Proponents of drug legalization are wrong to argue that legalizing drugs will eliminate crime and violence surrounding the illegal drug trade.
Some argue that because drugs are illegal, addicts are treated as criminals rather than as individuals who need help. The solution to the drug problem, however, is not legalization since legalizing drugs will almost certainly increase their use. Drug-related crimes may decrease with legalization but other crimes, especially violent crimes, may increase. In addition, many experts believe a black market for drugs will persist even with legalization. Experiments with the decriminalization of drugs have failed, and the health care system continues to be overwhelmed by drug users. Because legalizing drugs will not reduce crime, the focus needs to be on changing public attitudes toward drugs and on prevention and treatment. Effective prevention requires a comprehensive approach that promotes negative attitudes toward drug use. The message that drugs are destructive and cannot be tolerated must be communicated clearly and consistently.
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Opposing Viewpoints Series