The subject of legalization of drugs has always been contested. Two divisions of people emerge where one proposes while the other opposes. Drugs can be discussed from the point of legality and from that of morality. In many cases, the use of narcotics has been put from a legal perspective. Where the law dictates whether it is appropriate to use them or not. However, even though the law permits the use of these drugs, it does not mean that it is morally right. The law allows a broad range of immoral activities. This paper will try to look at the legalization of recreational drugs from an ethical perspective while seeking to bring to light the effects of legalizing recreational drugs on the society.
Recreational drugs are psychoactive drugs that are taken primarily as a source of pleasure and not for medical purposes. They are typically categorized into four groups which are;
· Stimulants- these are the drugs that increase the activities in the central nervous system, and they include Methamphetamine, Nicotine, Caffeine, Amphetamine, and Cocaine.
· Hallucinogenics- these are drugs that produce experiences that are entirely different from what is in reality or ordinary and they include Marijuana, LSD and Psilocybin mushrooms.
· Opiates- these are the drugs obtained from Opium Poppy, and they include Codeine, Morphine, and Heroin.
· Depressants- unlike the stimulants, depressants diminish are reduce the activities in the central nervous system, and they include Alcohol, Benzodiazepine, and Methaqualone (Fieser).
Most of these drugs are prohibited while a few are legal. Drugs are a subject of both personal and public interest where it raises issues of individual rights and the boundaries of the law when it comes to controlling the personal rights (Almond). However, if the drugs in question not only affect personal productivity but also harming others, then it is justified to have the control.
The proponents would argue that legalizing the illegal drugs would be a good idea because it would cut on the cost the government undergoes while trying to control the illicit drug traffickers. Also, the money and the workforce (police officers) would go to other matters like the security of the country. The legalization would contribute to greater good if one were to look at it from the perspective of a utilitarian where there will be fair taxation of the merchandise and the money would be used on developments in the country which would help a huge number of population.
The proponents would also say that legalizing the drugs would cause no harm as compared to the drugs that are currently legal. The Centre for Disease Control (CDC) on their report in the year 2012, indicated that over twenty-five thousand death resulting from alcohol were reported while no deaths were reported from the use of Marijuana (Rounsifer). In support for this, they would argue that legalizing would not cause any harm but instead would benefit the country as a whole. They would claim that just because anybody is not happy about the choose of taking the drugs does not give them right to take the freedom from them.
The drugs, however, cause more harm than the mere pleasure an individual is looking for and the results may be seen in persons who have taken the drugs for longer periods. One of the main issues that are brought about due to taking the drugs is personal harm. In a 2010 report by the CDC, forty thousand individuals in the US died from consuming the illegal drugs which were double of what was the number a decade ago from 2010. The drug-induced deaths were associated with heart attacks, overdose, malnutrition and organ damage where brain damage is the most common. The following year which is 2011 over two million people were admitted on emergency after being rushed to the hospital due to the use of recreational drugs (Fieser). In addition to the effects that these drugs cause to long-term users, it results in other complications like sexually transmitted diseases. The sexually transmitted infections as a result of poor judgment while these drugs intoxicate an individual. Other diseases are HIV and hepatitis C that results from sharing injections for the hard drugs like heroin (Fieser).
Drugs also cause harm to other people who come into contact or interact with individuals who use these drugs. One of the everyday encounters is driving under the influence of narcotics. Anyone who consumes the drugs and then a vehicle endangers everyone on the road since their mind is affected by either of the categories mentioned in the beginning. Additionally, use of drugs today is associated with high crime rate. A recent study in five major cities in the country indicated that over 75% of arrestees tested positive for the use of the illegal drugs. Most of them were caught in prostitution, theft, and muggings as the use of narcotics results to individuals being reckless and making poor judgments (Fieser). The use of substances also affects the family of the user as they may neglect their responsibility due to the illusion created by the drugs they consume. Children end up ignored or forced into immoral indulgences like prostitution or drug trafficking to boost the family’s income while supporting their addicted parents. In most cases, those children who cannot take care of themselves end up homeless.
The drug trafficking business is a lucrative one therefore very dangerous. The danger comes in because the drugs are the most highly valued commodities and people in the deals get wealth in a blink of an eye. In the major cities where drug cartels have territories, it is very dangerous for the individual citizens as they may be caught up in the middle of a fight between two drug areas. Among the bases for deaths caused by drugs are paybacks for a dishonest deal, fight over a distribution territory and retaliation for a killed member of a gang. The business puts individuals in danger especially residents of the location as it is even hard for the government to infiltrate the cartels. Residents may be caught in the middle of a shooting and get hit by stray gunfire. The fights paralyze everything in the location causing a lot of time wastage one that would have been used for productive activities (Fieser). Underage children are recruited to join the gang, therefore, affecting their future as they may not be able to attend school to build a future for their own, and if they attend, their learning is always interrupted as their main commitment is the gang. It has been witnessed in the past where school going children have been found carrying firearms in school and even threatening people. It is one of the many effects of children joining the cartels as they are young and their minds are still growing and trying to understand the world. Children are the most vulnerable people in the population as they can be easily brainwashed and made to believe things that are not correct or even immoral.
The effects that drugs bring to the society are felt even today when they are illegal and the distributors supplying them with caution. The issue brings everyone to ask whether it would be any different if the drugs were legalized. The consumers of the drugs at fast do it for pleasure, and when they cannot get enough of it, they consume more becoming addicts. Addiction, on the other hand, causes one to depend on the drugs. Using the utilitarian rationale, drugs as illegal as they are cause a lot of suffering and pain to people meaning if it were legalized the situation would be worse. It is better for the drugs to remain illegal as they are to save people more pain and suffering. The laws on drugs should be tougher so that the number of individuals saved from the menace of the drugs is maximized.
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