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A future of drug use?

By Zack Armstrong
Arizona Daily Wildcat,
September 21, 1999

A recent study shows that seven out of 10 American drug users hold full time jobs. Seven out of 10! That's some big news. Seven out of 10 people who are active drug users in this country are everyday citizens. That's your friends; your family and your colleagues; everyday people. This can't be right; how can all these criminals be walking amongst us. We need to make drugs legal quick before these numbers increase.

My only question is, why aren't drugs legal in the first place? How can we claim to live in a free country when it is against the law to go out and buy a bag of marijuana or a sheet of LSD and consume it as we like? As long as a person takes responsibility for his or her actions and does not bring harm upon any other person, why should it be considered illegal? If a guy wants to shoot up heroin until his blood turns to sewage and his life is in shambles, well, power to him. Who's to tell him he can't? It's his life. If a girl wants to smoke crack until her lungs forget what it's like to breathe clean air, well, so be it. They're her lungs; it's her choice.

The legalization of all forms of narcotics is the best way. Granted, there would be a brief period of anarchy where people would be in a craze to exploit their newfound freedom and sample as many mind altering delights as they could get their hands on, but it would pass with time. They'd sow their wild oats and learn pretty quickly what works for them and what doesn't. The majority of the people in this world are pretty good at avoiding complete self-destruction. Everyone makes mistakes now and again, but these mistakes are how we learn and grow. Some people just aren't drug people, and they are capable of making that decision on their own. The government just needs to start having a little faith that the people can operate their own lives.

There will still be addicts; there will always be addicts. Some people just have addictive personalities and the legalization of drugs is not going to increase this number. If anything it might help it. With legalization would come government regulation. This would be better than what we have now for several reasons.

First of all, the drugs would be cleaner. They could be manufactured by trained professionals in state of the art laboratories instead of on the street by the same people that are selling them. This would mean a closer regulation on dosage and content; a person could be confident that the product wasn't laced with anything unwanted.

Legalization would also lead to a more public awareness. Education on drugs would be more accessible. This is true for the general public and those in the field of science. Legalization would lead to more study of drugs and exactly how they affect people. There are some drugs (like LSD for example), that we really have no idea about because they cannot be studied. In the 1960s, studies were being done with LSD that were helping people with schizophrenia and other mental illnesses. These studies were cut short when the government, fearing the increasing popularity of the drug culture of the time, made the drug in question illegal.

Besides learning the possible positive effects of certain drugs, legalization could also lead to a better understanding of addiction. Scientists would be able to study people under the influence of drugs far more closely than they can now and with study comes understanding.

There are plenty of good reasons to legalize drugs. I haven't even mentioned the fact that it would lead to the complete eradication of the terribly costly and wholly ineffective drug war.

The drugs will always be there. It is human nature to alter the state of consciousness. It has been done for thousands of years and will continue for thousands to come, we just need to learn to deal with it. Keeping them illegal and pretending that we can eventually get rid of them altogether is a joke and it's not working. It's time to try something else.

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