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The War on Drugs

There have been times in history when leaders would not have questioned their subjects’ rights to consume anything. It was understood that one should care for one’s own health as best as possible and damaging things went against that but it was up to the individual. Even suicide has at various points been seen as an honorable death that violated no laws or codes. The modern concept of a war on drugs has failed for many reasons which are listed below:

Defining drugs

There are almost infinite things that can alter someone’s mood. Caffeine is a drug and can produce withdrawal symptoms if people who are addicted to it do not get an adequate dose on time. It is however an accepted drug like alcohol. A person can sip coffee in a public place without fear of being carted off to jail. Similarly, scientists have observed that consuming junk foods lights up certain pleasure centers of the brain that are quite similar to those affected by narcotics. There are also many people who have lost their lives due to complications associated with obesity, a side effect of junk food consumption. Does that make it a drug and should it be made illegal?

The cost of a narcotics war

Equipping police officers to fight no violent drug users takes up money and manpower hours that could otherwise have been allocated to finding arms dealers, murderers and rapists. The opportunity cost of the spot occupied by a marijuana user in jail is fair greater than it appears on the surface.

The real issue

Substance abuse has the ability to ruin lives. The abuse of any substance will do that but the problem in this case is not the substance, it is the addiction. Often people with hidden issues and emotional pain are the most vulnerable to addiction. They are trying to self medicate because they have not fully dealt with their problems. Often this is as a result of their ignorance of the resources they have available or the stigmatization of people with mental illnesses. By making them whole emotionally their desire to escape reality with chemicals will decline.

There have been cases where the decriminalization of certain drugs has resulted in an improvement in a region’s crime rates. One has only to look at prohibition era drug cartels to see the truth in that.

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