Instigator / Pro

You pick the topic, I pick a side


The debate is finished. The distribution of the voting points and the winner are presented below.

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Better arguments
Better sources
Better legibility
Better conduct

After 1 vote and with 3 points ahead, the winner is...

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Last updated date
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Time for argument
One week
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One month
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Multiple criterions
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Contender / Con

Opponent first has to announce they will accept the challenge in the comments, along with their topic. Then I will pick a side.

Round 1
This topic of legalizing all drugs is not just about making the consumption and purchase of drugs legal, but the impact of increased access to drugs on citizens long-term.  Drugs by definition are a medicine or other substance which has a physiological effect when ingested or otherwise introduced into the body. These psychological effects can be positive or negative depending on the contents of that drug and the way the drug is used.  Some drugs are classified as medical as they are prescribed by a doctor, and can have beneficial effects on the person taking them. These include: antibiotics, antihistamines, Penicillin, ibuprofen, etc. These medical drugs are used to address infections, pain, or potential diseases and illnesses, with the desired effect being to eradicate or prevent them from spreading throughout the body. Other drugs have a recreational use, including cocaine, morphine, ecstasy, and marijuana, which can give the desired effect of pleasure. Both types of drugs have a desired effect that can be beneficial to the user, but with one group being more addictive than the other. If all drugs were prohibited, then it would limit one's access to medical drugs or any type of drug that could be beneficial to their health in the long run. The topic implies that by deciding whether or not to legalize drugs, one is essentially deciding whether people should have access to all drugs or completely their access to any of them and prevent any use of them when necessary. Hence, drugs should be legalized everywhere. 

I will address why all drugs should be legalized in two separate parts: the economic benefit and the social benefit to the public.

1. The Economic Benefit from Legalized Drugs 
In the United States, one of the main reasons for mass incarceration as of 2022 is drug offenses and the charges against the possession of drugs even without any use. According to a police report, drug offenses still account for the incarceration of almost 400,000 people, and drug convictions remain a defining feature of the federal prison system. Police still make over 1 million drug possession arrests each year, many of which lead to prison sentences.  This proves to be very expensive for the federal government as it focuses a large amount of it's resources and money on trying to limit the use of drugs amongst the public via arrests and recovery programs. Just starting an investigation and making an arrest for the illegal use of drug can cost thousands of dollars. According to the US Department of Justice, the Office of Justice Programs, the government at all levels spends about $100 billion a year on law enforcement and criminal justice programs to combat the drug problem, and about $35 billion is directly related to drug law enforcement. These expenses for trying to enforce drug laws eventually can lead to the government being in debt, which would be detrimental to the economy. By legalizing all drugs, federal,state and local governments can save thousands up to billions of dollars from processing drug charges and trying to fund rehabs for those with addiction. Additionally, legalizing drugs can allow for businesses who sell these products to gain profit without engaging in illegal activity that can lead to more expensive drug offenses. The tax revenue that the government gains from legal drugs will increase with the flow of drugs that consumers could be free to purchase.

2. The Public Benefit from Increased Access to Drugs
In the United States, there are several drug laws on both a federal and state level that manage the distribution, purchase or possession of both legal and illegal drugs. For example, under federal law, distribution of drugs to a person under age 21 is punishable by twice the normal penalty, i.e., a mandatory one-year prison term; a third conviction is punishable by mandatory life imprisonment. Under the New York State law, a fine of up to $100 for possessing marijuana under certain circumstances to a maximum of life in prison for operating as a major trafficker. While these laws prevent any misuse of illegal drugs and give punishment to those who selling or distribute them, they can also be a harsh and unfair sentence for those who struggle with mental health issues or are falsely accused of these crimes.
          The selling or possession of drugs is a major crime that the federal government have used as a reason to incarcerate numerous black Americans, or people of color in general. The War On Drugs, for example, has occured since the 1970s and it has lead to the police and the government using more aggressive methods to "identify" and arrest African Americans. In fact, because of pre-existing prejudices that the public and the police have towards the black community, methods to address crime including racial profiling and stop and frisk have increased over the years. In New York State, according to NYPD's annual report, 8,947 stops were recorded in 2021. 5,422 were innocent (61 percent). 5,404 were Black (60 percent).Nationwide, African-Americans are about four times more likely than whites to be arrested for cannabis. The disparity is even greater depending on where people live. For example, in Iowa, Washington, DC, and Minnesota, African Americans are eight times more likely to be arrested. And due to discrimination towards the black community, African Americans are more likely to be given more severe penalities by the criminal justice system for drug charges. This fact has caused distrust from black people towards the police and the government in general. It can also create a negative perception amongst the public all people that use drugs or are charged with drug offense are criminals. By legalizing drugs, it can reduce the population of incarcerated black people that are in prison for false drug charges. It can also prevent a further divide amongst citizens by ensuring that drug use isn't criminalized.
        Similarly, people who struggle with mental illness might resort to using illegal drugs in order to cope. Seeking help for mental health isn't always an available option for everyone, and actually getting services to support those who are mentally ill can be very expensive and a long process. So using drugs might be only visible option. However, if they are put under arrest and are given serious penalites, they're mental health issues might worsen. By legalizing drugs, it will allow them access to medical drugs that are needed to support them and prevent them from suffering even more.
    In summary, legalizing all drugs can be beneficial for both the economy and the public. It will lower mass incarceration rates, save billions of dollars, increase profit from businesses that produce both medical and recreational drugs, and ensure that there's is trust amongst the citizens.

