It's Time to Legalize Drugs Essay

3002 Words13 Pages
No one can honestly claim that current American drug policies have been a success. To the contrary, the current policy of drug prohibition, aside from being ineffective and costly, has created a set of unwanted consequences including: a high prison population of non-violent offenders, corruption within law enforcement, health issues, and an erosion of civil liberties . Albert Einstein said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” Yet despite the failures of the current policy in deterring drug use that is just what the government is choosing to do. It’s time to consider a different approach to the drug issue. An approach that will address drug use in an innovative way while solving the…show more content…
(Office of National Drug Control Policy) With numbers like these it’s clear that the current drug policy is not only costly, but ineffective at preventing drug use. The high number of drug users combined with the nation’s tough drug laws has helped make the US the world’s leading jailer. By the end of 2008 2,304,115 people were incarcerated according to a December 2009 report by the US Bureau of Justice Statistics. Drug offenders accounting for 22% of the US prison population according to an article titled “Incarcerated in America” on the Human Rights Watch Website. The cost to house an inmate averages about $35,000 a year, according to a New York Times article by Jennifer Steinhauer. When all that money is added up that’s a lot of money which could very easily be used in better ways instead of pursuing and jailing non-violent drug offenders. In countries with more liberal drug policies such as the Netherlands, where cannabis has been decriminalized and where drug use is seen not as a criminal issue but as a health issue, drug use is actually much lower than the US. According to the United Nations only 5.2% of those 12 and over in the Netherlands have used drugs in the past year. (Martin) Thanks in large part to the Netherlands’ approach to drug education , which sees drug experimentation as part of normal growing up and thus aims at providing the youth with “the most accurate information possible so they will know what they’re getting into.”
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