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Debate Info

104
26
Health Problem Criminal Problem
Debate Score:130
Arguments:34
Total Votes:153
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 Health Problem (26)
 
 Criminal Problem (8)

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ChronicHipie(33) pic



Drug Abuse: Criminal Problem or Health Problem?

Dealing with non-violent drug offenders

Health Problem

Side Score: 104
VS.

Criminal Problem

Side Score: 26
9 points
Today we treat our non-violent drug users, like we treat violent offenders. Police spend the majority of their time tracking down and arresting users of drugs who have no prior criminal records. While these people may* pose a danger to themselves, they do not pose a danger to the general public. The cost of housing one inmate is 30,000 dollars per year. This money should be "re-invested," in social services for drug abusers and laws that pursue non-violent drug users busted for possession only, should be lifted. This is not an issue of criminality but of health. We do not arrest people at the door to McDonald's or for buying a pack of cigarettes because those are issues of public health NOT criminality. We are locking up peaceful individuals plagued by addiction in cages, when they deserve and need proper medical care.
Side: Health Problem
8 points
Fantastic point Chronic Hippie (haha thats sound like an oxymoron), non-violent drug offenders account for more the 1/3 of our prison population (which is the highest in the world), the problem with the drug wars is that we assume that people who use drugs are criminal by nature. We are jailing these people and setting them up to commit more crimes when they come out. Furthermore, to make room for our growing prison population we release pedifiles and rapist before non-violent drug offenders. It seems to me that tax money should be heavily invested in Rehab instead of jailing users who are physically addicted. We are only as strong as our weakest link. This hard nosed approach never seems to work. Look what the death penalty has gotten us...we live in a country with one of the highest murder rates in the world.
SIDE NOTE: Chronic Hippie...I have already heard talk of making cigerettes illegal...and while I dont smoke and hate cigerettes, I think that is an absurb idea.
Side: Health Problem
8 points
Drugs are here and they're not going to leave... ever. It is human nature to experiment in all areas of life including alternate forms of consciousness. Whether it's a cancer patient taking a pain killer or a temporary shaman delving into an ayahuasca dream, it's a fact that well over half our country's population has experimented with one form of illegal drug in their lifetime. Essentially the American government has criminalized most of their population. This is the worst thing a Democracy could ever do. That being said, we need to progressively think about our drug policy. Stages of legality isn't the answer for how to deal with drug users. I believe that the only way to cure the drug epidemic, that is, stopping problematic drug use, is to adopt a harm reduction policy similar to Switzerland's. If an individual is addicted to a particular substance it should be within reason and law for a doctor to prescribe the abuser their drug, in declining increments. These declining increments will progressively allow the user to manage their rate of use with the ultimate goal of ending dependence all together. This will help society in the long run by reducing the number of recurring addicts and social users. Drug use will fade out or become viewed as something done on a rare occasion in the safety of one's own household without disturbing others. There is a considerable amount of trust that has to be placed in your fellow man for this system to work but I believe one day in the future it won't be a problem. I also retain the belief that it should continue to be the policy of the US government to criminalize those who use drugs and operate machinery simultaneously or simply put, those who endanger the well being of others while under the influence.
Supporting Evidence: Swiss drug policy (www.parl.gc.ca)
Side: Health Problem
7 points
Read Terence McKenna's "Food of the Gods;" He has a couple of half-baked ideas in there, but a lot of it is incontrovertible. Drugs have been with us for thousands of years, and may actually be the "missing link" responsible for making our survival dependent less on force and more on linguistic and technological superiority. He offers a compelling postulation on the unexplained tripling of our brain size that coincides with the beginning of our use of psilocybin mushrooms. Mind you, that's the most rapid growth of any complex organ. Ever. In the history of Earth's evolution.
Side: Health Problem
7 points
Undoubtedly, drugs played a role in our evolution as both a species and as societies. Up until the 1900's, many of the illicit drugs of today were used as cures for ailments. Marijuana has over 5000 years of recorded use without a single overdose. While not all of the things we put in our body are good, it's hard to argue with a record like that. Nevertheless, it is the governmental policies that need to be reformed in order to De-criminalize drugs. Drugs themselves do not breed criminality. It is only when we are not given the freedom of choice, that crime follows. The prohibition of alcohol is a perfect example of even law-abiding citizen turning to crime ( moonshine and speakeasy patronage) when their ability to chose was infringed upon. The war on drugs has wasted billions of dollars, countless lives, it has ravaged our ghettos, and punished minorities. This is a war not on drugs, but on the poor. These laws were crafted to put the lower class in prison while turning a blind eye to more important social ills. I urge everyone to write their congressman/woman and voice your opinion on the UN-winnable war on drugs.
Side: Health Problem
pvtNobody(645) Disputed
0 points
I disagree, the war isn't on the poor, it's on a sin perceived by lawmakers. Whether drugs are morally wrong is null. Again I disagree with your conclusion that crime is a result of limited "freedom." Crime has always existed and always will. Crime is a result of people being too lazy to work for things they want. Drugs are a way to escape from reality, a way to deny their problems or to "just feel good." I'm not saying that the use of drugs is wrong I am merely trying to point out the reasoning for the law.
Additionally a person high of stoned is a threat to the rest of society. Look at drunk driving, judgment is impaired as much or more by any other drug as it is by alcohol. In 2006 13,470 people died as a result of drunk driving, and that's only from 22 states. That's also not counting the number of people killed while being high on marijuana or any other illegal substance. In short, drugs are a danger to society.
As for minorities and poverty stricken areas, as far as I'm concerned this is just one more argument to try and make white males feel guilty for laziness. Minorities that truly want to make something of their lives do, nobody can keep them from succeeding...except of course themselves. Just look at Colin Powell for an example of how a person can rise above racism. Druggies are druggies because they choose to be, not because they are poor or a minority. Maybe if they spent some of that time and money on education and finding a job they wouldn't be so poor.
Supporting Evidence: Drunken Driving Deaths Up in 22 States (www.usatoday.com)
Side: Criminal Problem
6 points
If drug abuse wasn't a health problem , what would be the point of criminalizing it ?
No point right ?
So it's definitely a health problem, the question is if the criminalization helps solving the problem. Simply thinking of the story about the forbidden fruit makes me already doubt that.
Any sane person can come to the conclusion that the forbidding of drugs is the only real criminal act but as it is done by governments, people are just too afraid to admit it's a wrong law and stand up against it.
Side: Health Problem
1 point

