This nation’s so-called war on drugs has been a miserable failure.

It hasn’t’worked. The drug problem is getting worse. I think it is the number one problem facingthis country today.

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I think that we as people and our politicians really need to put all ofour options into perspective, and one of the things we need to talk about isdecriminilization. Common sense or logic would dictate that when you take this issue on, when youtalk about legalization or decriminalization, if you are going to talk about that, you aregoing to have to talk about taking it in steps, and certainly the first step would bemarijuana. All of us can make a list out of friends that have used drugs. Are our friendscriminals for using drugs? Yes, they are today given the laws that we have.

Should theybe criminals? Are they criminals? For the most part, no they are not. We are talking aboutfederal law, and I see this as a national issue which is an extremely tough issue withpoliticians. There isn’t a bigger taboo topic because if you’re going to talk aboutlegalization, you’re talking about making it readily available for kids, but I read in a pollthat 95 percent of kids in high school say illegal drugs are readily available. I know this isa fact because I once was a high school student and had the unfortunate experience to seethis all around me. I don’t know how it gets more readily available than that. I’m notadvocating breaking the law, but personally, I don’t think you should go to jail forsmoking marijuana. I think 75 percent of the people in this country would say, no, youshouldn’t go to jail for smoking marijuana.

700,000 Americans are in jail or prison on drug related charges. That issomething I have a problem with and think we as people and a democratic country issomething we need to deal with. I am very confused about this issue and I am deeplyconcerned and feel this is something that needs to be dealt with and handled properlyaccording to the facts. I am talking about legalization and decriminalization, but I’mdefinitely not condoning drug use. From what I know and what I see as an Americancitizen on a day to day basis it seems like there is no political support and no one is tryingto do anything about it.

We’re spending more and we’re locking more people up for druguse in today’s society which is a definite cause of the overcrowded prisons in our country.Personally, I have a fundamental problem with putting people in jail for drug use. Ibelieve it is more of a health issue than a criminal issue. Legalization is a viablealternative to what we are doing now, marijuana or heroin becomes a controlledsubstance like tobacco or alcohol. Legalization will involve a whole new set of lawswhich could create a whole new set of problems. But I think those problems will be halfof what they are today. I hate to say it, but the majority of people who use drugs use themresponsibly.

They choose when to do it. They do them at home. It’s not a financialburden. I was somebody who smoked marijuana. I made a bad choice. But I still feel itshouldn’t have landed me in jail. I was brought up learning that drugs make you crazy.

Then I did marijuana for the first time, and thought it wasn’t so bad. It was kind of cool.That’s when you find out that anti-drug education efforts have been a lie and you loosefaith in the system.Other than current and former drug czars, it is hard to find someone to praise theamerican drug policy. While pointing to the overall decline in illicit drug use in the U.

S.since 1980, those inclined to defend this policy must also acknowledge constant levels ofaddiction and intensive usage, periodic rises in adolescent drug use, the readily availableand inexpensive illegal supplies of cocaine, heroin, and marijuana, historically highprison populations, continued drug related social problems ( most notably AIDS andhepatitis), along with the tremendous economic, social, and emotional costs of an everescalating war on drugs. At one point, the focus of critics of drug policy was legalization-primarily of marijuana- and was associated mainly with community researchers whostudied drug users in the field and were joined by a vocal group of drug enthusiasts.Although some preleminary steps were taken in this direction at the state level and bynational commisions in the 1970’s, this stance was largely polemic and quixotic, and hascontinued to be so in the U.S. At the same time there has always been a category ofpublic health critics who decried the lack of focus on treatment of addiction.

However, begining in the late 1980’s, drug policy reformers started to findlegitimate national voices in Europe and, to a lesser extent, in the United States. Thisloosely organized group of policy critics began to focus on decriminalization of all drugsor just “soft” drugs such as marijuana, as was tried in several states in the U.S. in the1970’s. Typically, decriminalization means not permitting legal sales of drugs, butdealing with users by other criminal sanctions. Now that we are in the 21st century, thisposition has taken a number of new directions in the U.

S. Widespread support formedical use of marijuana has been expressed in electoral iniatiatives. The term “harmreduction” is now commonly used to describe policies to recognize and accept thecontinued use of drugs by many people and to prevent harms from this use, particularythe spread of AIDS. Needle exchange programs, as well as as reducing HIV infection,keep addicts healthier in general and offer them positive connections in society.In conclusion, it is very hard to say what side I am on in the decriminalization ofdrugs. There is so many positive positive points for either side, but I would have to saythat I am for the decriminalization because I think it would generate massive amounts ofmoney to get people with drug addictions the help they needed. I think we need toaddress this issue as a health one and not a criminal issue.

We need to put more moneyand effort into educating our children on the harm drugs can portray on your health andon your life. I think that role models and kids parents need to express better values on lifeand drug use. I feel people that kids look up that use drugs is the major problem with kidstrying drugs then starting to abuse them. We as a country need to focus on getting thisproblem solved because it obviously just hasn’t been working. We shouldn’t have todepend on politicians to get this settled, but that looks like what were going to have todo, but we as people can still make a difference and that’s were the effort has to start.