Well, I was hoping you'd pick the side of drugs needing to stay illegal. I am a huge proponent of drug legalization. I don't think there are any fair points against drug legalization, so I'm thinking we could possibly just both try to strengthen each others arguments. And by the way I'm not speaking solely to psychoactive substances. Heroin, PCP, Fentanyl, etc. Not cough syrups and antibiotics. I'm not well versed enough in that side of pharmacology to make a sound argument on those drugs. I consider myself an autodidact expert in psychoactive pharmacology, I've studied it for years and written many articles on the subject. So I think maybe this should be a conversation rather than a debate. If you want the points or ratings I understand, I'll forfeit the following rounds because I signed up under your rules. However, I'll talk to you about what you said.

 While these laws prevent any misuse of illegal drugs and give punishment to those who selling or distribute them.

I don't think these laws prevent misuse of illegal drugs at all. If you look at when addicts first begin using drugs it is around the age of 12. Even though I am a proponent of drugs and a drug user myself, people under the age of 21 would still be punished for taking drugs in some circumstances in my perfect world. The only time I would like people under 21 to have legal access to drugs is if they have already formed an addiction to something. This way they can go to a professional and get clean and pure drugs to wean off of until the are of age to buy legally. The biggest issue we face right now in the era of drug prohibition is contaminated substances and ignorance. Our drug education system is built off the 'just say no' idea. We don't educate people on how to take drugs safely, and that is causing a lot of death in our country. What is causing more death by far is contamination. There is a website called that allows people to mail in a sample of their drugs so they can test it with a GC/MS and they post the results online. 

This is one of the results for heroin. 

  • Caffeine
  • Fentanyl
  • Xylazine
  • 4-ANPP
  • Tramadol
  • 4-Fluorofentanyl
  • Heroin
  • Lidocaine
  • Phenethyl 4-ANPP 
So this is usually what people are getting on the street when buying heroin. Or something similar to this. This is not quantitative so we don't know how much of each substance is in the actual product, but this is still something that is impossible to take safely. 

I’m gonna break this down very simply. The IV LD50 (Lethal dose for 50% of test subjects) in mice is 21.797mg/kg. It is not as simple as taking that at applying the mg/kg to your own body weight a conversion must be done to account for different metabolic rates and surface areas of the organisms. The conversion factor with mice is to divide the dose by 12.3, or multiply it by .081. This will put the LD50 for humans at 1.77mg/kg.
For a 150 pound person they would have to take 122.4 mg of heroin to reach the lethal dose for the average user their weight. To put that into perspective even the heaviest users consider 25mg injected a pretty heavy dose. Of course tolerance will change how much a person can take. Essentially no one is taking that dose. But, that lethal average dose drops dramatically when mixed with other substances. 

After the conversion is done the human LD50 for fentanyl rests at .47mg/kg. Compared to heroin’s LD50 by IV sitting at 1.8mg/kg it’s easy to see why this would be an extremely dangerous combination. An average 150 pound male only has to take 31mg of fentanyl to reach lethal doses. I said earlier a heavy dose of heroin is 25mg. Some addicts take more. When mixing these two substances the LD50 for both drop significantly making it only take one bad batch to kill people. 

4-ANPP and Phenethyl 4-ANPP are precursors to fentanyl that are used for synthesis which brings me to another point. Street chemists do not know what they’re doing. Do you remember the famous Krokadil drug scare? A drug in Russia people injected and it caused profound necrosis. Well it turns out, as it always does, that the drug was not the problem. The problem was street chemists not getting the chemicals used for synthesis out of their final product. One of the chemicals used for synthesis of the drug desomorphine (the drug krokadil actually was which is still used medicinally all over the world) is phosphorus. So we weren’t looking at the effects of any drug but instead the result of injecting phosphorus into your veins. Professional chemists do not make these mistakes.

Xylazine is a veterinarian anesthetic usually used on felines. Tramadol is an obscure opioid/antidepressant that will also lower the LD50 of other opioids when mixed. Lidocaine is a cocaine derivative and topical pain killer. So if there is an addict that is under 21 I would much rather them have access to clean drugs as long as the protocol for them accessing these drugs is to wean off as effectively as possible. Once they are over 21 they should have access to any drug they like. 

I do like how you brought up mental health. Addiction is very misunderstood, first addiction doesn't revolve around use. It revolves around whether your use is disrupting your life or not. If you use heroin every day and still do your job, take care of your kids, etc. You're not an addict, you may be dependent on a substance, but you're not an addict. Second the number one determining factor for addiction is mental illness, not the drug itself, which is why people get addicted to anything that alters brain chemistry. Sex, porn, jogging, driving fast, etc. 

