Addiction and the War on Drugs

Patricia Leret

English 5

Clifton Ross

In the last century the evasive solution to America’s drug problem has become a controversial political issue that has divided the American populace [1]. One side argues drugs should be considered a serious crime defined by tough enforcement of drug laws punishable   by severe sentences while others support their legalization and advocate personal responsibility for an individual’s decisions about what to consume. However both usually focus on the side effects of the drugs themselves as opposed to considering the larger problem of addiction. It is because of the destructive behavior associated with addiction that drugs are not recommendable not due to the physical or psychological implications induced by the substance itself. Unfortunately, the criminalization and subsequent persecution of drug users has ultimately failed to produce the desired results. Therefore, drugs should be legalized and subject to regulation by the government to ensure the safety and well-being of users.
To begin discussing this subject the word drug must first be defined and explained within its historical context. A drug is a substance which modifies normal bodily functions and brain activity[2]. This general term refers to medicine, alcohol, tobacco as well as illegal drugs as defined by the Drug Enforcement Administration. For the purpose of this paper the arguments will be centered around the latter. Drugs have been used by human beings for millennia. Native Americans discovered the hallucinogenic properties of drug-bearing plants and even recorded them in hieroglyphics. Among the plants were precursors to modern cocaine and quinine[3].   Other substances such as marijuana have also been used for centuries by various cultures. However, withstanding the test of time does not excuse inhibiting substances from criticism.
While dangerous side effects of drug consumption are often cited when criticizing their use, the larger and more...