Essay about Against the War On Drugs in America

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The Case Against America’s War on Drugs

The legal prohibition on most psychoactive drugs has been in place in this country for the better part of a century. This policy of prohibition, however, has never been based on reason or careful consideration, but on the paranoia of a small segment of society and the indifferent willingness of the majority to accept this vocal minority’s claims without question. Outlawing any use of a particular drug is a violation of the basic freedom of individuals to act as they please in their private lives. However, even if one does not accept this belief, an objective analysis of the United States’ history of prohibition clearly shows that attempts to enforce this policy have done far more harm than good,
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First of all, the Harrison act was only intended to regulate the sale of these drugs, making them available over the counter in small doses and in larger doses with a doctor’s prescription. Only later did the courts and law enforcement interpret this law as a prohibition. Reasons for the law included the association of opium with the widely despised Chinese-American community and lobbying by medical and pharmaceutical associations who sought a monopoly on the sale of narcotics, but the primary concern was to meet international obligations created by the new international drug control treaty. Marijuana was not banned until 1937, but no medical testimony was presented to congress at this time. Thus prohibition of these drugs occurred with little deliberation and with little rational justification (Ostrowski).

Alcohol prohibition, the "noble experiment" began in 1918. Few, if any, would deny that this experiment was a disaster. I will discuss the details of this experiment throughout the paper as it is relevant to the current war on drugs, but suffice to say that prohibition utterly failed to curb alcohol consumption while creating a black market for liquor which was dominated by violent criminals, and encouraging the consumption of hard liquor which was not subject to any legal quality controls. Alcohol prohibition was repealed in 1933.

The Argument for Legalization

Public fears that drug use poses a real threat to society and the general stigma attached to

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