The debate on whether drugs should be legalized in the US has remained a controversial one in the public domain. Opponents of drug legalization have blamed drug abuse for increased crime activities in the society. In addition, drugs have significantly compromised the behavior of the young generation, an element that threatens the future sustainable social-economic development of our nation. Other claims against legalization of drugs include increasing irresponsible sexual behavior, spread of infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS through sharing non-sterile needles, and negation of the nation’s economic development policies as it encourages black market practices (Clark, 1997). Proponents of legalization of drugs claim that it is in line with their constitutional right to the freedom of choice.
Another common claim by supporters of legalizing drugs is that such could significantly reduce abuse among members of the community. This claim is backed by the assertion that being illegal, drug use remains hard to identify and make early interventions to safeguard the young generation (Goldstein, 2010). Further, proponents of legalizing drugs claim that it will give additional revenue to the government through taxation of drug businesses (Kallen, 2005). Indeed, available statistical indicate that the government looses billions of dollars through illegal drug business.
All in all, given the negative social, health, and economic implications of drugs in the American nation, drugs should remain illegal in the United States. This paper is a discussion of the various harmful effects brought by drugs in the American community. The author will also give a critical look at the impact legalization of drugs in other nations have had to their community as a way of supporting why drugs should remain illegal in the US.
2. Why Drugs should remain Illegal
The problem of drug sale and abuse has been a major problem facing the American community. According to the federal laws, the sale, possession, or use of illegal drugs is a crime. Numerous drugs have been categorized as illegal under the Drug and Food Act. In this effect, the federal government spends billions of dollars in the war against drugs in the nations (Boaz, 1999). Such costs include identifying, investigating, arresting, and charging criminals in the law courts.
Other associated costs are those of sustaining the large numbers of prisoners convicted of drug related crimes in our correction facilities. Despite the numerous claims that legalizing drugs could resolve the drug problem, the negative effects of drug abuse are far much higher compared to any benefits that can come with it legalization.
2.1 Drugs and crime activities
Drugs and drug abuse have been closely linked with the ever increasing incidences of crime activities in the community. Drug abuse negates the reasoning and judgmental ability of the victim or impaired judgment (Kallen, 2005). Based on this reasoning, victims of drug abuse have high chances of engaging in crime activities while under the influence of such drugs. In addition, drug trafficking is by it essence a criminal activity in the nation. According to statistical reports from the FBI, the US nation has over 31,000 organized crime groups most of whom are involved in drug dealing activities and violence against local community members (Boaz, 1999).
Drug trafficking and abuse has no doubt led to escalation of violence and other forms of crime in the community. True from available literature, contractual agreements among drug dealers are tense and fragile. This is explained by the fact that most of this agreements end up in murderous rivalry among the involved parties, a factor that posses imminent danger to the neighboring communities. On the other hand, the war on drugs in the US has witnessed the killing of numerous law enforcement officials by members of the drug dealing cycles.
In addition, drugs are a security threat to the local members of the community. According to the principles of effective security provisions in the community must engage the local members of the community. This is due to the fact that such are the people who live with the criminals in their neighborhoods. On the other side, drug dealing as a criminal offense leaves neighbors at threat of attack upon reporting such incidences to the law enforcement. Thus, drugs are a real source of the propagation of criminal activities in the US.
2.2 Effects on the youth generation
Drugs have numerous negative effects on the young generation in our community. According to available information drug abuse among the teens begins at an average age of 14 years (Levendis, 2008). It has been established that at this age most children start using drugs like marijuana. On the other side, medical evidence has attributed the use of marijuana with high potential desire for engaging in the use of stringer drugs such as cocaine and heroin among others.
Available statistical evidence indicates that an estimated over 40 percent of the American population between 12 and 18 years of age are actively engaged in abusing drugs. Apart from illegal drugs, alcohol and cigarette smoking form the backbone of the drug abuse crimes committed by this young population (Clark, 1997). This has the implication that the young generation is at the risk of indulging in the use of highly addictive drugs such as cocaine at the early ages in life. Moreover, dependency on drugs threatens the social and academic prosperity of the youth in the society.
