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Why Decriminalizing Hard Drugs Could Be More Helpful Than You Think

March 11, 2021 03:30 pm ET
Why Decriminalizing Hard Drugs Could Be More Helpful Than You Think

Most drugs are illegal in the United States. This is slowly changing, though. Oregon became the first state in America to decriminalize all drugs. This does not legalize all drugs. Instead, the consequences offer the option of treatment versus a small fine. This new form of law in America treats drug users as individuals that may have a medical problem rather than as criminals. Many people started making jokes that all drugs are legal in Oregon now, but this is not the case. Those caught within the legal limits possessing drugs will have the option of paying a civil fine or attending a treatment class. Treatment centers will be available across the state, promoting drug education, and facilitating information on addiction and rehabilitation.

It’s obvious that the old way of arresting everyone and putting them into the system isn’t working. It’s time to try something new, and Oregon is paving the path for other states to follow. While many other states will most likely take a very slow approach to this, some are looking at laws similar to those in Oregon that either decriminalize or legalize medicinal psilocybin.

Decriminalizing Hard Drugs Isn’t The Same as Legalizing Them

Nearly 20 years ago, in 2001, Portugal abolished all of its criminal penalties for personal drug possession. Many other countries around the globe have some form of drug decriminalization. In fact, according to media sources, there are 30 countries that fit this category. Some of them are Armenia, Argentina, Belize, Bolivia, Costa Rica, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Jamaica, Poland, South Africa, Spain, and Switzerland. Uruguay even has a law that allows all drugs for personal use. The country never criminalized the possession of personal use drugs. Instead, they left the decision for personal use for sale and distribution up to a judge. Despite the myth that this would create more crime, it seems that Uruguay is one of the safest places to travel to!

“Uruguay is very safe, it is the safest country to visit in entire Latin America, and if you plan on exploring the vast spaces of South America, Uruguay is the best place to start.” – Travel safe Abroad

Decriminalizing recreational or personal use of drugs is not the same as legalizing drugs. Decriminalization means that if someone is found in possession of a small amount of an illegal substance that is considered for personal use they will no longer face jail time. The United States of America incarcerates more of its population than any other nation in the world. Prisons are overcrowded, and many of them are filled with good people who were put away for nonviolent offenses that do not fit the description as a threat or danger to the general public.

According to National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NASDUH), some of the most popular recreational drugs used in America included cocaine, cannabis, LSD, psilocybin mushrooms, and ecstasy, aside from the misuse of prescription drugs. All too often, these drugs lead to a path of addiction, but that isn’t always the case. There are many individuals who are productive members of society who choose to utilize recreational drugs in their spare time instead of legal drugs such as prescriptions and alcohol.

Not All Drugs Are Available at the Corner Store, But Some of the Deadliest Are

If we take a second and dive into the term ‘drug’, it is technically a foreign substance that is not natural to the body that can affect the mind and body. Drugs come in many forms. Ask anybody to name some drugs, and they will call off names such as marijuana, cocaine, LSD, meth, and others. All too often, they leave out drugs such as sugar, nicotine, and caffeine. These are legal drugs that many people become addicted to, and all of these come with very dangerous side effects, much like any other drug. Sugar is one of the deadliest drugs in the world. It causes more problems than you can count on both hands and feet. It is in virtually every product consumed today. According to the American Addiction Centers “Alcohol, sugar, and nicotine are all legal yet, in the UK (multiply by 3 for the USA) alcohol kills 100 people a day, sugar kills 200 and nicotine kills 300.”

Sugar leads to blood pressure issues, diabetes, obesity, and loads of other medical conditions, yet it is very legal, and anybody can consume as much as they want of it. An eight or ten-year-old kid can walk into a store these days and buy $10 worth of chocolate no problem. Energy drinks are loaded with so much caffeine and sugar to the point they have even made media attention for causing heart attacks. Yet, these drugs are readily available and legal for purchase.

The War on Drugs Failed – It’s Time to Pave a Better Path for the Future

So, you are probably now asking yourself, who got to choose what drugs we can and can’t have? That would answer would be the FDA. We’ve reached a pivotal point in our society where the aging elected leaders of our country need to realize the failed policies of the past. The War on Drugs failed. Trying to control what people can and can’t do obviously does not work. We can either continue to punish our nation over drugs, or we can choose to help. People have this impression that decriminalizing drugs will increase crime and have people wandering the streets like mindless zombies.

But what many do not realize is that whether they are, or are not legal, those who want to consume these substances will always find a way. So why not take the criminalizing element out of the picture and allow people to make their own choices as they will anyhow and put in place better measure to help those on a path of addiction to find actual help rather than a jail cell. The nation is paying close attention to how things are unfolding in Oregon and before too long, I’d be willing to bet other states follow the path Oregon is paving.

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