Would you agree with me you have the right to eat whatever you want? Let’s say you have a hamburger. This is no normal hamburger. It is full of grease and has twice the calories that you need in a day. I’m pretty sure most people would agree that an individual should be able to decide whether or not they should eat it or not. It is a person’s choice to decide what to eat. I’m also guessing most people would avoid this hamburger, or at least not eat it often. But still, shouldn’t you get the choice to eat or not to eat it?
Well, let’s replace the hamburger with drugs. Why is it that we cannot use the same exact choice, just with drugs? Yes, I said it. I agree there are some drugs that are terrible for you and extremely addictive, I understand that. But those drugs are few and far between. Why does the government decide that you can or cannot put a substance into your body? This baffles me that some people think the government has the right to decide what an individual can or cannot do with their own body and consciousness. My answer is simply to decriminalize drugs and treat those who are addicted get the help they need.
A claim that will often be made by those that oppose this view is that violence will be rampant. This is not the case. Prohibitionists claimed that if alcohol were made illegal, then crime would go down. Funny how that worked out. Yes, I agree violence will be caused by some who use these drugs. If someone is arrested for a violent offense or otherwise any crime related to the use of drugs, they should have their rights of using that drug/s taken away as well as be punished for that violent crime, much like what is done with guns. Many people responsibly own and use firearms which can be far more dangerous than using a drug. Many drugs which are illegal though, are not violence inducing drugs. I find it really hard to believe that someone relaxing after hard day at work by smoking a joint is going to go on a shooting spree just because they had some marijuana.
Another claim many will make is that drugs are addictive. Yes, this can be true. But, is sugar also not addictive? There is study after study showing how addictive sugar or caffeine is yet these are not illegal. When looked at neurologically, sugar is comparative to cocaine use. There also people addicted to food, correct? Why is our country having an obesity epidemic? Part of the reason is due to the addictiveness of food. Should we make most foods illegal? I agree though, that some drugs can be addictive and, if at any point someone is addicted and their quality of life is being hurt in any way, they should be treated.
Just because drugs are decriminalized, most people are not going to go out and start shooting up heroin. Those who want to use will use, legal or illegal. If you want evidence look up Portugal’s decriminalization efforts. Over a decade ago Portugal decriminalized drug use. The money that was spent fighting the drugs was used for treatment and prevention programs. Drug abuse is down by half in Portugal.
I feel that instead of spending billions of dollars in fighting the use of drugs, the problem should be seen as treatment. Those who need help will not have to hide in fear of being arrested. Instead, programs and treatments will expand with those who need help being able to go in and get help they need. Money that has previously been spent fighting the problem can be used for treatment and prevention. Violence will not skyrocket as propaganda may have you otherwise believe, once again look into the situation in Portugal for further evidence.
To sum up, I think people should get the right to decide what to do with their body. This isn’t an issue of whether an individual personally likes to use drugs or doesn’t. Those who don’t like drugs don’t have to use them. Instead, the option should be made available. The government should not decide what one can or cannot do with their body. I am not advocating or condoning the use of drugs. I just feel that this problem is not being solved by making drugs illegal with stiff penalties for those caught. We can all agree that there is a drug problem, and the way the system is set up, is doing little to nothing to prevent drug use.