Solutions for the Drug Epidemic?

Essay by springdelightCollege, UndergraduateA, November 2003

download word file, 7 pages 5.0

Picture this-- a society is consumed and overrun with drug abuse. Children are combing the streets committing serious crimes in order to get money to fulfill their cravings for drugs. Addicts and pregnant women are overdosing on crack cocaine or other dangerous substances. The authority of the government and police is slowly slipping away to a thriving black market. This is not how anyone in the United States pictures the future of our country. However, we are being forced to face the possible reality of this fate because of the rapidly growing drug problem that is permeating the streets and the lives of the American public. The debate over whether drugs should be legalized is a constant back and forth battle that seems to have no end. Is it possible to find a solution that is completely based on legalization or on criminalization? The odds to that effect are slim to none.

We must look deeper into the problem in order to find the solution.

John Stuart Mills, the author of On Liberty, describes a concept that is rooted in how society and individuals should be governed. According to Mill's ideas, the individual is accountable for his or her own actions and the government has no right to interfere unless the individual's actions threaten to harm others. Freedom is defined by that sphere in which people are not prevented or forbidden from doing things even when it would be better for them not to do them. "The principle of freedom cannot require that he should be free not to be free. It is not freedom to be allowed to alienate his freedom..." (Mill 322). This concept is commonly known as the "harm principle". While the harm principle, when applied to drug policy and legalization within the United States, appears to...