This nation’s so-called war on drugs has been a miserable failure. It hasn’t’worked. The drug problem is getting worse. I think it is the number one problem facingthis country today.

I think that we as people and our politicians really need to put all ofour options into perspective, and one of the things we need to talk about isdecriminilization. Common sense or logic would dictate that when you take this issue on, when youtalk about legalization or decriminalization, if you are going to talk about that, you aregoing to have to talk about taking it in steps, and certainly the first step would bemarijuana. All of us can make a list out of friends that have used drugs. Are our friendscriminals for using drugs? Yes, they are today given the laws that we have. Should theybe criminals? Are they criminals? For the most part, no they are not. We are talking aboutfederal law, and I see this as a national issue which is an extremely tough issue withpoliticians.

There isn’t a bigger taboo topic because if you’re going to talk aboutlegalization, you’re talking about making it readily available for kids, but I read in a pollthat 95 percent of kids in high school say illegal drugs are readily available. I know this isa fact because I once was a high school student and had the unfortunate experience to seethis all around me. I don’t know how it gets more readily available than that. I’m notadvocating breaking the law, but personally, I don’t think you should go to jail forsmoking marijuana. I think 75 percent of the people in this country would say, no, youshouldn’t go to jail for smoking marijuana.700,000 Americans are in jail or prison on drug related charges.

That issomething I have a problem with and think we as people and a democratic country issomething we need to deal with. I am very confused about this issue and I am deeplyconcerned and feel this is something that needs to be dealt with and handled properlyaccording to the facts. I am talking about legalization and decriminalization, but I’mdefinitely not condoning drug use. From what I know and what I see as an Americancitizen on a day to day basis it seems like there is no political support and no one is tryingto do anything about it.

We’re spending more and we’re locking more people up for druguse in today’s society which is a definite cause of the overcrowded prisons in our country.Personally, I have a fundamental problem with putting people in jail for drug use. Ibelieve it is more of a health issue than a criminal issue.

Legalization is a viablealternative to what we are doing now, marijuana or heroin becomes a controlledsubstance like tobacco or alcohol. Legalization will involve a whole new set of lawswhich could create a whole new set of problems. But I think those problems will be halfof what they are today. I hate to say it, but the majority of people who use drugs use themresponsibly. They choose when to do it.

They do them at home. It’s not a financialburden. I was somebody who smoked marijuana.

I made a bad choice. But I still feel itshouldn’t have landed me in jail. I was brought up learning that drugs make you crazy.Then I did marijuana for the first time, and thought it wasn’t so bad. It was kind of cool.That’s when you find out that anti-drug education efforts have been a lie and you loosefaith in the system.Other than current and former drug czars, it is hard to find someone to praise theamerican drug policy.

While pointing to the overall decline in illicit drug use in the U.S.since 1980, those inclined to defend this policy must also acknowledge constant levels ofaddiction and intensive usage, periodic rises in adolescent drug use, the readily availableand inexpensive illegal supplies of cocaine, heroin, and marijuana, historically highprison populations, continued drug related social problems ( most notably AIDS andhepatitis), along with the tremendous economic, social, and emotional costs of an everescalating war on drugs. At one point, the focus of critics of drug policy was legalization-primarily of marijuana- and was associated mainly with community researchers whostudied drug users in the field and were joined by a vocal group of drug enthusiasts.Although some preleminary steps were taken in this direction at the state level and bynational commisions in the 1970’s, this stance was largely polemic and quixotic, and hascontinued to be so in the U.S. At the same time there has always been a category ofpublic health critics who decried the lack of focus on treatment of addiction.

However, begining in the late 1980’s, drug policy reformers started to findlegitimate national voices in Europe and, to a lesser extent, in the United States. Thisloosely organized group of policy critics began to focus on decriminalization of all drugsor just “soft” drugs such as marijuana, as was tried in several states in the U.S. in the1970’s. Typically, decriminalization means not permitting legal sales of drugs, butdealing with users by other criminal sanctions.

Now that we are in the 21st century, thisposition has taken a number of new directions in the U.S. Widespread support formedical use of marijuana has been expressed in electoral iniatiatives. The term “harmreduction” is now commonly used to describe policies to recognize and accept thecontinued use of drugs by many people and to prevent harms from this use, particularythe spread of AIDS. Needle exchange programs, as well as as reducing HIV infection,keep addicts healthier in general and offer them positive connections in society.In conclusion, it is very hard to say what side I am on in the decriminalization ofdrugs.

There is so many positive positive points for either side, but I would have to saythat I am for the decriminalization because I think it would generate massive amounts ofmoney to get people with drug addictions the help they needed. I think we need toaddress this issue as a health one and not a criminal issue. We need to put more moneyand effort into educating our children on the harm drugs can portray on your health andon your life. I think that role models and kids parents need to express better values on lifeand drug use. I feel people that kids look up that use drugs is the major problem with kidstrying drugs then starting to abuse them.

We as a country need to focus on getting thisproblem solved because it obviously just hasn’t been working. We shouldn’t have todepend on politicians to get this settled, but that looks like what were going to have todo, but we as people can still make a difference and that’s were the effort has to start.

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