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Sukhmani Soni HPEX 352 903 Importance of Autonomy in Drug Policy The War on Drugs is a complete failure in preventing drug related harm As drug related harm increases so do those incarcerated for drug related crimes Drug use is inevitable in a society no matter what legal consequences there maybe people always find a way to sell and use drugs and they always will Instead of not accepting this reality we ve made our prisons basically a very low end extremely costly inhumane club practically exclusive to POC with drug related charges On the path to complete his PhD dissertation Dr Ethan Nadelmann interviewed members of drug law enforcement such as the DEA and border control when he realized the drug problem is usually blamed on what people know the least about He realized the drug war is no one political moral intellectual issue but one huge rather complicated puzzle The true challenge according to Nadelmann is to make a world that is safe with drugs and perhaps even beneficial to society with the correct education Basically try to accomplish the exact opposite of the war on drugs is what Nadelmann is saying When it comes to what drugs are legal and why as stated in the ted talk there is no backing of science or health reasons so why are some drugs that are known for killing millions a year like prescription opiates legal but a drug with no record of overdoses such a marijuana still criminalized in half the US Nadelmann goes on to state the legality of drugs has little to do with the actual drug and everything to do with the user Not shocking the drug war is fueled by race in the 1800s when opiates and other drugs were all legal the group with the highest number of opiate users were actually middle aged white women to treat pain but as soon as chinese people 1 started using opium pipes is when the US had its first drug prohibition The fear was this non white group of people were going to turn americans aka white americans into druggies when in reality whites were already consuming illegal drugs before the were illegal Same goes for the criminalization for coke was not fueled by the potential risk of death or high chance of addiction but to criminalize blacks people in prison are incarcerated due to drug related crimes it s also no secret the blacks and africans americans have the highest incarceration rate than any other race in the US Naddlemann said the drug law disparities have nothing to do with the drug and everything with who is using them which makes sense as to why crack cocaine is more criminalized than powder cocaine Crack is more commonly found in minority communities for it is a cheaper version of powdered coke which in a way is the gold standard for the drug due to its effects potency and most of all higher price that communities with high minority rates cannot afford as much These type of users in lower income neighborhoods with higher minority rates are an easy and vulnerable target for drug convictions and are more likely to get into legal trouble whereas wealthier and especially white communities do not face the same struggles and stereotypes that the american justice system has perpetuated over the years to target people of color Well stated by Nadelmann drug policies are centered around criminalization and not health and vice versa The reasons we need to focus on intelligent regulations according to drug policy reformist Ethan Nadlemann policy and the way as a society we view drugs If we change how we view drugs to be in favor of safety rather than criminalization drug related harm as a whole will decrease but these changes cannot effectively be applied without changes to our drug policies 2 People always have found a way to use and sell drugs and they always will I strongly believe it is a reality our country needs to accept so we can actually decrease drug related harm Once we accept this harsh truth we can start implementing a system of autonomy so people who do use sell drugs can do so without motives that are not affected by our skewed justice system but a government that assists in creating a safer environment for inevitable drug use that will actually reduce drug related harm Countries who have adopted autonomy vs paternalism by legalizing certain drugs and drug practices experience much less drug use overdose addiction and violence I believe we must legalize marijuana considering there has never been a reported overdose legalize other certain drugs as well as the trafficking for them and decriminalize all drugs and drug practices if we really want to see a change in all forms of drug related harm 3

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VCU HPEX 352 - Importance of Autonomy in Drug Policy

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