Gore Vidal explains why making drugs illegal does not work as a policy measure aimed at stopping drug addiction and trafficking. The debate between the proponents of drug prohibition and drug legalization has been going on for many decades, and the world community is far from having a uniform stance on the issue. This essay will answer the following questions: why making drugs illegal does not work as a policy measure aimed at stopping drug addiction and trafficking, why legalizing drugs would work, and why nonetheless legalization is unlikely to occur.
Speaking about the limited effectiveness of prohibition with regard to drug abuse and trafficking, Vidal cites ‘the forbidden fruit’ argument: people are more attracted to illegal things than to legal and easily available substances. A historical analogy can be drawn with the prohibition if alcohol that sparked the greatest crime wave in the U. S. history, resulted in thousands of deaths from low quality alcohol, and generated contempt for the country’s laws.
Furthermore, prohibition of lighter drugs may result in citizens’ flirting with more serious substances: when the supply of Mexican marijuana was reduced by the police in 1969, pushers introduced teenagers to heroine, and that had tragic consequences. Apart from its practical uselessness, prohibition contradicts the foundational principles of American democracy, since all people have the right to do what they want unless it harms other people. Legalizing drugs is a more superior strategy.
The problem of drug addiction in American society stems from disinformation, which flourishes in the atmosphere of secrecy and clandestineness. Alternatively, if citizens where supplied with necessary information concerning risk and benefits of every drug, few would become drug addicts knowing beforehand what addiction were like. This applies to sane persons, yet not everybody is reasonable sane, yet it does not prevent the government from banning other substances, like alcohol.
Every person has the ability to kill him/herself, yet they do not do so; in a similar fashion, few people would become drug addicts if they had access to drugs. Moreover, prohibition serves the interest of Mafia more than the interest of the Bureau of Narcotics: if drugs begin to circulate in the official market, the costs will decrease, and Mafia will loose a significant share of the illegal market. High prices on drugs makes pushers’ seek new clients more actively, and drug addicts are forced to commit crimes to afford their next dose.
However, despite all the benefits listed above, legalization is unlikely to occur. If drugs had been legalized, there would have been on need for the Bureau of Narcotics anymore. Fighting drugs has become a business the size of drug dealing. Professional politicians are to blame for the aggravation of the situation with drug addiction and trafficking. The bureaucratic machine is responsible for keeping American population in darkness about the effects of drugs and preventing an open, non-partisan, and scientific examination of drug policy.
Making an overall conclusion, drug policy in the U. S. needs reconsideration, since prohibition only aggravates the situation, benefits Mafia rather than society, misinforms public about the issue of addiction, contradicts fundamental principles of American democracy, and is the fault of power-hungry politicians only. References Vidal, G. Drugs: Case for Legalizing Marijuana. The New York Times. September 26, 1970. June 5, 2008. <http://www. nytimes. com/books/98/03/01/home/vidal-drugs. html? _r=2&oref=slogin >