I think we can all agree that using drugs recreationally can be dangerous and harmful to your health. So can eating fast foods or not getting enough sleep or exercise, but we would be outraged if the government tried to regulate how much sleep we got or how many calories we consume each day. The point is, the government cannot control one’s personal behavior, nor is it governments place to even try. Besides, have all of the drug laws prevented people from obtaining their drug of choice? No. If people want something, they will get it. When you make something illegal that people want, all it does is create a black market, which raises the prices on these drugs. This, in turn, makes the drug cartels millions of dollars. I met someone on a recent trip to Costa Rica who sold marijana illegally and when I aked him if he voted to legalize it, he replied, “I would never want to do that! That would lower the prices and cut way into my profit!” Did you know that the drug cartels actually pay lobbyist to keep the drugs laws in place? If drugs were legalized, this black market would cease to exist. When someone is an alcoholic, we tell them to get treatment. So why then, do we treat drug addicts as criminals? Drug abuse should be treated as a medical problem, not a crime. Treating it as a crime has our prisons flooded with non-violent offenders, some doing life sentences, while there is no room to incarcerate the rapists and murderers. Here’s a sobering statistic: the United States has just 5% of the world’s population, but 25% of the world’s prisoners. That makes us the biggest jailer in the world.

By some estimates, the war on drugs has so far cost close to a trillion dollars. What has that vast expenditure bought? Very little. According to the government’s latest “Survey on Drug Use and Health,” more than 22 million Americans – nearly 9 percent the U.S. population – used illegal drugs in 2010, up from 8 percent in 2008. This demand and the vast profits derived from it, has prompted violence on a mind-boggling scale south of the U.S. border. In Mexico alone, around 50,000 people have died in the past six years as drug cartels fight each other – for access to supply lines to the U.S. market – and the Mexican state. Drug-fueled violence is not restricted to Mexico. According to the United Nations, eight of the world’s most violent countries are in Latin America. The small states of Central America, astride trafficking corridors to the north, are particularly vulnerable. Honduras now has the world’s highest murder rate. Guatemala is not far behind.

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