Drugs are bad.
You may think that this is an unusual way to start an argument as to why there should be a strict enforcement on the laws against drugs, but I have done so for three reasons:
1). because it is true, 2). because not enough people know or believe it and 3). because the topic is so vast that it seems as good a place as any to start!
Now that this has been said, I would like to make it clear that when talking about drugs, I refer mainly to that supposedly ‘harmless’ drug, marijuana, which is made so much more dangerous than other drugs due to the fact that its consumption is seen as being risk free and even ‘cool’!
It is important, when thinking about this topic, to understand that there has been no war on drugs in England. Many supporters of drug legalisation (again, specifically that of marijuana) claim to be in favour of the slackening of the laws against its possession and usage because the war against this have failed, however I can see no evidence that there has been a war at all.
There is in fact evidence that the opposite of their claim is true. If you examine, for just a short period of time, the way in which people found with the possession of marijuana have been dealt with by the police, you will see that, far from there being a war against this taking place, next to nothing is done.
Sure, there may be legislation against the possession and usage of these drugs, but that doesn’t mean that, unfortunately in my opinion, they are effectively enforced, if at all. For example – returning for the second time to marijuana – in 2009 in England and Wales alone, out of the 163,000 marijuana arrests that took place, a staggering 86,593 were dealt with by what is known as a ‘Cannabis Warning’.
The ‘Cannabis Warning’ has never been legislated by Parliament and so does not actually exist under English law. Instead, it has been decided by the Association of Chief Police Officers that if anyone is caught with the possession of this illegal drug, they must be let off.
This shows the idea that there has been a war on drugs in England to be a complete joke!
This leads me to my second point; why there should be a war against drugs. Again, I find it so hard to decide where to begin!
I shall, therefore, turn to Peter Hitchens, columnist for the Mail on Sunday, who influenced me to take such a strong view-point on this matter:
[It is highly irresponsible] to toy with your brain – which you do not understand; which even the most enlightened and advanced neurologists barely begin to understand – by poking into it, in various forms, chemicals whose impacts upon your brain you have absolutely no way of measuring or predicting which, by taking, you can actually destroy or ruin that brain. There simply is not any responsible argument for doing that.
The Royal College of Psychiatrists have also produced an excellent pamphlet outlining the dangers of marijuana consumption – that including anxiety, depression and long-term schizophrenia – which further adds to the list of arguments against the legalisation of marijuana
For a war against drugs to work, people would have to be properly deterred from taking the drugs in the first place. This would have to involve the introduction of strict penalties which could be enacted if necessary.
I would personally like to see first time offenders being issued with a caution and second time offenders being sent to prison. I understand however that the matter is up for debate and so I would be open to alternative suggestions.
Before this debate can take place though, it is essential that we rid ourselves of the ridiculous idea that there has been a war on drugs; that we stop viewing marijuana as being harmless, risk-free and cool and, most importantly; that we stop thinking about only ourselves and think instead about the effects that diminishing our faculties may have on others, particularly our loved ones.
Until this happens, we cannot seriously expect for drug usage to be deterred and before this, the problems within our society shall increase, increase, and increase further still.