All drugs should be legal

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All drugs should be legal

Post Number:#1  Postby pjkeeley » August 12th, 2008, 11:05 pm

There are many reasons, but ultimately it comes down to this: nobody should be able to decide what we put into our own bodies except us. It is that simple.
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All drugs should be legal



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Post Number:#2  Postby Belinda » August 13th, 2008, 3:49 am

Not quite. People who make themselves ill are a drain on society.
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Post Number:#3  Postby ogdread » August 13th, 2008, 5:02 am

I'd like you to explain your reasoning. It's an interesting topic that deserves more detailed discussion.

"Over himself, over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign"? I'm an emphatic believer in Mill's harm principle. However, I am not convinced that all drugs affect only the individual using them. Perhaps you are basing your assertion on a different argument. Let's hear it.

In response to Belinda: what you say is true if we're talking about a welfare state. It might be worth investigating, however, if the benefits of such a system outweigh the costs.
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Post Number:#4  Postby pjkeeley » August 13th, 2008, 8:57 am

Belinda wrote:People who make themselves ill are a drain on society.

By this reasoning, cigarettes and alcohol ought to be illegal. They kill many more people than illegal drugs, and are a far worse burden on society.

But speaking of burdens on society, what of the millions of dollars spent on policing illegal drugs? Could this not be better spent in other ways?

ogdread wrote:I'd like you to explain your reasoning. It's an interesting topic that deserves more detailed discussion.

Conventional wisdom I suppose is that anyone proposing something as radical as "all drugs should be legal" should have to explain themselves. In the circumstances I believe it ought to be the reverse. People who think drugs should be illegal ought to explain their reasoning. They are the ones imposing a limit to our personal freedom; don't we deserve a reasonable explanation, other than a tired line like "drugs are bad"?

ogdread wrote:I am not convinced that all drugs affect only the individual using them.

Elaborate. In what ways are non-drug users harmed? Why should preventing that harm require the prohibition of drugs?
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Post Number:#5  Postby Belinda » August 13th, 2008, 2:19 pm

People who make themselves ill are a drain on society is not reasoning, it is a fact.

The best reasoning I know with regard to legalising drugs is that the police and other experts in the UK are massively of the opinion that 1. the present drugs policy of trying to stop them at source is not working. 2. the policy of criminalising users is counter-productive , as it makes people defiant,whereas it has been seen that the policy on cigarettes and alcohol the use of which is not criminal,that persuasion and education are significantly effective in reducing their use.3. The delay in de-criminalising drug use is a cause of drug-related crime. 4.In failing to take the best advice the government is suspected of trying to please the reactive voters.

It is not a sound reason for de-criminalising drugs that people have a right to put what they want into their bodies.If you think that this is a right, it would be interesting to hear if you have an argument rather than just an assertion .
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Post Number:#6  Postby ogdread » August 13th, 2008, 3:48 pm

pjkeeley,

It is my opinion that every position, conventional or radical, should be argued and examined openly. I realize the unfortunate fact that in mainstream society this stance is not the norm. I had expected, however, that among lovers of knowledge it would be. There is no knowledge to be gained by stating opinion in the absence of reason or evidence.

Now, as for the elaboration:

Belinda's point shouldn't necessarily be dismissed. Under a government that provides its citizens with medical care (which is funded by tax dollars), the ill may be a burden--one could reasonably argue that if more people make themselves ill through the use of drugs, taxpayers are being harmed by having to foot the bill. I would say that more research is needed on the topic; ie a comparison of money spent policing drugs versus the cost of health-care for drug users and the likelihood that an increase in drug use would in fact occur.

As a solution to the problem, the government could regulate and impose taxes on drugs, so that the drug users are essentially paying for their own care. This is the logic behind the cigarette tax, and as it stands the American government is actually pulling a profit.

Now I won't claim to be an expert on substance abuse, but don't certain drugs increase aggression? This could pose a danger to individuals other than the drug user. When children are involved, the situation gets even stickier. Should parents be allowed to abuse substances? Wouldn't certain substances affect their ability to be responsible parents, thus causing harm to their children? How about other care-giving individuals? We could try to impose restrictions that would prohibit parents of children under a certain age and police officers and medical care-givers from using substances, but that could get tricky.

Now, let's hear your thoughts on the topic.
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Post Number:#7  Postby Luthor » August 13th, 2008, 5:48 pm

Yeah basically if drugs were all of a sudden legal there would be a big increase in drug users and it would result in more violence and more crime and would leave the country in a broken state.
A person can still do drugs if they want to anyway.
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Post Number:#8  Postby pjkeeley » August 14th, 2008, 3:07 am

Belinda wrote:It is not a sound reason for de-criminalising drugs that people have a right to put what they want into their bodies.If you think that this is a right, it would be interesting to hear if you have an argument rather than just an assertion .

I do believe it is a natural right. That's why I said it was. I wasn't kidding around. As for my reasoning, it is my belief that as a general rule, we have the right to do as we please so long as our actions don't intefere with the ability of other people to do the same. This is how human rights in modern thought have traditionally been painted. The state exists to protect the rights of individuals.

I fail to see fully how the conclusion that drugs should be prohibited follows from your premise that drug users burden society. For a start, as ogdread pointed out, it assumes the existence of a welfare state. Public healthcare was not considered a right until relatively recently in political thought. Even assuming there ought to be a welfare state to burden in the first place, your argument still relies on the hidden premise that, were drugs made legal, significantly more people would use them. This has not been shown to be the case. Government surveys have consistently shown that the reason most people do not use drugs is that they are "just not interested". The illegal nature of drug use is a low priority for most people. The fact is, it is very easy for people to obtain drugs and get away with using them if that is what they wish to do. My answer, supported by data from countries with comparitively liberal drug policies, is that prohibition does little to affect the number of drug users in a population. Social stigma as well as good conditions of life (high employment, good eduction and so on) are what turns the balance.

A further point is that if we do not wish to be burdened by people who "make themselves ill", then it would make more sense to disallow drug users access to public healthcare, as opposed to outlawing drugs entirely and turning users into criminals. Either way, people are going to continue using drugs and there will always be some kind of social burden as a result.

Belinda wrote:1. the present drugs policy of trying to stop them at source is not working. 2. the policy of criminalising users is counter-productive , as it makes people defiant,whereas it has been seen that the policy on cigarettes and alcohol the use of which is not criminal,that persuasion and education are significantly effective in reducing their use.3. The delay in de-criminalising drug use is a cause of drug-related crime. 4.In failing to take the best advice the government is suspected of trying to please the reactive voters.

These are all good reasons to end prohibition.

ogdread wrote:Now I won't claim to be an expert on substance abuse, but don't certain drugs increase aggression?

Yes. Alcohol has been frequently shown to do so. Shouldn't it be illegal? But as for illegal drugs, aggression is sometimes an effect of stimulants. They do not however make non-violent people into dangerous people. As for violent people, there are already laws governing violent behaviour. It is not a reason to outlaw drugs.

ogdread wrote:As a solution to the problem, the government could regulate and impose taxes on drugs, so that the drug users are essentially paying for their own care.

A very sensible suggestion.

ogdread wrote:Should parents be allowed to abuse substances?

Drugs or no drugs, bad parents are bad parents. Neglect and child abuse are against the law. If their drug use causes them to neglect or abuse their children, then the law will step in as it already does. It is not a reason to outlaw drugs.

Luthor wrote:if drugs were all of a sudden legal there would be a big increase in drug users and it would result in more violence and more crime and would leave the country in a broken state.

There is no evidence to support this.
Last edited by pjkeeley on August 14th, 2008, 10:58 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post Number:#9  Postby Belinda » August 14th, 2008, 6:06 am

For a start, as ogdread pointed out, it assumes the existence of a welfare state. Public healthcare was not considered a right until relatively recently in political thought. Even assuming there ought to be a welfare state to burden in the first place, your argument still relies on the hidden premise that, were drugs made legal, significantly more people would use them. This has not (pjkeeley)

I did NOT say that if drugs were made legal, significantly more people would use them. I said that among other reasons for legalising drug use, one reason is that if drugs were made legal and eduaction and persuasion were employed to curtail their use,as for cigs and alcohol, significantly fewer people would use drugs.

As for public health care not being considered a right in the past, it was considered a right, in western civilisations at least, by religious foundations, by tribal elders and by good neighbours. Ill people have always been taken care of, although many many people lacked the care, general consensus in any civilisation is that ill people are cared for. Not every person that we would now consider a person was always and everywhere considered a person, for instance girl babies, useless elderl, or criminals, but this is a different matter from the matter of universality within specific societies of public health care.
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Post Number:#10  Postby pjkeeley » August 14th, 2008, 10:56 am

Belinda wrote:I did NOT say that if drugs were made legal, significantly more people would use them. I said that among other reasons for legalising drug use, one reason is that if drugs were made legal and eduaction and persuasion were employed to curtail their use,as for cigs and alcohol, significantly fewer people would use drugs.

I'm sorry, I misinterpreted your argument. So, if we agree that people will use drugs whether they are legal or not (ie. they will be a burden either way), and we both agree that the legality of drugs would not significantly affect the number of people using them (ie. would not increase that burden), then where exactly are we in disagreement? Are we only arguing over whether drug use is a right?

I see it as a right because it doesn't violate anyone else's rights; I don't consider making yourself sick to be a violation of anyone else's rights. And even if I was convinced otherwise, simply using drugs could still be considered a right -- only abusing drugs to the point of needing medical care would then not be a right. However I don't see the latter as being the case. Burdening public healthcare might be a selfish thing to do but it violates no rights.

The problem with the contrary argument is you are treading a slippery slope. If people have no right to do anything whereby they could potentially "make themselves sick", as you put it, and therefore "burden society", where do we draw the line with respect to other kinds of risky behaviour? Does a man who frequently visits gay bath houses in order to have unprotected sex with strangers have no right to do so, because of the high risk he will infect himself with Aids? Perhaps you would argue that he is not trying to get sick, however neither are drug users, who most frequently only wind up in hospitals because of an overdose -- an accident. For most people hosptial is the last place they want to end up when on drugs. On a side note, we could prevent many overdoses by making drugs legal, since doses could be regulated and clearly marked, unlike drugs on the black market.

For me it comes down to this: if somebody attempts to make themselves sick by some means (not necessarily with the aid of illegal drugs), maybe even in an attempt to kill themselves, I would not say they have violated anyone's rights, even by burdening society by subsequently receiving public healthcare. That person has a problem, they need help. So do drug abusers. Note that not all drug users need help, only those who abuse them. And I think statistically there are probably far more people burdening the public healthcare system needlessly in other ways, though I'm only guessing.
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Post Number:#11  Postby ogdread » August 14th, 2008, 12:35 pm

As much as I hate to use the slippery slope argument, as it's often abused, I do think that in the case of paternalistic government it applies. It's a frightening prospect indeed. Individual liberties will not be taken from the public swiftly and by force, but piece by piece--and the people will give it freely. That's opinion, but I just had to throw it out there while we're on the topic; it's a source of personal anxiety.
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Post Number:#12  Postby Belinda » August 14th, 2008, 3:54 pm

Safe sex is a duty too.Slippery slopes can happen and it is the duty of responsible citizens to ensure that civil liberties are not compromised. I don't see that persuasion and education compromise civil liberties.

Telling the people the facts about STD's and drugs empowers them.
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Post Number:#13  Postby Luthor » August 14th, 2008, 4:07 pm

Why don't we all get high and then argue about this.
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Post Number:#14  Postby nameless » August 15th, 2008, 2:40 am

Luthor wrote:Why don't we all get high and then argue about this.

Wouldn't work; on cannabis, fffolks don't want/need to argue!
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Post Number:#15  Postby Luthor » August 16th, 2008, 8:53 am

Twas my point.
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