by Mr Natural
Government vs Common Sense
|The Problem Is…
Drug Abuse. I think it’s obvious to most of us that the “War On Drugs” is not going to be won the way it is being fought. Our government has been fighting it for what, about 50 years now, and making absolutely no headway. It occurs to me that this is not the right way to go about it.
I really think it’s about time to try a different approach. I would like to suggest something completely radical. Learning from our past. A wise man once said “Those who do not learn from the past are destined to repeat it.” (or something similar). Let’s think back to the Prohibition.
When alcohol became illegal did people stop using it? No.
Were more people hurt by the consumption of bad alcohol? Yes.
Did that stop people from using it? No.
What it did was make Joe Average, an otherwise law abiding citizen, a criminal. It made millions of dollars for organized crime. It cost the taxpayers millions that could have been better spent. It cost the government millions in lost tax revenues. It overburdened our courts and jails and wasted the time of our police, who could have devoted their time to solving real crimes, (murder, rape, etc…), and apprehending real criminals.
I don’t think I need to point out that with the repeal of prohibition all that changed.
Let’s face it folks. Drugs are not going away. The cause and effect of illegal drugs is the same as it was for illegal alcohol.
Granted, drugs and alcohol are somewhat different. You can consume some alcohol without becoming intoxicated where with drugs that’s kinda the objective. Some drugs are dangerous and should be avoided, and are by people with any common sense. But everyone knows which ones they are. The sad fact of the matter is that you can’t protect people from themselves as hard as we may try. The same holds true for seatbelt and helmet laws. (Which will be topics for later discussion.)
The best we can hope for is to minimize the damage drugs cause society in general.
In my opinion, (and it’s probably an unpopular one), drugs aren’t inherently evil, although as I said before, some should be avoided. There are millions of people out there that use drugs with no ill effects on their lives. The problems lie in the irresponsible use of, and particularly abuse of drugs. The same problems are caused by the abuse of alcohol.
I think it’s time to be not only allowed, but expected to take responsibility for our own lives and actions. I think drugs, alcohol, and even tobacco should be legal for everyone, at any age. (Bear with me for a few minutes here and see if you follow my logic.)
Most people start using and abusing drugs, alcohol, and tobacco in adolescence. This is the most difficult time in our lives. Both the best and worst. We are trapped between childhood and adulthood trying desperately to become adults. We are going through a lot of changes and while a lot of these are exciting there is a lot of relative insecurity in dealing with them.
Smoking and drinking are adult things and we are trying to be adult. Drugs just make us feel good. Admit it people. We all need something to make us feel better about ourselves at times. Particularly at that time of life. What that something might be will vary from person to person and a lot depends on the relationship between a parent and a child. For some people that something may only need to be a prayer but for a lot of us, dare I say, the majority of us, drugs are easily obtainable, and produce an immediate and noticeable feel good effect.
Drug use is illegal, so children hide it from their parents. (Some parents hide it from their children as well. I can’t say enough here about leadership by example, because kids ain’t stupid.)
Drug use is, many times, hard to detect until it reaches the point of abuse at which point it’s too late.
Now let’s examine what would happen if drugs were legal for everyone.
The crime rate would drop dramatically. I’ve heard estimates that as many as 80% of the people in our jails and prisons were convicted of drug related crimes. I don’t know what the criteria they used for making that determination were, but there is no doubt in my mind that even if they only released those convicted for possession or distribution it would still make a considerable difference.
Violent crime would drop as it did after the repeal of prohibition. A significant percentage of the violent crimes committed today are among rivals in the drug trade over business. Not to mention the fact that it takes money used to buy guns out of the hands of the people most likely to use them indiscriminately. How many innocent people have been wounded or killed by being caught in the crossfire.
Children would be less likely to hide drug use from their parents. Parents would be able to teach their children responsible use (or abstinence if that is your preference).
Drugs could be quality controlled, which would cut down on dosage problems as well as problems associated with the garbage some of it is cut with making them safer.
Drugs could be taxed. With the possible exception of marijuana which is a weed and grows virtually everywhere.
Just think about it. Think of all the time and money that would be saved. Our courts would be less overburdened. Our jails and prisons would be less overcrowded. Our police could concentrate on real crime.
Think about how much us non-users could save on our taxes. Ahh… it warms my wallet just to think about it. I’m kidding of course. Everybody knows taxes never go down. The money just goes somewhere else. But imagine if it were to go to somewhere like…Oh…I don’t know…maybe our school system for example. Just a thought.
Don’t get me wrong about all this folks. I don’t use drugs. I don’t condone drug use. But neither do I condemn it. A wise man (a different one than I mentioned earlier) once said “Moderation in all things.” I think moderation and a little common sense goes a long way.
I also do not delude myself in thinking that this is a perfect solution. I don’t think there is a perfect solution. There’s a comedian that says “You can’t fix stupid.” He’s right. If there is a way to abuse or misuse anything in this world someone will do it. It’s just human nature.
It does make me wonder though. The people in power in this country must know these things. They’re not stupid or they wouldn’t be where they are. Why do they leave things the way they are? There must be a reason wouldn’t you think?
Just my opinion.