There is no question that drugs are prevalent in the United States today and that something should be done about it. Drugs hurt society in so many ways; people die, loose their jobs, and lose their families all because of addiction. Will legalizing these destructive drugs change the effect of them? No, if drugs would be easier to obtain it would only make it easier for people to have the opportunity to self-destruct themselves and what’s around them.
There isn’t any good reason why our government should legalize drugs. Though there would be some benefits in legalization, the negatives would override them completely. The legalization would help the situation in our overcrowded prisons and save our government money. “It costs more than $50,000 a year to keep someone in a federal prison” (Deerlin 17). It will also put everyday small time drug dealers out of business because the government or corporations (depending on what laws the government would pass) would take over the distributing of these drugs. But, are these two reasons enough to legalize drugs? Recent studies by various groups say no.
The negatives of legalization are massive. But, the most important thing we must take into consideration if legalization takes place is the well being of our nation’s children. Young kids will be exposed to all sorts of hard drugs before they are mentally aware of the consequences of them. Also, because the drugs are legal they will have no sense of if they are right or wrong. This sense of drugs being bad actually helped me refrain from them in many instances. Kids will be overdosing on drugs at an astounding rate and many will become addicted. Our youth will become a generation of junkies, how are they going to lead America when they are older? Not only will more kids be on drugs so will more parents. How are parents on drugs supposed to look after their kids? “Largely because of drug abuse, there was a nearly 30 percent rise in the number of foster care children in the United States between 1987 and 1990.” (Perkins 14) Obviously they can’t. This will also lead to an increase in child abuse, babies born addicted to drugs, and fatalities and retardation rates for newborns.
Though, drug dealers wouldn’t do as well, crime would rise tremendously if legalization occurred. “75 percent of crimes in America are committed by substance abusers-in many cases to support their habit.” (Perkins 3) The United States does not need anymore drug-related crimes than it already has. Perkins later states, “Making drugs even more freely available than they are now hardly would make America’s streets safer.” Perkins is absolutely right.
Lastly, what would it say about our government to the rest of the world if we legalized drugs? It would say that we aren’t powerful, smart, or a super power anymore. We are one of the most powerful and influential countries in the world; prohibition would hinder our citizens, power, money, and respect. Perhaps other nations would wage war on us to seize our land because of our weakness. The legalization of drugs hasn’t helped any other nations anyway. In Switzerland, a public park was turned over to drug users in 1989. By 1991, drug related deaths rose by 80 percent. Amsterdam has been notorious for their legalization on narcotics. Since this legalization in 1976, the country’s population of heroin addicts has more than tripled. AIDS would also run even more rampant if our government legalized drugs also.
There are many more reasons why the legalization of drugs by our government would hurt us, too many to list. The government does not basically need to state that drugs are okay by legalizing them. Drugs do not need to be promoted; they need to be gotten rid of. The war on drugs will never end; there will always be drug users and drug dealers. The true question is, do we want our kids to be among these ranks of dealers and users? If we say yes to legalization, we say yes to this question too.