The use of drugs for any society can be extremely dangerous and can result in pernicious repercussions for the society and nation as well. According to figures, the use of drugs among persons aged more than 12 is 11.7 percent. In recent years, the use of vaping by youths has also gained attraction. The increased consumption of drugs among the people, especially youth, has effectuated a debate in Texas about what should be the proper course to control this. Some have argued that there is a need to improve policing accompanied by the strict implementation of the law is the proper course to tackle this menace. Also, an illegal that thrives on corruption and malfeasance should be brought under the ambit of the law. Conversely, a counter-argument and a new policy have been put forward that opined decriminalization of drugs is the best possible course to curb this brewing hazard. So, what should be the proper policy? Given that punitive and stringent measures have failed to yield constructive results, it can be argued that decriminalization as a policy tool can be adopted. Moreover, there are other factors that unveil why decriminalization is the most auspicious policy measure to limit drug use.
Drug decriminalization is defined as the policy which will end penalties for using and possessing drugs. Any equipment that can be used to induce intoxication such as a syringe will also not be considered a crime. Moreover, the sale and purchase of drugs at a low level can be allowed and legalized. Firstly, the criminalization of drugs has created an extremely bad stigma and low societal value among those who use drugs. People who tend to consume even a minuscule amount of drugs are sometimes often named regular drug users. People are targeted and are isolated as they are considered bad. Often they are ostracised and lived their life in extreme depression and anxiety. So, what is the upshot of criminalization? The upshot is that it has virtually closed all gates for people who want to rehabilitate and get rid of addiction. The extreme societal stigma is often the major hurdle for people to get admitted to rehabilitation centers as it leads to a lifetime tag. Now, decriminalization will lead to end this societal stigma. As a result, drug users will be encouraged to come out and seek treatment and guidance. The toxic social responses have also been responsible for making people more obstinate to carry on with their drug addiction. So, decriminalization will be an effective tool to minimize the enormous social stigma that has barred people from seeking treatment. As the societal stigma will be more minimized and more people seeking rehabilitation treatment, there is a chance that drug consumption will automatically be curbed (Califano, Joseph).
In 2018, more than 1.8 million drug users were incarcerated in the US. approximately 86 percent of the cases involved minor violations. It implies that people who may be not regularly addicted or use drugs sporadically were targeted. In this instance, often the humiliation that comes as a result of this arrest paves the way for them to become regular customers and consumers. Here, the decriminalization will not allow such irregular drug users to become regular consumers who often use it for just recreation. In this way, minor violations will not lead to hardened criminals.
Moreover, the decriminalization of drugs will relieve the burden on state resources which then can be used in a more effective manner to deal with this situation. For instance, in 2108 it is estimated that more than 30000$ to 35000$ annually goes to arrest drug abusers. Moreover, the arrest of drug users in large numbers also creates a burden on jails and the criminal justice system. Here, the employment of decriminalizing drugs can play an integral role to deal with this situation. It will lower the number of arrested individuals leading to a low burden on state jails and the criminal justice system. More importantly, the state resources that will be saved due to this can be used more propitiously for treating drug addicts. More improved infrastructure and developed technology can be used to build up-to-date rehabilitation centers (Doyle, Kevin). Ergo, drugs should be decriminalized.
Furthermore, due to non-decriminalization, an untaxed drug market exists which generates a handsome amount of revenues. If decriminalization is made, such an illegal market will be legalized leading to tax imposition. So, the state will have another avenue of revenue generation. The state will have more resources to take effective measures. Again, it can be employed for the treatment of drug addicts and can open new employment opportunities where individuals can be employed. Moreover, there is a need to explore the myth that decriminalization of drugs will lead to more drug use and an increased crime rate. However, evidence points to the contrary. Data amassed around the world have revealed that decriminalization is an effective tool to control drug abuse. Take the case study of Portugal. The country decriminalized drugs in 2001. 20 years later, the results are more constructive. The rate of drug use is low compared to other European nations (Ferreira, Susana). So, decriminalization is more effective as it views drug use as a health issue rather than a criminal one.
In Texas, there is another side that has argued that drugs should not be decriminalized. These arguments are put forward by mostly conservative circles in society. Firstly, they have voiced their opinion by saying that the policy of decriminalization will further encourage the use of drugs among people, especially youth. They argue the threat of criminalization is a factor that has barred many people from becoming addicted to drugs. The decriminalization will end these paternalistic measures and will provide leeway t freely consume the drugs. As a result, it will lead to an increase in drug use rather than decreasing it. So, the policy will backfire.
Moreover, they have argued that it will provide full freedom to drug cartels or those persons who are engaged in this business. To further enhance their profit, these cartels will encourage the use of drugs and it will lead to maximization of drug use. Besides this, as the policy will lead to the increased use, it means that society will have to face the worst consequences of these effects. So, it should be not decriminalized.
No doubt that the concerns raised are apt, but the evidence of decriminalization has shown that it has proved effective in limiting the use of drugs and curbing the dangerous influence of drug cartels. As the advantages of this policy outstrip its disadvantages which lead to the conclusion that it should be introduced. Decriminalization is an effective policy measure to curb drug use. It does away with punitive measures and adopts an innovative approach to tackle this menace. More importantly, it can provide additional revenues that can be used more productively.References:
- Califano Jr, Joseph A. “Should drugs be decriminalized?” February 2008
- Doyle, Kevin. “Decriminalization could help ease the nation’s drug epidemic, but the devil is in the details.” November 2020
- Ferreira, Susana. “Portugal’s radical drugs policy is working. Why hasn’t the world copied it?” December 2017 .