True to the letter, drug use compromises the reasoning ability of user. Based on this reason, it is commonly asserted that most incidences of school violence are a direct result of drug abuse among students (Croft, 2000). Still, due to the fact that drugs negate reasoning, it significantly compromises the ability of students to perform sufficiently in their studies. This is to be appreciated as enough claims to support the assertion that drugs threaten the future development of our nation. It is worth noting that education is no doubt the most important possession by an individual in the modern capitalistic community.
On the social aspect of drugs on the youth is the question of antisocial behaviors caused by drug abuse. Drug use is associated with psychological effects such as stress, anxiety, and depression. On the other side, the structural principles of effective socialization dictate for optimum cooperation among the involved parties in the structure. As a result of this, drugs could sufficiently compromise the ability of the young generation to indulge in sustainable social relations in the community.
In addition, drug addictive risks driving the young into criminal activities. It is common knowledge that the young members of the society are highly dependent on their parent for financial assistance. This poses a clear limit in their financial ability to meet their drug entertainment desires. Due to this fact, drug abuse by the young population is a direct cause of the high rates of crime offenses by underage in the community. All these have the implication that drugs are a major threat to the future social, academic, security, political and economic good of the US nation.
2.3 Drugs as a cause of irresponsible behavior
Numerous psychological research findings have evidently established that the use of drugs has negative effects in the functioning of the brain. Most of the drugs compromise the victim’s ability to efficiently reason and judge situations. This implies that drugs can lead the user to lead irresponsible life (Christensen, 2006). As an emphasis to this is the fact that drug abuse increases aggression in the individual, an element that can lead to violent behavior and constant conflict with other members of the community.
Another irresponsible behavior brought by drugs is irresponsible sexual behavior. Negatively influencing the worldview and reasoning of the victim, drugs have been significantly blamed for the spreading of HIV/AIDS in some American communities (Little, 2010). This is because research has shown that while under the influence drugs the chances of engaging in unprotected sex with a strange are quite high. In support of this assertion, the HIV/AIDS pandemic facing the African American community is mainly blamed on the problem of drug abuse in this community (Little, 2010). Sharing if non-sterile needled for intramuscular drug infection is one of the factors contributing to the spread of diseases such as HIV/AIDS and hepatitis, which increases health care expenditure. .
2.4 Drugs and our health
Drugs have numerous negative health implications. The use of drugs like marijuana and cigarettes has been evidently closely attributed with the high rates of lung cancer among members of the society (Goode, 1997). Unlike cigarettes, smokers of marijuana are at a higher risk of sustaining cancer. This can be explained by the high inhalation and long duration of keeping the smoke in the lungs by marijuana smokers. Another health complication brought by drugs is high blood and heart rate which if beyond a particular limit can result to death.
Abuse of drugs leads to addiction. According to psychological evidence available, continued use of a particular drug increases ones risk of becoming dependant on the drug. On the other side, it has been asserted that the effects of some drugs such as cocaine and heroin are quite addictive even to first time user (Inciardi, 1999). Moreover, other drugs such as marijuana are highly influential in dictating for the use of stronger drugs such as cocaine. Based on the above reasons, it is quite clear that the abuse of drugs leads to dependency, a health condition that compromises one’s effective productivity in the society.
Death due to overdose of drugs has also been a major social and health problem brought by drugs. Overdose of cocaine for example increases heart rate beyond limits, an element that can result to heart attack or even death (Gottfried, 2000). Other health implications brought by drugs include, depression and anxiety. Just to be appreciated is the fact that depression is a psychological problem that serves to negate one’s positive attitude towards life and other members of the community.
Due to this, drugs are blamed for the increased incidences of suicidal behavior in the American society (Inciardi, 1999). As an emphasis to this assertion, statistical information on suicide, it is clear that most case of suicide reported is at the adolescence stage. This is due to the fact that the youth is the population that is heavily engaged in the abuse of drugs. Such can also be explained from the fact that the youth population is not mature enough to effectively deal with the psychological problems brought by the use of drugs.
