Instigator / Pro

All psychoactive substances should be legalized for adults to purchase and use, sold from dispensaries in a regulated fashion as we do with alcohol.


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

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After 1 vote and with 7 points ahead, the winner is...

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Contender / Con

I contend that all drugs, from heroin to cannabis should be legalized and sold in dispensaries like alcohol and nicotine are today.

Round 1
This argument is controversial for some reason that I’m not too sure of. I think it has to do with media, bad science and awful journalism. Drugs are inanimate objects, conglomerates of Hydrogen, Carbon, Nitrogen and Oxygen.  They are not some object that hops out of their bag and into our bloodstream. Drugs are not the cause of the 91,000 deaths we saw in America in 2020. 

When we are talking about drug deaths it’s important to ask many questions. 1: how many substances were in the system? The average number of psychoactive substances found in drug deaths in 4-6. The next question needs to be: do any of these substances bring greater risks to the user when combined? 3: was the person aware these substances were risky to combine? 4:  did the person even know they took so many substances. 

These questions are of serious importance, the last 2 being the most important by far. Let’s say this person who died was being completely irresponsible and combining multiple substances at once and he didn’t know what was dangerous to mix. That is 100% an education issue. People use drugs every day without dying, in fact most drug users do not even have addiction. That has been proven by the work of a chairman on the National Institute of Health, Dr. Carl Hart from Columbia university. His work came to the conclusion that 80-90% of drug users in the US do not have addiction or use drugs irresponsibly. He himself an accomplished pharmacologist uses heroin and is open about it. He’s able to use heroin safely because he is very educated on how the drug works, how not to develop addiction, how to stay safe. All the way back in the 1890’s there were studies done with diacetylmorphine (heroin), heroin is simply a modified morphine molecule to have acetyl bonds at the top left and bottom right of the molecule. Making it more polar, which leads to higher potency. Not higher addictive potential.

The studies in the 1890’s I mentioned have to do with tolerance and addictive potential. Even back then they knew about tolerance and addiction, yet were able to work with the drug without causing withdrawal or huge tolerance build ups:  A doctor treated 48 different patients that were dealing with various things heroin could treat. He was one of the first people to record a tolerance in his patients. I am going to quote his findings here, this was written after he had to increase the dosage on his patients. “No harmful results, especially as I observed no abstinence symptoms whatsoever. Generally it appeared that in all cases in which period of time was allowed to elapse the full effect could again be obtained with small doses ... It may be concluded that, regarding tolerance to heroin, certain individuals react peculiarly and it is recommended that in the case of old and feeble persons, the initial dose should not be over 0.005 g.”(Taurnier, 1899)
 No abstinence symptoms is referring to withdrawal. My point here is that we have known a long time hire to properly use drugs of all kinds, including heroin. It just takes education.

When I say addiction, the definition is compliant with the DSM-5 definition of substance use disorder. This does not mean the person simply uses a drug regularly, or even every day. That is not what addiction is. To be diagnosed with substance use disorder the person must meet certain criteria. The criteria are that they have tried to quit many times and can't, they face withdrawals when trying to quit, and that the use of the drug is disrupting their life.  Without those three things happening in unison, the diagnosis of substance use disorder will not happen. Withdrawal is not the only determining factor of addiction, neither is prevalence of use. Someone can use heroin every day and not be considered an addict if they are meeting their societal expectation. Meaning, they don't miss work, they take care of their kids, they pay their taxes, they aren't committing crimes. Just like someone can drink alcohol every day and not be an addict. Many people I've spoken to, and interviewed for a book I am currently writing on this topic, have a large disconnect between how they view the drugs they enjoy, and the drugs they consider 'bad.' They think drinking alcohol every day or smoking cannabis every day is somehow more morally right or healthy than using meth or heroin every day. Even though adderall (amphetamine, which is methamphetamine minus one carbon hydrogen bond) is prescribed to be taken daily and millions of people do so with little to no side effects. 

Drug users like Dr. Carl hart and myself would never mix an opioid with a benzodiazepine or alcohol or antihistamines or any other CNS depressant. Because it is well recorded that mixing opioids with depressant greatly increases the chances of respiratory depression and death. if someone is not educated in that they can get into trouble quickly. 

Now let’s talk about question 4. Not many people are aware of this. There is a website called You can send your drug sample into their lab and they will test it and put the results on the website. Keep in mind there is a lot of bias in the results simply because the drug users sending their samples in for testing are very very responsible drug users and not junkies who don’t have the money to spend on these tests. 

I’m going to list the results of the first 2 samples tested for heroin that pop up. 