In summary there are many reasons to legalize drugs, especially in terms of keeping people safe. But also philosophically it doesn't make sense to have the pursuit of happiness clause in the constitution and not have drugs be legalized. Free people are allowed to take risks. Drugs are risky of course, to say they're not is to lie. However, driving is risky as well, so is sky diving, so is having sex, drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes, etc. We should be allowed to take risks. The easiest way to mitigate those risks is to educate people on how drugs work and how to be safe with them, and to legalize all of them.  

Round 2
I was not aware that you wanted me to argue for the side of pro-drug prohibition, but since we both agree on the topic, I agree with the idea of strengthening each other's arguments. So here goes:

I don't think these laws prevent misuse of illegal drugs at all. If you look at when addicts first begin using drugs it is around the age of 12. 

I realize that my statement that drug laws prevent drug misuse was incorrect since people can find ways to evade those laws through illegal selling or purchasing. If anything, drug prohibition may be worsening the problem. Previously, people were able to purchase drugs or sell them without any restrictions by the government. Businesses could meet the demand of their consumers within legal means. However, after the Harrison Act was passed in 1914, followed by alcohol prohibition, by 1918 the government began to enforce these new laws by restricting the flow of drugs sold. This would lead to the rise of black markets and crimes related to increased restrictions on drug commerce. In fact,  the homicide rate increased to 10 per 100,000 population during the 1920s, a 78 percent increase over the pre-Prohibition period. This showcases how criminalizing drug use has only led to more violence as those who profit from the business of selling drugs have to resort to using illegal means in order to stay afloat. Those who purchase and use these drugs will become desperate and resort to buying them off of the black market. Additionally, the black market will not be careful to ensure that a safe dosage is given to the consumer.

The biggest issue we face right now in the era of drug prohibition is contaminated substances and ignorance. Our drug education system is built off the 'just say no' idea. We don't educate people on how to take drugs safely, and that is causing a lot of death in our country. 
I agree with you on the fact that society fails to educate it's citizens on proper drug usage and how to use them in moderation, and that there are many positive results from having access to drugs. In fact, one of the major reasons for drug addiction is because of a lack of education on the long-term effects of having an unsafe dosage of specific drugs. Since the average age that a drug addiction starts is 12, that means that the majority of the public gets their education on drugs in school. In school, people are usually taught that drugs only have negative side effects and that they should be avoided altogether. However, there isn't nearly enough information being given to the youth about more commonly used drugs, including meth, ecstasy, heroin, and opioids. According to the American Addiction Center, 46% of students were not educated about heroin, 49% of students were not educated about opioids, 51% of students were not educated about meth, and 55% of students were not educated about ecstasy. Meanwhile, the most commonly discussed substance is alcohol, with 84.8% of respondents saying they received some education on the topic in school.
         If the youth are only being taught about alcohol or specific types drugs and not the drugs that they need to know about, then how are they going to know which ones are safe to use and ones to avoid altogether? How will they know what dosage of any drug is safe to consume and what amount will consume them? And without access to that knowledge or a place where they can gain information about these drugs, they will never know.

But also philosophically it doesn't make sense to have the pursuit of happiness clause in the constitution and not have drugs be legalized. Free people are allowed to take risks.  

Additionally, the Constitution does not explicitly state that the government has the power to prohibit access to drugs such as cocaine, marijuana, and other drugs. If we are to go based off of what is exactly stated in the Constitution,  it does say that federal law supersedes the power of the state government. However, it does not say that federal government has the power to enforce it's restrictions on the use or commerce involving drugs specifically. It instead puts limits on the powers of the federal government In order to have the legal power to enforce these restrictions, the government would have to make a new amendment granting them that power.  While the 18th amendment would later be passed in 1919, prohibiting the selling or purchasing of alcohol, is there is still no amendment that exists that prohibits other commonly used drugs, including marijuana, heroin or opioids. Thus, the US government has been acting without the approval of the Constitution.  The eighth amendment of the Constitution says as follows:

Amendment VIII
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted. 

This means that it is unconstitutional for the federal government to punish the use of drugs through imprisonment or "excessive fines".  Excessive fines refers to paying the price for a crime as punishment,  including property that is confiscated during drug raids. Without the Constitution stating word for word that the government has the power to prohibit other drugs, this shows that the government isn't actually allowed to restrict people's access to drugs. It is written in the constitution that people's rights are protected, so according to what's stated in the constitution, the drug prohibition is a violation of those protected rights.

Furthermore, the government's methods to prevent and restrict access to drugs have been proven to be ineffective and even detrimental to the country.  They don't provide enough information about more addictive drugs which would ensure that the public is able to use them safely. It has also been proven that the government has no explicit power from the Constitution to restrict the liberties of the people through punishments such as fines and imprisonment. By legalizing drugs, the rights and liberties of the people will be protected and they will have unlimited access to information on drugs for safe use.
Round 3