Should drugs be decriminalized?
Nawal Hassan Langrial
For many years people have misused drugs in order to escape from problems in their lives. These drugs have formed a huge part in their lives resulting in serious health problems as they are not administered by a health professional. Therefore, many countries including Czech Republic, Portugal and Germany have decriminalized certain drugs which are believed to cause harm to the
human body like marijuana, cocaine and more (city wide drug crises campaign, 2020).
Moreover, with the legalization of marijuana in a few states, Colorado and Washington State. being the first (David Kroman, 2020), the decriminalization of drugs has become a hot topic. One of the arguments for decriminalization is that it would eliminate the illegal black market and
criminal networks associated with the drug trade. Other arguments include moving the problem away from police and the criminal justice system and focusing on itsadvantages regarding health.
Treating drugs illegal or as a criminal offense and giving criminal punishment for drug
ownership is called decriminalization this indicates that individuals who possess decriminalized drugs get arrested and face criminal charges. (UNODC, 2015)
There are many reasons as to why people get addicted to drugs. Most of the drug addicts come.
from homes where they get neglected in their childhoods. These people take drugs in order to suppress their sadness and depression and feel good. A lot of other people especially children think that drinking is fashionable and “cool”. This action further develops itself into addiction to alcohol leading to binge drinking. individuals who frequently binge drink and don’t stop for a long period of time can result in develop different lethal health problems.
Firstly, I will discuss the first perspective that “drugs should be decriminalized”. According to a article written by Adeline Dixon it was reported that in 2016 a 22-year-old woman was charged with manslaughter for killing a man and one of his twin daughters in a car crash while high on legally-purchased marijuana. (Adeline Dixon, 2016) In most states of the US the black-market and illegal selling of drugs is still taking place. However, just because of placing criminal charges on some drugs has reportedly decreased and also eliminated the illegal use of drugs to some extent. Drugs and crime are strongly related. In 1991 the conducted BJS State Correctional Facilities conducted a survey asking prison inmates if they were on of drugs while committing the crime and about 37% of the offenders were reported to have been influenced by a drug (13
(U.S department of justice, 1994). therefore, the decriminalization leads to a decrease in drugrelated gang violence. It is reported to eliminate gangs committing violence too.
Another reason as to why drugs should be decriminalized is the overuse of drugs in Pakistan.
Approximately six per cent of the population, or 6.7 million people had substance including misuse of prescription drugs, in the last year. Also, this is slowly getting out of hand as an estimated 860,000 or 0.8 per cent of the population in Pakistan are regular heroin users and 320,000 (0.3 per cent) are opium users. Combined, 1.06 million people (1.0 per cent of the population aged 15-64 years) are using opiates. (UNODC, 2013)
This case study was collected and presented by dedicated teams of field workers across the country who interviewed approximately 57,000 people. Moreover, this report was a result of a
collaborative research effort between the Government of Pakistan’s Ministry of Interior and Narcotics Control, and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime therefore increasing the reliability of the statistics given.
Not decriminalizing drugs or putting an end to illegal selling of drugs can destroy the community and also the young generation this also effects their relationship with their parents and also ruins their social lives. According to a survey conducted by Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) about 19% of underaged children from 12-20 years have been Drinking alcohol and another 11% was binge drinking (SAMSHA, 2019). In addition, if drugs are easily available, people who have a biological inclination towards drugs will result in them experimenting with drugs without the fear of getting prosecuted or arrested for its
ownership. Decriminalizing drugs has paid off in the Netherlands. Banning illegal selling of heroin and other hard drugs has allowed addicts to be treated as patients. Resulting in very few heroin addicts getting registered in rehabilitation centers, while existing users are supported and have been
helped to get jobs (OECD, 2006). According to an article called ‘What would it look like if
Canada decriminalized all the drugs?’ The decriminalization of drugs in Portugal has bought down the number of people who misused drugs and prevented so many other people from getting blood Bourne infections such as HIV which is common in heroin users who use same needles for injecting the drug. In 2001, 80 people died in Portugal from what the doctor determined it to be a drug-related death. By 2012, that number eventually was down to 16. (Tristin Hopper, 2018) Now I shall talk about why drugs shouldn’t be decriminalized. Despite all the advantages, one of the biggest problem a government approaches while making such changes is expense. It is reported that in 2005 Australia spent an estimate of $432-$707 million per year on drug law
enforcement (Don weatherburn, 2014). all this money could be used in education and hospitals.
Furthermore, Decriminalization of different types of drugs can result in many problems faced in healthcare and hospitals as drugs are extremely common in different treatments and are an important factor. A new survey of research by Lars Osterberg, M.D., a professional teacher at Stanford College discovered that getting a flu shot or vaccination decreases the risk of developing a heart disease or stroke by 48%. Also, a drug called statin can be used to treat people with fatal diseases which could eventually take their life for example heart issues and different types of cancer. By using this drug, the chance of losing their lives by cancer reduced by 15%
compared to those who weren’t taking statins, agreeing to a 2012 Danish study published in the
New England diary of medication. Quite basically, statins are known to reduce the amount of cholesterol within the body, if all drugs are stopped from being sold people would not have access to these drugs and a lot of lives would be lost. A lot of drugs that are considered illegal
and harmful have a lot of advantages and can help save lives including cocaine, which is
considered extremely bad for health if one gets addicted. Cocaine is also used as treatment for
irritable bowel disease and other intestinal dysfunctions.