Sample 1:

  • Caffeine
  • Xylazine
  • Fentanyl
  • 4-ANPP
  • 4-Fluorofentanyl
  • Heroin
  • Phenethyl 4-ANPP

This was sold as heroin. I’m gonna break this down very simply. The IV LD50 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. 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 heavy heavy dose. So essentially no one is taking that dose. But, that lethal average dose drops dramatically when mixed with other substances as I said early but that’s not the point I’m making right now. 

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. 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, phenethyl 4-ANPP and 4-flourofentanyl 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 of felines. 

if anyone used this product, they likely died. Hopefully the user was patient enough for the website to post the results before using, and didn't give it to someone else.

sample #2

  • Fentanyl
  • Xylazine
  • 4-ANPP
  • 4-Fluorofentanyl
  • Despropionyl-4-fluorofentanyl
  • Phenethyl 4-ANPP
Again the presence of precursors is present in this product. This was sold as heroin, it doesn't even have heroin in it. 

If anyone used this product they likely died. 

So this brings me to my final point. If we legalized all substances you would be able to go into a dispensary and buy pure heroin or any other drug you like to use. It would also get rid of close to 75% of people in jail on simple possession charges. Drug use is dangerous, to say that’s not true is to lie, cannabis has risks, caffeine has risks, heroin and fentanyl have risks. But our government is actively making it more dangerous by their laws and enforcement. Danger isn’t even the point in my opinion. Adults in this country are free to do all sorts of things, shoot guns, race cars, cliff dive, sky dive, etc. we just assume adults embarking on those tasks are aware of the risks before hand and are making their own decision to do these activities. Drug use should be no different. There will still be addicts and still be idiots who kill themselves. But if we re design our drug education to not be about abstinence from drug use and actually tell young people bad adults about what makes them dangerous and how to lower the risks as much as possible a lot less of that would happen. If we treat drug education like modern sex education which is basically “we know you’re going to have sex, this is how you do it safely” it would save many lives. 

Our government also has a history of actively poisoning drug users. during alcohol prohibition the government played a hand in poisoning, or at least allowing bootleggers to poison a percentage of their illegal alcohol and avoid arrest, that led to over 10,000 deaths. In the 80's under President Raegan the American military used helicopters to spray cannabis fields in Mexico and Georgia with a potent neurotoxin called Paraquat. When ingested, paraquat causes the permanent onset of Parkinson's syndrome. Luckily Paraquat breaks down at high temperatures, so it doesn't seem like anyone was affected. but they still tried!

Once upon a time,

A Jedi and a fellow civilian walk into a bar, where the latter attempts to sell the former drugs. 

“You wanna buy some death sticks?”

Unamused, the disgruntled Jedi Obi-Wan responds with the power of the Force.: 

“You don’t want to sell me death sticks.”

“Uh, I don’t wanna sell you death sticks.” 

“You want to go home and rethink your life.”

“I wanna go home and rethink my life.”

And this, my friends, is the amazing miracle of how a man’s life being turned around within 14 seconds of his drug addiction being cured. 

The Reliability of Dr. Carl Hart
Carl claims that the lack of drug education and 
current laws are what is contributing to the drug-related deaths, and crime. 
While these may be true to a certain extent, whether legalizing all psychoactive substances would fix any of these problems is still a little unclear. 

In interviews, Dr. Hart is frequently seen suffering mild muscle spasms that make him tremble, or even stutter.

Consequences of Drug Legalization
When Poland first legalized drugs in 2001, there was a 40% increase in drug experimentation and homicide. 

Drug trafficking didn’t go down, but the legalization of drugs meant that the prison population was smaller because fewer people were being incarcerated. 

The Errors of The Penalty System
I believe me and Pro agree on something. That a long-term imprisonment for owning a small possession of drugs is ridiculously absurd, considering that a lot of drug users make up a large demographic of americans and are functional citizens, as well as good parents. 

The laws may need some reforming, but legalization would only mean government intervention grows stronger. 

Namely, because of.: 
  1. Newer regulations. 
  2. Constant safety checks.
  3. Increased supervision. 
In round 2, I’ll cover the specific costs of legalization and how it would take a toll on the Financial Register. 

Round 2
“Carl claims that the lack of drug education and
current laws are what is contributing to the drug-related deaths, and crime.
While these may be true to a certain extent, whether legalizing all psychoactive substances would fix any of these problems is still a little unclear.” 

I have pointed out clearly how legalization will fix the issues of drug related deaths. 

I’ll do so again. The average drug death has 4 or more substances involved. I showed why that happens with the results published from Drugsdata.Org and that legalization of these substances will allow people to buy pure drugs. This will get rid of the potential for fentanyl contamination, and other dangerous contaminants like what happened with the Krokadil scare.

I’m not sure why you brought up Poland, Poland has not legalized all drugs. Only cannabis is medically legal in that country. So, you have some bad information. 