2.5 Effects on economic development
The economic implications of drugs are a two way problems by nature. First, drug business is an illegal one according to the law. Indeed, this is the reason why federal, state, and local governments spend billions of dollars annually in the war against drugs. Owing to this fact, the drug business remains an underground business. This means that the government does not enjoy the privilege of collecting revenue from illegal drug business. It is a common consensus that the American government looses over 12 billion in taxation from the multi-million drug business (Boaz, 1999).
Such can be seen as a major blow to the economic prosperity of the economy. It is worth noting that it is through the revenue collected by the government that public infrastructures, institutions, and other community projects are implemented. In addition, the same revenue is used for overseeing the efficient running of government institutions responsible for addressing public needs. Therefore, drugs are a major economic blow as they deny the government revenue.
The other economic aspect of drugs is its effects in rendering members of the community typically none productive (Koutsoumbos, 2009). As is evident from the effects of drugs on health and behavior, it is quite clear that drugs compromise the victim’s ability to provide reliable services at the workplace. Employee random drug testing programs are a common procedure used by employees to ensure soberness for the safety and efficiency of employees in an organization.
As a result of this program, many victims of drug abuse loose job opportunities making them a burden to the community. Still, the question of aggression as brought by drug abuse compromises the individual’s ability to promote sustainable interpersonal relations at the workplace. This is a negation to the provisions of business management principles which perceive team work as a crucial in enhancing the performance of an organization.
On the other hand, dependency on drugs results into economic dependency and increased rate of criminal activities in the community (Little, 2010). Although the government must provide for its population, working functions the ultimate purpose of ensuring individual economic and thus social independence in the community. Moreover, investment is a source of economic independence to the investor. However, with drugs being closely responsible for increased crime in the community, they indeed threaten economic independence of other members of the community.
2.6 Impact of legalizing drugs in other nations
Many nations such as Netherlands and Portugal have passed legislations discriminating the possession, sale of some drugs such as marijuana (Little, 2010). This resolution has not been prompted by the fact that drugs are not harmful to the user but rather due to considerations of the high costs incurred by the governments in the unsuccessful war against drugs. Although nations that allow drugs claim reduced law enforcement costs, the associated costs of addressing the social, health, and economic consequences are no doubt far higher.
On the other side, legalization of drugs in nations like Netherlands remains a real threat to the European nations. It is claimed that Netherlands acts as the transit of almost all drugs entering Europe (Little, 2010). In addition, the nation is a leading producer of cannabis, heroin, cocaine, and amphetamines as well as other synthetic drugs. Given that most European nations have zero tolerance to drugs, Netherlands remains under pressure to beep up it cross border security to mitigating trafficking of such drugs to Europe. This is no doubt an increased law enforcement cost on the government.
2.7 Why legalizing drugs will not bring economic benefits to the nation
Legalizing drugs in the American nation will not improve our economic status as such businesses will still remain on the black market. This is due to the fact that drug dealers are used to getting tax free money, an element that will prompted tax evasion practices (Boaz, 1999). Further, legalization of drugs could dictate for government taxation of the drugs. This could also require drug selling to be formal. All this have the implication of substantially increasing the overall costs of the drugs in the market. Such could force for black market practices as a strategy by dealers to increase their customer and thus profit base. This means that neither the government nor the public would sufficiently benefit from legalization of drugs.
Drugs should remain illegal in the American nation. This is because they pose a major threat to our cultural, social, economic, political, and academic structures. Drugs have been significantly blamed for the increase of criminology among American communities. The American young population has been overwhelming received numerous critics for its drug abuse behavior. A part from these, even the nations which have legalized drugs have not seen any tangible benefit from the practices. Indeed, this nations are not only dealing with the negative effects brought by drug abuse among its citizens, but above all dealing with underground drug markets. America is for sure no exception; let drugs remain illegal to safety our social and economic development.
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