I'm not afraid to admit it, that drug laws are doing more harm that good. My family knows that, my friends know that and my congressman knows that.

Side: Health Problem
4 points
Speaking from personal observation and experience, the "War On Drugs" as it regards marijuana use is not working. It has NOT reduced the number of people who experiment with pot. One of its effects is the rise in the cost of a bag of pot to the point where "drug cartels" are getting rich and flourishing, and crooked enforcement agents are "in on it".
Side: Health Problem
3 points

I would say both. Despite all the criticism, I argue our justice system has done a halfway decent job to date on managing this problem that will never go away.

Side: Health Problem
3 points

Drug abuse is a health problem that can be treated.

We should not incarcerate drug abusers.

Instead, we should legalize and regulate illicit drugs.

Side: Health Problem
2 points

Criminal is a drug dealer, drug user is a disease read up on it ppl

Read the question DRUG ABUSE!!!

First time could be criminal...cause ur not addicted yet, after that it becomes the disease and most ppl that get introuble that are users get rehab etc

NEXt!

Side: Health Problem
1 point
Oh, and apparently the CIA really is selling cocaine in the US. Just thought you'd like to know. It's a brilliant scheme, of course. Drugs are cheap to make, but they're extremely expensive because they're illegal. Effects of this: Criminal cartels get extremely rich. You know all those unsolved, unexplainable murders in NYC and LA? 90% of those are gang initiations: kill a person, you're in. How do gangstas make their money? Selling drugs. Selling guns to protect drug-selling. So there's our crime problem. Remind you of Prohibition, much?
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Now, here's that evidence you were about to ask for:
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http://www.narconews.com/Issue48/article2941.html
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http://www.dailykos.com/story/2007/12/12/19210/608/933/420107
Mind you, this jet was headed towards the US.
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So did the Mainstream Media report it? Hah, of course not.
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Another tidbit: the average drug user: lower-class, ethnic? Nope. Middle- to Upper-class white. Not only are drugs a healthy source of profit, they also happen to help our racist government ensure that white stays on top.
Side: Health Problem
pvtNobody(645) Disputed
3 points
So your links don't work and how does upper-middle class people spending gross amounts of money to get high perpetuate racism and class distinction? Shouldn't it have the opposite effect, allowing hard working minorities and lower class workers to work up the ladder while idiotic white males sit around with their eyes glazed over? Oh that's right, everything is always the white male's fault regardless of how much they bend over backwards.
Side: Criminal Problem
HGrey87(750) Disputed
2 points

Sorry about the links. Just google CIA Jet Cocaine, and it'll be easy to find. And it's not about the upper-middle class itself. It's the fact that police disproportionately target the lower-class.

-

You're talking out your ass about drugs, aren't you? It doesn't sound like you're very experienced with them. They don't necessarily make you an unproductive person. Some do, of course. Such as crack, which is sold almost exclusively to poor minorities. It's a lower concentration than powdered cocaine, yet carries much harsher sentences. This is common knowledge in this country, yet little is done to fix it.

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Uh, yes. It is the white man's fault.

Side: Criminal Problem

'It's war on the streets & the war in the Middle East

Instead of war on poverty they got a war on drugs

so the police can bother me'

- 2PAC in "changes"

you gotta believe someone smart enough to fake their own death and get away with it is a pretty smart dude, i'm with him.

