Drug Decriminalization

The issue of drugs is a big problem, especially in America. Currently, drug use is illegal or prohibited, except for some drugs that can be used for certain pharmaceutical uses. The prohibition on drugs has been compared to the alcohol prohibition that the United States instituted between 1920 and 1933. Those in favor of legalization of drugs point out the inability of prohibition laws to keep citizens from creating, selling and drinking their own alcohol during those 13 years.

Drug prohibition began in 1909 when opium was first banned for uses other than medical purposes. Prior to this, drugs were sold freely. The medical community was expressing more and more concern about the selling and distribution of addictive drugs. Soon the Harrison Narcotic Act was passed in 1914. This legislation was initially intended to restrict the distribution of cocaine and heroin to physicians by medicalizing the drugs. In other words, by restricting the drug for medical purposes only, the common circulation of the substance became illegal. Therefore only licensed medical professionals could distribute. Furthermore, the effect of this act was that any who sold the drugs had to be licensed to do so and must keep a record of their sales to help keep tabs on its distribution.

The legislation evolved, though, through court activity so that doctors could not prescribe addictive drugs to addicts for relief purposes and then to the point where they could not prescribe the drugs at all. In 1937 marijuana was outlawed across the country after states had been illegalizing it one by one. Currently, the nation's drug policy is based on the Controlled Substances Act that was passed in 1970 which replaced all previous legislation. Essentially, this act led to the categorization and listing of all drugs so that they can be controlled to a certain degree. More regulation came in the '80s with the Comprehensive Crime Control Act, the Anti-Drug Abuse Amendment, and the National Narcotics Leadership Act. These laws raised penalties for drug-related offenses, increased funding for drug control and created the Office of National Drug Policy.

With recent drug policy being so strict, many are questioning whether or not these laws really are effective. After all, the number of drug-related suicides is rising primarily in connection to prescription drugs rather than illegal drugs. A recent study has shown that the decriminalization of drugs does not actually lead to increased drug use, as so many opponents fear. Around the world, drug laws have been changing and evolving. This report takes a look at 21 countries that are in the process of removing drug prohibition from their laws. Currently, little change has occurred in the rate of drug use but there has been significant change in the use of arrest and imprisonment for drug users as forms of punishment. In fact, the countries that have begun adopting this policy since the 1970s are actually seeing lower drug use rates than the US sees.

Tight drugs laws do not seem to be working well in this country. Perhaps the government should begin looking into new and different ways to deal with drug problems. The costs that are expended to enforce drug regulation have placed a major burden on the economy and the nation. For the time being, though, most drug use is still illegal in America. If you have been accused of a drug related crime, you must take action to protect yourself. Our firm can work with you to build a defense case for any criminal charges that you are facing. Your future may be on the line. Call us today!