All Drugs Should be Legal

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If all drugs were legal, we would see lower rates of overdoses, less addictions, and less government money wasted.

The current fight against drugs has had a substantial economic cost on America and continues to do so while having very little impact on the illegal drug industry (NBCnews). The problem of drug addiction is still incredibly widespread even after decades of fighting; in 2017 a study done by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration found that 19.7 million Americans had a substance abuse disorder in the past year (SAMHSA). So, how would legalization tackle the problem any better?

Overdoses are caused by a multitude of factors, but one prime factor is increased potency in drugs. Because of the ever increasing law enforcement drug traffickers face, drug traffickers have been heavily increasing the potency of drugs, as a smaller product that can produce a better high is easier to hide and sells better (EconLib). However, this increased potency leads to higher and higher rates of overdose (Academia).

What tends to happen is that drug users expect a certain high from a certain amount of a drug; when said drug, without the user’s knowledge, produces a much greater high, they are much more likely to overdose when taking the same amount they usually take. If drugs were legalized, they could be regulated and always produce the same effect. Those who would wish to use, would never have to face an unexpected dosage increase. 

 The monetary benefits are obvious. Estimates from a Harvard professor state that the United States would save 48.7 billion dollars annually from drug enforcement laws after legalization of drugs (reported as being conservative numbers) (Harvard). Furthermore, in terms of treating addiction, legalization would allow for America to improve the horribly lacking rehabilitation centers that we currently have. If we legalized drugs we could take the money no longer have to spend on enforcing previous laws and turn them towards rehabilitation centers.  We could set regulations on rehab centers and offer free help that could set those stuck in the chains of addiction free. Current rehabilitation centers are incredibly lackluster, and cost most people their life savings; just a fraction of the money saved could go towards more research on curing addiction and that research could help save millions of lives (TheDailyBeast). 

While the aforementioned reasons provide great points as to why we should switch to legalization of drugs, there is one key factor that is left unmentioned. If drugs are legal, they would more likely be socially acceptable by the general public. A study by the National Institute On Drug Abuse that used rats to test the effects of drugs on rats, found that when put in a social setting, rats who were already addicted to drugs were found to choose social interaction over drug use consistently (DrugAbuse.gov). The researchers thought that the social stigma against drug users, and the treatment of them as criminals and outcasts, makes drug users more likely to continue abusing drugs. By removing the taboo surrounding drugs, we can hopefully help addicts feel accepted and lead them on a road to recovery. Let’s do the right thing. Let’s legalize drugs.