Supporting Evidence: the rest of the lyrics (www.azlyrics.com)
Side: Health Problem
1 point

It must be health problem, specifically can lead to mental issues, but along this, they must have criminal liabilities. Using of prohibited drugs are against the law.

Supporting Evidence: www.acneproductsreview.org (www.acneproductsreview.org)
Side: Health Problem
1 point
Drug use is illegal because of "sin" laws made years ago. Like prohibition they are largely a result of lobby pressure in the past. Personally I think that drugs should be legalized, for the most part drug users do not hurt people, not any more than drunk driving and if a person wants to commit suicide by OD more power to them, one more bum off the street. Just so long as the government doesn't have to pay to try and "rehabilitate" them, as if they aren't perfectly capable of grasping the eventual consequences of drug use.
But the law is the law, it should be enforced to its full extent. Laws regarding drug use should be more strict if they are going to exist. Punishment should be more extreme and the prisons shouldn't be more comfortable than much of the outside world. Reduce the prisoner's comforts, they don't need cable, they don't need AC. They did the crime, now they should do the time. If you don't want to stare at the same four walls for twenty-four hours a day maybe you shouldn't break the law. As for social services, you can't force a person to quit, they have to decided that on their own.
Side: Criminal Problem
ChronicHipie(33) Disputed
7 points
Rehabilitation efforts would not force a person to quit, but simply make information about addiction and support services more easily available in impoverished areas. I disagree that stricter laws would reduce drug use/abuse at all, in fact it would only serve to put even more people in prison for a longer period of time and divert more policemen from the work of catching more important offenders. We have tried to regulate drug abuse/crime using laws and the results have been disastrous. Rates of substance abuse are high, rates of drug related crime are high, and the ages of first time users continue to drop. Harsher laws would demolish an already broken system, flood prisons with inmates that they do not have space to house, and cost us even more money. In contrast, social services will in the long run be cheaper, produce better results, and take bad politics out of a public health problem. As for punishing people who "do the crime," with substandard prison conditions, that is completely inhumane. People convicted of possession for personal use are put in prison when they pose no threat to society at large. I hardly think making their cages a little more uncomfortable is an appropriate response to non-violent citizens. We are not talking about murders or rapists, we are talking about pot smokers and heroin addicts who's only crime was being in the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong vice. The difference between you on the corner with a cigarette and the crack addict on the corner with a crack pipe, is the result of lobby pressure dictating civil liberties. We are not allowed to chose what goes into our bodies, if it is classified as someone's subjective version of "sin," and "danger." Where is the crime in that? And how in the world does that merit sub-standard prison conditions?
Side: Health Problem
pvtNobody(645) Disputed
0 points
You call them sub-standard prison conditions, I call them a deterrent. I don't necessarily agree that the laws are right, but we need to enforce them until they are removed. Getting the word out about drugs has been occurring for years now and I very much doubt if a single student makes it through high school without being told at least ten times the dangers of drug use. Prisons are crowded because prisons are not sufficiently ominous to prevent crime. It's that simple. Millions of people survive around the world without "basic necessities" like cable and Internet access. Why should prison be as comfortable as the outside world? Finally the law is the law, doing drugs is against the law and should be severely discouraged.
Side: Health Problem
Loudacris(913) Disputed
5 points

Treating drug use as a criminal offense is abominable from a financial perspective.

According to the Prometheus Institute:

Jeffery A. Miron finds that by decriminalizing cannabis, the federal government would generate $2.4 billion in federal tax revenue annually, and that an additional $7.7 billion would be saved as the cost of incarceration, policing, and processing offenders.

Supporting Evidence: Don't Arrest, Invest! (theprometheusinstitute.org)
Side: Health Problem
2 points

This debate has become the bane of my CreateDebate existence.

Side: Criminal Problem
-2 points
Blacklaser(56) Disputed
2 points

This problem would be largely eliminated if drug use was legal and much more freely available. If not completely eliminated, at least reduced to such levels as this behavior applies to addicts of legal drugs such as alcohol, medication, etc.

Side: Health Problem
bennig(29) Disputed
2 points

Is that really a proven FACT? Could you please cite that?

Even if that is statistically true, I could just as easily argue that people who are criminals, tend to ignore the law. (that is a fact, see the dictionary) And, being people who tend to ignore the law, they are also more likely to do illegal drugs. So rather than concluding that drugs create criminals, you could conclude that criminals are more likely to use drugs.

This argument extends to "pot makes you lazy, even when you are not high" as well. Perhaps people who are lazy tend to look for an easy thrill. Marijuana, is not only easy to procure, and consume, but the drug relaxes you, so the high itself is easy. So, perhaps people who are lazy are more likely to smoke marijuana, since the type of fun that it provides is congruent to their personalities.

Side: Health Problem