Prepare the vocabulary in  the first five paragraphs for the translation class


It seems as if the cry of "legalize drugs!" is being heard everywhere from liberals as well as conservatives. Some people argue that legalizing drugs is the only way to "win" the drug war. I agree that drug enforcement does place a burden on us. Economic resources are used up that could be used elsewhere. But the consequences of legalizing drugs would make an already large problem completely out of control. If one examines the arguments behind drug legalization, it becomes apparent that legalizing drugs won't solve any of our Nation's drug problems.

I do want to clarify one thing: I will agree that some of the tactics being used in the drug war are ineffectual and misplaced. I often read about cases where government agents barge into an individual's house (and sometimes the wrong house!) to arrest an individual drug user whose only crime was to ingest an illegal drug, while drug lords who are bringing millions of dollars worth of drugs into our country are ignored. I believe that we need to focus more on educating children on the dangers of drugs and keeping the drug dealers from bringing the drugs into the country in the first place. I am more concerned with drug dealers who sell the drugs than the person who buys them, and I am more concerned about people who are under the influence of drugs such as PCP than those who are smoking pot in the privacy of their own home. However, just because some of the effort may be misplaced, that does not mean we should throw in the towel and make all currently illegal drugs legal. Re-focus our efforts, yes. Eliminate our efforts, no.

Argument 1: "But taking drugs is an individual's choice...."

This is the main argument, especially from my fellow conservatives - that individuals have the right to do as they see fit, as long as they do not harm anyone else. They choose to put the drugs inside their body, and they have the right to make that choice, without government interference. In theory, I understand this argument - I think there is presently too much government, and our present government limits individuals' rights too much with many inappropriate laws and regulations. But the argument regarding an individual's rights has two major flaws.

First, we don't have the right to do anything we want with our body. Can I walk down the street naked? Can I say what I want anywhere I want? (if you said "yes" to the last question, try yelling "hijack" on a plane and get back to me.) The point is, we can't do anything we want with our body. If drugs ever become legal, be prepared to see me walk around topless - after all, men can do it. Which is more harmful - me walking around with no shirt or me shooting up with crack? I'll be damned if people are allowed to shoot up with drugs and I have to wear a top on a blazing hot day in the summer!

Many people have emailed me with the assumption that I use the example about walking around topless because I am a prude, or because I think going around topless is disgusting, or, as one person put it, I am caught up in "body-hating Christian dogma." This shows that they missed the point entirely. The point I was trying to make was that an act that is completely NATURAL is not allowed, and thus showing that we are not free to do what we want with our own body. I in fact think it's silly that women and men have different rules about whether they can wear a top or not, yet I don't hear as many people complaining about that. So, please don't email me telling me that I must hate my body.

In addition to people not being able to do "whatever they want" with their bodies, drugs do NOT just hurt the person who chooses to use them.

For instance - I am sure people have heard about flashbacks from LSD. So, let's people stay inside in their own home and take LSD - that can't hurt anyone - right? After all, it's in their private home - right? LSD can cause flashbacks years after taking the drug, at any time. Is that person going to have a flashback while sitting at home - or while driving? Or while operating machinery? If that person has a flashback while driving the bus and an accident results, will people be so quick to say that the bus driver's "choice" to take LSD didn't hurt anyone else?

People and their rights don exist in a vacuum. The notion that drugs only hurt the people who use them is very shallow and illogical. One needs to look beyond themselves and look at the entire picture, and it becomes obvious that drugs have drastic effects on MANY people besides those who use them. For instance, according to a 1994 Newsweek report on child abuse, "Drugs now suffuse 80 percent of the caseload; sexual and physical assaults that once taxed the imagination are now common." It is also estimated that 100,000 babies a year are born addicted to cocaine. I don't think these babies chose to take these drugs.

Don't tell me that drugs only hurt the user - Tell that to a crack baby. Tell that to a woman who is raped by her boyfriend while he was high on PCP. Or tell that to the six year old that is raped by that same guy....Tell that to the taxpayers who will be paying out the wazoo for higher insurance rates, more taxes for drug rehabilitation programs, and more money for court cases due to the increased number of drug related offenses.

Please don't tell me that drugs hurt only the person who chooses to use them - that's not true.

In addition, if taking heroin or cocaine is an individual's "choice", then isn't also their "choice" to take any other drug they wish? With this in mind, what are we going to do about all the drugs that are available by prescription only? Let's say someone wanted to take a prescription diet pill, such as "Phen-Fen" (phentermine and fenfluramine). First, one needs a prescription, and a doctor won't prescribe the drug unless he/she deems it necessary. Secondly, this drug has now been removed from the market due to dangerous side effects. However, heroin, and cocaine, for example, have dangerous side effects too. How can we prohibit drugs because of side effects and then allow people to take cocaine? If people know the side effects of a drug, isn't it their "choice" whether not to take it?

Why should I have to go to a doctor and get justification for a medication, whether it be an antibiotic or Tylenol with Codeine, when other people can take heroin whenever they choose? How are we going to justify the need for prescriptions for medications which are much less harmful when people can get crack at any time? Why can't I take a powerful prescription diet pill (I don't take these - this is an example) whenever I want, without a prescription, if people can shoot up on heroin?

I can't see how we can force people to get prescriptions for other medications when they can get "hard drugs" whenever they like. So, in other words, we either have to eliminate the need for prescriptions for all drugs, and allow "banned" drugs, such as Phen-Fen, or we're going to have safer drugs harder to get than the more dangerous drugs.