Debate/Topics/Drug Prohibition

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Drug prohibition is a set of policies which outlaw the possession, use, manufacture and/or distribution of drugs. In most countries, prohibited drugs include heroin, cocaine, marijuana and LSD.

Supporters believe that drug prohibition is a morally acceptable and/or efficacious way to reduce drug abuse
Opponents believe drug prohibition is a morally unacceptable and/or ineffective way to reduce drug abuse

Both of these positions rely on the premise that drug abuse is harmful to the individual abusers and/or society in general.

Arguments in support[edit]

Crime[edit]

Drug prohibition reduces the rates of drug addiction and thus reduces drug-related crime such as robbery.

This argument relies on the assumption that drug prohibition has reduced drug abuse.
This argument relies on the assumption that drug addiction causes crime drug abuse.

Marketing[edit]

Legalized drugs would be sold by large corporations that may use irresponsible advertising to encourage risky and addictive behaviors.

Counterpoint[edit]

Prohibited drugs are currently sold by black market distributors who do not monitor purity and resort to outright violence in trade disputes, in addition to promoting their product to non-users. Corporations could be more easily held to standards of purity and ethical conduct than a vast network of black market distributors.

Socialist view[edit]

Legalized drugs could be produced and managed by the state and done in such a manner as to eliminate advertising and reduce overall use.

Protect individuals[edit]

Drug abuse causes harm to the individuals and their family and friends, and society in general. It is the responsibility of the government to prevent that.

This argument relies on the premise that drug abuse is harmful to the individual abusers and/or society in general.
This argument relies on the premise that the government has the right and responsibility to limit individual rights in this case.
This argument relies on the assumption that drug prohibition has reduced drug abuse.

Setting an example[edit]

Allowing the legal use of drugs like heroin and cocaine will provide a negative role model for children and thus cause an increase in drug abuse.

This argument relies on the factual claim that legalizing drugs will cause an increase in drug abuse.

Argument in opposition[edit]

Black Market[edit]

Black Market: the trade in prohibited goods

Much of the harm caused by drug abuse comes from the unregulated market for drugs. There is no legal incentive for manufacturers and distributors to ensure the safety of their product or rely on honest, peaceful transactions with customers and rivals. If drugs were legalized, this black market would disappear, reducing the funding considerably for organized crime including terrorism, Mafia and street gangs.

This argument relies on the claim that organized crime is funded by the drug trade.

Drug costs[edit]

Legalizing drugs would drastically reduce their cost. Thus, addicts could afford their habit without resorting to violence and robbery.

Efficacy[edit]

Because drug prohibition has not proven effective in reducing the rate of drug abuse, it is time to try a different approach, such as a wide variety of harm reduction proposals.

This argument relies on the claim that drug prohibition has not reduced drug abuse rates.

Personal freedom[edit]

The government does not have the right to limit a person's choices regarding drug use.

Racism[edit]

Drug prohibition was founded based on racism, and remains racist in practice.

This argument relies on the premise that drug prohibition policies are racist in implementation and design.

Tax revenue[edit]

Legalizing drugs would grant a major new stream of tax revenue for the government.