The Global Drug Commission Report, published this month, opens with the line “The global war on drugs has failed.” To the contrary, and unsurprisingly, the U.S. Office of National Drug Control Policy has expressed confidence in the Obama administration’s anti-drug strategy. My opponent was sure to highlight the office's resolve in her article from last week. What she forgot to mention were the recently leaked diplomatic cables on the drug situation in Mexico. Apparently, in private, our government officials also echo concerns that their war on drugs may face critical failures.
Many opponents of drug legalization misguidedly inflate the issue of drug consumption. As the aforementioned report and cables help illustrate, the real drug problem is the broader humanitarian and economic crisis that stems from the failed war on drugs. Globally legalizing drugs would effectively end this crisis. Furthermore, banning the advertisement of drugs and reallocating government funds towards addiction treatment and drug education would curb legalization’s negative consequences. Many people are against the war on drugs, and would rather see the money spent on it diverted to drug addiction intervention services and other essential addiction treatment programs.
All these problems, and many others, will disappear if drugs are legalized. My opponent argues that drug legalization would not destroy the drug black market. In her previous article she claims that, like cigarettes, drugs would continue to be illegally trafficked in spite of legalization.
Even so, I do not believe that governments should completely withdraw from their anti-drug campaigns if drugs become legalized. In order to limit the damage that increased consumption would cause, governments must completely ban any institution from attempting to market drugs. Drug advertising needs to be illegal. Governments are obliged to reallocate the massive funds, used to regulate drug use and trafficking, to helping addicts overcome addiction. Finally, they must, with rerouted funds and in collaboration with private firms, undertake hyper-aggressive drug education campaigns aimed at discouraging drug use.
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons