A Christians Call to End the War on Drugs
(Repost from over a year ago)
According to government estimates, our “war on drugs” has killed over 70,000 innocent mexican citizens (as of June 2013). The Mexican government claims there is a killing every half hour.
The Drug War has killed an unknown number of innocent Americans as well (via drug related crimes, etc.).
It is time that we end the war on drugs. We had no moral grounds to start it in the first place, and tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of people have died because of it. Why? What trophy are we trying to win that is so valuable that it warrants such violence and death?
Most of the dark things that we associate with drug use do not come from drugs themselves. They exist because we have pushed drug use into the criminal world. This is a world vacant of law and order. People can only get drugs can from criminals.
If someone wants drugs, they will get them, but they will pay a drug cartel for them. These are the very people who kill innocent people every day. Our laws force billions of dollars into the hands of murders, rapists, and thugs every year. That should give us pause.
If we decriminalized drug use, we would destroy this entire criminal world just as it did after prohibition.
Drug users will still use drugs, but they will no longer be financing a world of crime by doing so. Instead, we could tax them just like we do alcohol and cigarettes. Then those dollars would fund police, fire, roads, military defense, and our justice system. Instead financing crime, it would make our country safer.
Most Americans want drugs outlawed because they feel that drugs are a cancer to society. People fear that if we legalize drugs, our society will spiral into darkness and debauchery.
But this fear is based on the lie that our laws have curbed drug use in our society. They are not. People are still using drugs. The only effect our laws have had is pushing drug use into the criminal world. The drug war is filling up our prisons and burdening our law enforcement agencies. They are making this country less safe.
If we decriminalized drug use, society will not spiral out of control. We will instead see it for what actually is.
Furthermore, God nor nature never gave us the right to tell another person how to live their life.
As I have laid out in other posts, legalizing something doesn’t mean we as a country are endorsing that activity. It means that we recognize people have a right to live their own lives however they see fit. Even if we do not agree with their choices.
As long as their choices don’t violate the lives of others (via theft, assault, rape, etc…), we have no right to intervene. They are still their choices to make, not ours. Can you imagine a world where the government dictated everything we did “because it was in our best interest”? It sounds like 1984, yet this is the same reasoning that leads many to support our current drug laws.
When did God say, “You may tell My children how to live their lives”? When did nature grant some the right to dictate the lives of others? If we are going to outlaw drugs, what else do we outlaw? Adultery? Lying? Cheating? Language we find offensive? Who gets to decide what is right and wrong?
All laws should have one purpose: to protect the rights of people to live their lives how ever they see fit – so long as they do not violate the rights of others. That is it. Otherwise we have partnered with the same philosophy that empowers tyranny.
Prohibition As An Example
During prohibition, tens of thousands of people died in our war on alcohol. Most of us look back on prohibition as a waste of time, resources, and lives. But the arguments that established prohibition are the same arguments we use today to justify our drug laws. They are bad for society. They lead to worse crime. They tear families apart. They destroy lives. All of this is true. But prohibition shows us that laws do not help the alliviate the problem. They make it worse.
Some time ago I was watching the movie Lawless with some friends (it is set during prohibition). After an excessively violent scene of the police busting a distillery, a friend of mine leaned over and asked, “Isn’t it crazy to think all of this was over alcohol?!?!” To which I responded, “Yes it is, but how is this any different than our current drug laws?”
I am not a fan of drugs. I think drugs destroy lives. But I do not believe I have the right to tell others that they cannot consume them. That is their choice. Nor do I believe my personal likes/dislikes alone are worth the tens of thousands of lives that have been sacrificed in the cross-fire.
And finally, history and current facts show that these laws don’t work. We need a better way.
A World With Legal Drugs
If we were to decriminalize drugs, what would that look like? Would see people smoking a joint or shooting up heroine on street corners? Would they come to work drugged out? Absolutely not.
We would regulate their use just like any other intoxicating substance.
Most states have “public indecency” laws that prohibit excessive intoxication in public places. This is because one persons choices have started to affect those around them, and people don’t want that. It would be the same with drugs.
Furthermore, most businesses have a “no alcohol” policy, and it would be the same with drug use. You show up high (or drunk), and you lose your job. Businesses could still give drug tests for employment purposes if they wanted.
We would also have laws against driving under the influence of all intoxicating substances.
Society would continue to function just like it does today. Except that thousands of people wouldn’t die in this useless “war.” Billions of dollars wouldn’t fund the criminal underworld. And our justice system wouldn’t be clogged with pointless drug-related violations.
And End To Drug War
I am calling for the complete dismantling of our drug war. Morally we don’t have the right to tell people they can’t take drugs.
It burdens our law enforcement services and takes our police forces away from actual crimes.
It has directly led to the deaths of countless lives.
And finally, it hasn’t changed anything. Our drug laws are not making our country a better place. They are making it worse.
If we want to change society for the better, then we must regularly check to see if our actions are yielding the results we want.
When they are not, we must come up with a new strategy. Our drug laws have failed, and they have taken tens of thousands (if not hundreds of thousands) of innocent lives with them.
It is time we throw out our drug laws and look to solve this problem a better way.
About Sean Edwards
Sean Edwards is an author and a communication strategist. He graduated from the Western Washington University with a bachelor’s degree in history. Sean has a passion for discussing philosophy and American politics.