Metformin is another drug which is commonly used for treatments. Metformin makes a
difference by expanding insulin sensitivity and decreases the liver’s generation of glucose, subsequently bringing down blood sugar levels. A 2012 survey of seven studies published in the journal Breast Cancer Research and Treatment showed that metformin is also connected to lowering the chance of having breast cancer by 17%. Ladies taking metformin for at least three years had a 25 percent lower hazard of developing the cancer just because of their improved insulin reactions within the body. Metformin also results in weight loss, so weight management seems to play a part, as well. (Jessica Girdwain, 2013) Lars Osterberg is a professor of medicine at the Stanford school and is also a co-director of Stanford Medicine Teaching and Mentoring Academy which proves the credibility of the information. (Stanford profiles n.d.) One of the Most popular illegal drugs, in any case, is cocaine. Cocaine is reported to reduce headaches; it was initially used as an ingredient within the refreshment Coca-Cola, before it was made illicit. Another drug, Heroine which is considered illicit is commonly utilized in hospitals,
especially in palliative care. Moreover, a drug called Ketamine Also known as ‘Special K’, this sedate is commonly utilized as a horse tranquilizer. It’s also a frequent option for sedate takers at music celebrations and raves. But a 2012 study found ketamine works well with side effects of chronic sadness or depression. Cannabis or marijuana has long been known to supply torment help for persistent illnesses. With that Cannabis also offers relief from PTSD side effects, controls sickness, and can minimize a few indications of glaucoma and Crohn’s infection (Shami
Sivasubramanian, 2016). Shami Sivasubramanian has worked for Australia’s top broadcasters SBS and ABC, viral news outlet Buzz Feed, and across Australia’s official marketing campaigns making this a reliable source. (LinkedIn, n.d.) In addition, it is reported that about 1.5 million people in the United States in 2013 were arrested
for just a small quantity of drugs (U.S. Department of Justice, 2014). therefore, making drugs legal results in decreasing the costs spent on prisons as the population in the prison decreases. Making drugs legal would eliminate drugs as a type of crime unclogging court system to be much more efficient, because there aren’t enough judges to deal with these crimes on a daily
basis. Acknowledging these facts and statistics I find it rather difficult to seal my personal opinion regarding the topic. Before researching about this topic, I did not realize how much advantages drugs, which have been considered dangerous like cocaine have. Now that I have looked at both perspectives of the argument as to if drugs should or should not be decriminalized or made
illegal. To sum up everything that has been stated so far, I think that drugs should be
decriminalized to some extents as placing restrictions would help a lot. The particular reason for this circumstance is that drugs can have a huge impact on an addict, the addiction can cause a lot of lives to be destroyed including their families. This also leads to a lot of problems including addiction and gang violence threatening many lives, now upon in depth research I found out many advantaged where eliminating these drugs to some extent would give a positive impact and save lives of many people who can’t seem to leave their addiction behind. Furthermore, these people can then go to rehabilitation centers to be treated this would result in improvement of the quality of their lives and the people around them. With this is affect the government can spread awareness and education throughout schools with young children in order to save the future generations from drug abuse and also make them realise that drugs are not always the solution to their sadness or depression. This will hopefully decrease the amounts of deaths and problems caused by drug influence.
1: “Which Countries Have Decriminalized and How?: CityWide – Drugs Crisis Campaign.”
CityWide, 28 Jan. 2020.
2: Kroman, David. Decriminalization of Drug Possession Could Be on WA November Ballot. 2
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ALLIANCE , 2015.
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7: 2018 NSDUH Detailed Tables: Cbhsq Data. www.samhsa.gov/data/report/2018-nsduhdetailed-tables
8:“OECD Annual Report 2006.” OECD Annual Report, 2006, doi:10.1787/annrep-2006-en.
9: Hopper, Tristin. “What Would It Look like If Canada Decriminalized All the Drugs?”
National Post, National Post, 14 Sept. 2018.
10: Weatherburn, Don. The Pros and Cons of Prohibiting Drugs. 2014.
11: Girdwain, Jessica. “Good Drug Side Effects of Your Meds That Can Prevent Cancer,
Improve H…” AARP.
12: “Lars Osterberg, MD, MPH.” Lars Osterberg, MD, MPH’s Profile | Stanford Profiles.
13: “7 Illegal Drugs That Could Be Used in Medicine.” SBS, 20 May 2016.
14: “Shami Sivasubramanian.” LINKEDIN.
15: Carson, E. Ann. “Prisoners in 2013.” US Department of Justice, 30 Sept. 2014.
WRITTEN BY: Nawal Hassan Langrial
(PREVIOUSLY SUBMITTED TO CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY)