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Drug laws don’t seem to stop drug use

Since the beginning of the “War on Drugs,” the government has been trying to stop drug use by making it illegal. It’s much the same as how Prohibition made drinking alcohol illegal for a short time in American history. Does it really work?

As we know from Prohibition, it doesn’t. Researchers have found that the same is true with drugs. The laws make the activity illegal, but that doesn’t mean people don’t do it. 

Instead, the laws create some real social problems. For instance, drug dealers may engage in a violent, dangerous activity. The reason is that the drugs they’re selling are illegal, and it creates a spiral of illegal behavior that goes far beyond the use itself. Again, the same thing happened with Prohibition. Banning alcohol did little more than create criminal gangs that sold it, increasing crime rather than reducing it. 

Another part of the issue, some contest, is that drug use often happens in private. It’s understandable why laws would prohibit things like driving a car — just as we do with alcohol — but should it really prohibit what someone does in their own home, on their own time and with their own life? That often feels more like legislating morality based on someone else’s belief about what is right and wrong, rather than actually trying to make society a better, safer place. 

It may be clear that drug laws are not working, but they are still in place. Those who get arrested for violating them need to know about all of the legal options that they have.