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Drug abuse and illegal drug trade have become common vices in society. In the USA, the issue of drug legalization has received much debate from both political and social spheres. In this case, many individuals have adopted various perspectives on how the drug issue should be handled. For instance, some individuals contend that drug legalization is the only viable tool for handling the war on drugs. However, I contend that illegal drugs should not be legitimized because of the following reasons.
The War on Drugs Debate
Curbing illegal drug trade requires a lot of resources. However, it should not be argued that the fight against drugs is becoming a burden to the economy. This is because a lot of resources have been used in combating terrorism, yet people fail to recognize the fact that terrorists partly engage in drug trafficking in order to get financial resources. Consequently, fighting drug trade is tantamount to fighting terrorists. It is true that economic resources spend in the drug war can be utilized in other areas, but drug legalization is likely to cause serious ramifications that would aggravate the already complicated problem.
If one analyzes the reasons behind drug corroboration, it becomes evident that drug legalization will not offer meaningful solutions to drug related crime. Although some of the mechanisms applied in combating the proliferation of illegal drugs are unsuccessful and misplaced, better strategies can still be adopted (Friedersdorf, 2011).
It is often argued that the government can distance itself from drug issues if they are legitimized, however, this can only be possible in a fantasy world. For example, the tobacco industry has constantly received many criticisms, and many law suits have been filled for various reasons against it. One can imagine the number of law suits that are likely to be filled if drugs will be freely used. “Legal drugs mean more laws, more regulations and more government, higher taxes and higher insurance rates” (Gottfried, 2000). Campaign corruption is a crime that has increased significantly because the tobacco industry supports many politicians during campaigns in return for protection. This implies that corruption cases are likely to increase if drugs become legal. “Even proponents of drug legalization, such as Nobel economist Milton Freedman and the conservative William F. Buckley admit that the government will play a significant role in legal drug regulation” (Robert, 2008).
The prohibition of drugs has been pointed out as the main reason for their high prices. However, legalization will not reduce drug prices because they will still be taxed highly to discourage people from using them. Therefore, charging high drug taxes means that the government is not willing to have them leglized because they will increase crime. Legalization of drugs will also be accompanied by many requirements. For example, hospitals and correction facilities will have to be expanded to accommodate more drug addicts seeking rehabilitation and treatment. This will be expensive. The cost of implementing all this strategies will be forwarded to the tax payers, who may not be drug addicts.
Drug legalization is seen by some people as a key instrument for mitigating criminal activities. Such individuals contend that drug prices will go down considerably if they are legitimized. Hence, people will not have to engage in crime to get more money for the expensive illegal drugs. In this case, the proponents argue that violence among drug cartels will fade off. In my view, this will not be the case because legalization will affect the lucrative nature of the drug business (Cargaro, 1996).
In order to maintain their dominant position, drug lords will still use violence to intimidate new competitors who will join the drug industry if it is legitimized. Besides this, “studies show a correlation between drug use and violent crimes such as homicides, assaults and domestic violence” (Bean, New York). For example, many suspects often confess that they engaged in crime due to drug intoxication. Hence, drugs will be used as scapegoats by court defendants. This is because drug addicts will always blame their violent behavior on drugs. According to the American Medical Association, “drugs such as cocaine have accounted for the high number of homicides in many cities such as California and New York” (Shapiro, 2011).
Many economists have supported the drug legalization because they look at it as a potential revenue source that has been ignored. Indeed, many taxes will be raked in from legal drug trade, but how helpful will this income be in reducing crime? The high income likely to be realized from drug legislation will all be channeled to towards dealing with its negative effects like violence linked to it. Consequently, it will be a useless income that will not benefit our economy and society at large. Therefore, these arguments reveal that the positive aspects of drug war outweigh those of drug legalization.
The Posse Comitatus Act
This act was implemented in 1878, and its application is still relevant in the USA. The application of Posse Comitatus act has been marred with confusion and criticism. This act was meant to prohibit military officers from taking part in law enforcement activities within the USA. At present, this act has assumed new roles, which are totally distinct from those it was meant to do back in 1878. “The Posse Comitatus Act is no longer associated with reconstruction, and now it serves as a useful way to prevent the U.S. armed forces from directing their effforts against U.S. dissident groups” (Trebilcock, 2008).
With regard to the provisions of this act, the military has not been mandated to engage in combating drug trade within the USA territory. This is because fighting drug trade is part of law enforcement, which the military is not supposed to engage in as spelled out in this act. Although the military is not applicable in controlling drug trade, it can be helpful in this process.
“The Posse Comitatus Act remains a deterrent in the war on drugs because it prevents the un authorized deployment of troops at the local level in response to what is purely a civilian law enforcement matter” (Trebilcock, 2008).
Long Prison Terms
The federal government has established correction facilities in various parts of the United States. These facilities are used for correcting convicted individuals. Correction facilities have been fairly successful in mitigating crime in the society. However, they have been experiencing some challenges which have affected their efficiency. Consequently, long imprisonment can intensify rather than mitigate crime because of the following reasons .Drug abuse has been one of the major challenges facing correction facilities (Mc Vie, 2001).
Criminal gangs have now extended their presence in prisons. This has enhanced the coordination of drug deals within the facilities. It has also been noted that some staff members serving in these facilities aid the distribution processes by providing immunity to the dealers. “This further aggravates the whole situation by making it difficult to solve this problem” (Mc Vie, 2001).
Therefore, the correction facilities are likely to lose their role of correcting inmates if serious measures are not adopted to make them effective. These facilities should be rehabilitated before they can be used for rehabilitation. Therefore, criminal offenders can be able to maintain their operations if they are subjected to long imprisonment in poorly managed facilities. This makes the rehabilitation process unsuccessful.
The above discussion indicates that the war on drugs has been received differently by many individuals, depending on their motives and understanding of the whole situation. The drug issue is complicated, but it is too early for the government to give in and legitimize this unethical practice. In my view, drugs account for a significant number of problems ranging from crime to loss of lives annually. “Drug-legalization is a mockery of liberty no less than socialism is to equality” (Cargaro, 1996). Consequently, I conclude that drug legalization is tantamount to legalization of criminal activities because of the above mentioned factors.