Monday, September 13, 2010

Should addiction be legalized?

September 12, 2010 - By Hataw Sarkawt

Millions of addicts around the world pay heavily for the consequences of their addictions. However, addicts are not the only ones who pay for their addictions, often with physical and psychological ailments; non addicts also indirectly pay for the consequences of the addicts’ choices. Addictive drugs tend to become a refuge for people who can not solve their inner turmoil with the natural methods available to humanity. Addictive substances are as numerous as the religions around the world. For the purpose of this essay I will focus on three prevalent ones, alcohol, marijuana, and cocaine.

Alcohol much like Christianity has been an integral part of American culture for many centuries. Many people use it in the privacy of their own homes while enjoying the company of their friends and family members and most use it with care and moderation. However, just as excessive use of alcohol can be harmful, leading to physical and psychological damage as well as interpersonal conflicts, misunderstanding and abuse of Christian teachings, has led to some bigoted views and violent hate crimes against non-believers.

Alcohol is deeply integrated in American culture, having seen only a brief period of prohibition in the early 1900s which was quickly overturned because the progressive thinking of the time was that people should be free to do what they want in the privacy of their own homes. Marijuana is currently going through a similar process in the United States. Its integration in American society resembles the one of Judaism in the main US culture. While Jews have historically been discriminated against both in America and around the world, the bigoted attitudes towards the Jewish community have substantially diminished and they are an integral part of US culture. Marijuana users similarly complain that they are being discriminated against and argue that their drug of choice should be legalized.

Cocaine has a long way to go to catch up with alcohol and marijuana. While addicts of alcohol and marijuana tend to primarily risk their own health, it is a general perception that cocaine addicts tend to become aggressive and sometimes put other people at risk. Just as cocaine addicts can become violent and hurt others as a result of their addiction, a religious fanatic can destroy the lives of innocent people as a result of their overvalued ideas, as seen in the September 11th attacks.

Today there are thousands of liquor stores around the country and some marijuana clinics in a few cities. Imagine if cocaine addicts argued that they are being discriminated against and requested a cocaine center in New York to prove that they are not causing harm to anyone. While liberals would tend to support the arguments of cocaine addicts, some angry liquor store owners would suggest burning all the manuals of cocaine production to prevent the growth of their competitor.

It is unclear, if the damages of all addictive drugs are the same. A scientific study is needed to investigate the risks and benefits of all addictive substances and let the people of New York decide how to respond to the request of the cocaine addicts.

Meanwhile, every step should to be taken that addicts do not impose their values on others. If they have to use their drug of choice, it is better to use it in the safety of their own homes and not make their issue a public concern.