If you are talking about Portugal, then yes you are correct that they had an increase in drug use the first few years. Since then, that has dropped to below what it was pre reform. Of course adults will get excited and try new drugs if their legally able to do so. Most adults are not drug addicts and never will be. Which is why many adults drink alcohol but aren’t alcoholics. That would apply To other drugs as well. Portugal statistics have proven that. 

It’s like when you first turn 21 everyone drinks a lot, then they slowly start drinking less and less. It’s the same phenomenon. 

Also drug trafficking hasn’t slowed, that’s fine, I have no problem with drug trafficking in a country that has the lowest death rate per 1,000,000 people in the EU. They’re doing it correctly. Countries like the US And Scotland who have very strict drug laws see about 300 drug deaths per 1,000,000 there’s a marked difference there. That should be telling. I don’t have a problem with drug trafficking, most people don’t because there is a multi billion dollar industry of trafficking alcohol, nicotine, and cannabis in the US. 

I am a proponent of government regulations on the drug market, these things that you’re saying are consequences are things I want to happen. I want the government to have some regulations in order to prevent contamination. That’s necessary they do it with alcohol, nicotine, and cannabis. That is a good thing. 

My opponent didn’t give me much to work with here. Didn’t refute any of my points, didn’t bring up any points of his own that meant anything. So I don’t have much to say, because frankly none of his points change anything.

Dr. Carl Hart does stutter, he’s always Stuttered in interviews dating back na king time. He’s also pretty old, so I would be extremely hesitant to blame drugs for those issues. I’m 24 and have two herniated discs and have a hard time sitting still and have bad muscle spasms, he was in the military as a military cop, I’m sure he has some issues with his body too. 

I concede. Too busy with rl distractions. 

Vote Pro.
Round 3
Since my opponent is not responding, I’m just going to copy and paste a chapter from my book on this topic .

This is chapter 3: How Prohibition Hinders Scientific Progress. 

This side of drug prohibition is rarely discussed. I believe it is because most media outlets do not follow science very closely. Drugs that have been in schedule one have been showing incredible efficacy for many disorders. Schedule one is supposed to be a category of drugs that have no medical potential and very abuse potential. Some of the disorders these drugs are helping treat, are some that we have had a very hard time treating before these studies started happening. Even some drugs that are directly toxic to the human body have shown to be very useful in understanding some diseases. Other drugs that people haven’t heard of except in horror stories and would never willingly use have also taught us a lot about the brain.
I will start with schedule one substances that have been found to help with disorders and diseases that are very difficult to treat. Ibogaine is the first one that comes to mind. I will do a deep dive on the pharmacology of Ibogaine in Part two of this book. For now I will give a quick overview of the things it helps. In part two I will explain specifically how it treats these things. It has been shown to effectively treat opioid addiction and Parkinson’s disease. It has the mechanisms to theoretically treat depression, PTSD, anxiety, and smoking cessation. This drug has been in schedule one since the late 1970’s. These studies that are breaking ground are rarely conducted in the US because of this fact. Scientists are not inclined to break the law in order to study certain drugs. Obtaining these drugs legally through the government is a long and arduous process that most pharmacologists are not willing to do.
When a scientist conducts studies on schedule one substances they have government officials come to their labs daily. They weigh the substance and check all of the logs to make sure none is missing that wasn’t used in the study. This is not something many scientists will want to deal with. This completely bogs down any research to be conducted on these drugs. In turn, that effectively hides the potential benefits from scientists who study drugs. Another bad aspect of this is that we are also not being able to study the risks of taking these drugs. Cannabis for example is always considered to be a relatively risk free drug. This is because scientists haven’t really been able to do in depth studies with human patients and rats, for the reasons I mentioned above. 
It turns out that there are serious risks that daily and chronic cannabis users face. For example it inflames arteries around the heart and increases the risk of sudden heart attacks and increases the risk of heart arrhythmia. Chronic use can also cause the CB1 receptor to misfire. This has a direct link to obesity. Not just because cannabis users have their appetite stimulated by the THC. People who do not smoke cannabis and are obese have a very similar issue with their cannabinoid system. Another example is Cannabis hyperemesis syndrome. This is a side effect of using too much cannabis for too long. People begin throwing up uncontrollably and the only thing that helps them is a hot shower. Most of the time these symptoms come up in the morning. At first scientists believed it had something to do with mass produced cannabis, maybe a fertilizer or pesticide was causing these issues. It wasn’t until these same issues began popping up in synthetic cannabinoid users that we realized this was an inherent risk with agonizing the cannabinoid system regularly.
Psilocybin is a drug that has been in schedule one since the controlled substance act was first signed into law in 1970. It is the pro-drug substance in magic mushrooms. Since studies have been done on these mushrooms it has shown incredible efficacy for Major Depressive Disorder. It has been granted breakthrough status by the FDA. We had an idea it could help treat certain things in therapy, however lack of funds and criminalization brought these studies to a halt back in the 50’s and 60’s. These drugs agonize the 5-HT2a receptors. Part two is when I will do a deep dive into what exactly that means. There is anecdotal evidence that these drugs can dramatically change pain perception. There are many reports of people taking high doses of LSD and not having migraines or severe back pain afterwards. This begs the question, how many of these drugs that we currently have in schedule 1 have a long list of benefits we have been missing out on?
Methamphetamine is schedule two, which means it has abuse potential but also has medical benefits. As I mentioned in chapter one it is still prescribed to be used daily to thousands of people in America. If we can identify and use the benefits of that drug, why can’t we do the same thing with a lot of the drugs in schedule 1? There are thousands of schedule 1 drugs, most of them are simple analogs of other drugs that were already placed there. Basically chemists took one drug and added another carbon atom or a couple bonds and created a new drug. So if one drug in a certain family of drugs has certain benefits, it’s probable that most of the analogs do as well. That isn’t always the case, which is why it is important to study as many drugs as we can in as much detail as we can. For example some derivatives of amphetamine have SSRI and MOAI properties. Mixing these two properties will cause serotonin syndrome and death pretty quickly. This drug is directly toxic and has no real use except for potentially studying serotonin syndrome.
Another example of this is obviously cannabis. Cannabis also has many benefits. It treats seizures very well, treats anorexia very well, it helps people with AIDS and cancer regain their appetite, with responsible use it can treat nausea very well, it also helps with pain perception. This has actually been known since about the 80’s. The FDA approved a drug called Marinol, which is just THC infused oil, to be given to cancer and AIDS patients for nausea and suppressed appetite. These benefits were not making it to the general public until around 2012. That is solely because this drug has been in schedule 1 since 1970.
Things get even more interesting when we start looking at certain drugs that are directly toxic to humans, and how it helps progress science. The best example of this is a drug called MPTP. MPTP is a byproduct of a drug called MPPP. MPPP is a run in the mill opioid analgesic. Sadly, it turns out that it is very difficult to synthesize MPPP without MPTP making its way into the final product. The problem with this byproduct is that one dose, even a low dose, causes permanent onset of Parkinson’s Syndrome. There was a string of cases, all happening semi-simultaneously, of people developing these symptoms after using a drug. After we figured out this MPTP is what was causing this to happen, we began giving it to rats. We did this so we could begin studying treatments of Parkinson’s disease. The reason these symptoms occur after using this drug is because it is directly toxic to the dopaminergic system, it destroys dopamine neurons. That is also exactly what Parkinson’s does. So this toxic drug that seems to do nothing but cause damage, has actually greatly improved our understanding of Parkinson’s disease.
This is why it is important to not make drugs illegal. In my opinion drugs that we hate now may come to have major benefits if we study them further. Some of these synthetic cannabinoids everyone hates and that have been thrown into schedule 1 with no thought, may be able to treat the same things THC does but more effectively. It could also be more cost effective to use these drugs, as they can be made in a lab and in great quantities. As much as I like to blame our government for all of this, journalism is equally to blame. Bad journalism, poorly written, manipulative stories can have a huge impact on policy. I would argue journalists had a big role to play in the CSA being signed in the first place. This debate of poor journalism goes back a long way. Dating all the way back to the 1800’s during the construction of the railroad, people began associating opium with violence and blaming the chinese for a lot of issues. These articles were saying very similar things to the mayor from Maine. They said the Chinese were corrupting white woman and children in opium dens. Same rhetoric 200 years later. After the Mexican American war people began saying that cannabis caused violent behavior and was causing blacks and mexicans to rape and kill white women. Even though whites were already using cannabis products at the time. This type of reporting and rumor spreading about drugs is what has led us to where we are now. Where over 90,000 people die a year from drugs, where the average American has no knowledge about even the drugs they are using, and where the police brutalize the citizens and use drugs as an excuse.

That type of journalism is alive and well today. Bill O’reilly arguing with Dr. Carl Hart about statistics he himself helped determine. CNN calling Krokadil a zombie flesh eating drug. All major news sources are still publishing anti-drug rhetoric that is preventing the general public and their listeners from ever actually learning about the drugs. This type of reporting can have a direct effect on policy. All of the bad stories written about psychedelics, PCP, and cannabis in the 60’s arguably played a big role in the CSA being signed. The effects of bad journalism should not be underestimated. My opinion on how to fix this issue is that journalists should not engage with hard scientific topics. They should stick to social sciences and current events, not spread their ill informed opinion on a topic they know nothing about.

This is all of the chapter I could fit in 10,000 characters.

If you or a loved one is suffering from a Death Stick addiction, join the official unofficial DART server and be cured by the power of the Force. 

Round 4
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Round 5
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