There are many people out there who oppose the legalization of drugs because of the danger they represent to society. Well, I’ve got news for you. Drugs are largely already legal and lethal. Only the drugs that the drug industry controls are considered legal and alternates that could be dispensed cheaply are still illegal. This article describes how overdose from prescription medications now outnumber overdoses of illegal drugs. Prescription medication pain pills use has increased dramatically in the last fifteen years with it reaching a level four times higher in 2010 than it was in 1999.
At first glance my argument appears to support the continued legal penalties for drugs like heroin, cocaine, marijuana, and others of their ilk. If prescription medication kills so many people then we should think about making Vicodin and others illegal as well. I see the idea but my point is that the violence associated with illegal drugs would largely stop once we ended our prohibitionist laws. Also, many people who become addicted to prescription painkillers eventually turn to illegal drugs because they are far cheaper and readily available. This brings them into contact with hardened criminals. These hardened criminals are actually only a short step away from the doctor that prescribes Vicodin and the pharmacist that dispenses it.
So, prescription drugs are killers and lead to addiction. Illegal drugs lead to violence beyond imagination. What’s the answer?
There will always be people who seek out the chemical pleasure drugs induce; be it legally with alcohol or some other legal medication or illegally with marijuana or other drugs. There will always people in pain who have legitimate need for pain killing drugs to help them get through a medical crisis. We must accept this fact before we can arrive at a conclusion. Drugs will always, and have always, destroyed lives. People are documented as dying from alcohol related illnesses for as long as we have written records.
Once we come to that conclusion, that we cannot stop the self-destructive behavior of a certain percentage of our society, we can start to think about real solutions. How do we minimize such destruction and also minimize the criminal element that causes so much harm as well?
It’s a two-pronged attack. The first step is to legalize all drugs. Heroin is just branded as Vicodin or Oxycontin. It’s really the same family of drug and there isn’t any drug out there that isn’t dispensed legally by prescription. So, why not just make everything legal? It completely destroys the criminal element behind illegal drug production and dispensation which destroys so many lives.
But, that’s not the only attack. Even as a drug legalization advocate I acknowledge the dangers such substances represent. Should anyone be able to purchase heroin at the corner drug-store without a prescription? Would we end up as a nation of drug stupefied zombies? Certain psychoactive drugs are physically extremely destructive. Should we allow these to be sold over the counter to any comer?
I think the solution is one of education and available help. We should dispense with the nonsensical anti-drug arguments and give real information on the harmful effects of these substances. Then the industry of drugs should be taxed, yep I said it, to allow for free clinics for those who want help. Those who don’t want help, those who gleefully destroy their lives, there is nothing we can do for them and there will never be anything to be done.
It’s not a perfect solution. There will still be drug addicts. There will still be those who destroy their own lives and harm those around them because of these addictions. I’m of the opinion that people have to make their own way in life. If we allow people to make decisions like buying some heroin at the local drugstore without a prescription then eventually people will, mostly, make good decisions. We cannot be a nanny-state and a successful country.
We cannot force people into good decisions. We can give people information, give people choices, give people opportunities. When everyone has hope and opportunity I’m of the opinion that society succeeds. That people succeed. Maybe I’m an optimist.
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Twist
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