Drug Policy Colloquium Reflection
The war on drugs and the violence that comes with it has always brought around a hot debate about drug legalization. The amount of violence that is associated with drugs is a result from harsher drug laws and prohibition.
The business of buying and selling drugs comes with high transactions costs. The dealer cannot risk being caught or scammed so he buys a gun to defend himself from the police and other dealers. The buyer of the drugs does not to be killed for his money if the dealer gets greedy so he buys a gun for himself. Now we have two people that if it came down to it, would kill for their crack rocks. Also, if a buyer got a bad crack rock or got less than he paid for, he cannot go the police or file a complaint. He must take matters into his own hands resulting in violence. If drugs were legalized, they would be safer in the sense that the crack-head that needs his daily crack rock would not have to deal directly with dangerous drug dealers and criminals and risk getting shot for his money. Instead, he can go down to the local "drug store" and get his drugs safely.
Drugs will even become safer for those who are willing to use them. Government regulations on drug quality will make the drugs more pure, and potent, taking the harmful additives that some drug makers put in. Like cigarettes, warnings would probably be posted on drug packages stating "The use of crack may be harmful to your health." As well as on windows of the stores that sells the drugs. An age limit to buy drugs would probably be 21. Clean, sterile needles would also be provided to heroin users and stop the spread of diseases such as AIDS from contaminated and dirty needles.
I think that if drugs were legalized, use of legal drugs would tend to rise because it would be easier to obtain them and it may encourage people to try them out. However, the increase would only be for a short time period. In the long run, drug use would decrease because all the users that are using more drugs because they are easier to get would overdose and kill themselves and set an example for other people thinking about trying drugs. Another reason why drug use would decrease is that the reason why some people use drugs is because they are illegal. Once you take away the fun of breaking the law, people would not be as inclined to try drugs. If you look at the use of alcohol and tobacco, their use has decreased because people are more aware of the risks involved. This may also apply to drugs.
Some people who might be opposed to the legalization of drugs would be drug enforcement because the officers who specialize in restricting the distribution of drugs would be out of a job. Parents would also probably like drugs to stay illegal for their children's sake. The harder it is to get them, the better. I personally disagree. After reading all of this about drugs and learning that the violence that is associated with drugs stems from the prohibition of them, I am beginning to think that legalization may be a good thing for society.