelor's April 2006

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Ethan A. Nadelmann and Eric A. Voth debate the issue of drug use and whether or not it should be decriminalized. "Nadelmann argues that history shows that drug prohibition is costly and futile. He also found that decriminalization along with sane and humane drug policies and treatment programs can greatly reduce the harms from drugs." (Taking Sides, Pg. 292) "Voth contends that drugs are very harmful and that our drug policies have succeeded in substantially reducing drug use." (Taking Sides, Pg. 292) I found Voth's argument to be the more compelling of the two based on his assertion that current drug policies are simply more effective than alternative proposals made by Nadelmann. The most convincing arguments made by Voth, were: 1) the influence these decisions will have on younger generations, 2) how the results of legalization would affect society as well as how the drug-culture advocates manipulate public opinion, and 3) his position on the drug policy.

Eric Voth makes three key points on why drug use should not be decriminalized. His first point is how the results of legalization will greatly affect our society. "Societal problems such as homelessness, domestic abuse, numerous health problems, crimes under the influence, poor job performance, decreased productivity and declining educational levels have strong connections to drug use and cost our society financially and spiritually." (Taking Sides, Pg. 304) The problems stated above are ones which are in great need of a solution. This is an issue which most people will agree on. The debate is on how to effectively solve these problems. "The notion that decriminalizing or legalizing drugs will drive the criminal element out of the market is flawed and reflects a total lack of understanding of drug use and addiction." (Taking Sides, Pg. 304) We need to come up with an...