In his essay, “Drugs,” Gore Vidal explains why keeping drugs illegal does not stop some of the root problems that drugs cause in society, such as drug addiction and drug trafficking. Drugs are a big problem in society and there are many different ways to approach the problem. Some say that drug users and addicts should be punished; others say that drugs should have medical uses. Still others, such as Vidal, argue that drugs should be legalized and regulated, so that the people of the nation have the freedom to make their own choices.
The overall presumption of this report is to review Vidal’s basic arguments. Vidal basically argues that making drugs illegal does not work to stop drug addiction and trafficking. From his essay the reader can see that Vidal is a writer who believes that all drugs should be legalized. Legalization would favor a regulated and open market for drugs, and is generally most realistically discussed in terms of marijuana, although Gore is more general about freedom and less specific about what type of drugs.
This proposal defies the convention of the current laws regarding illegal drugs, which are prohibitive and punitive. For the status quo, one has only to look at the present situation: in some states, even a little cocaine can garner someone a hefty sentence under mandatory minimum laws. Even who are caught with less dangerous drugs such as marijuana suffer strict judiciary penalties, and are sometimes the victims of mandatory minimum sentences. Many say that decriminalizing drugs would stop these people from spending what some regard as too much time in jail for a nonviolent crime.
Gore Vidal states in his essay that legalizing drugs can work because it represents the freedom that the US is supposed to stand for. “Some people will always become drug addicts just as some people will always become alcoholics, and it is just too bad. Every man, however, has the power (and should have the right) to kill himself if he chooses” (Vidal, 1970). Vidal basically argues that freedom is more important than safety in this manner. He sees that legalizing drugs would work to expand freedom in society.
Despite these possible benefits, Vidal believes that legalization of drugs is unlikely to occur because of the politics and government. “Now one can hear the warning rumble begin: if everyone is allowed to take drugs everyone will and the GNP will decrease, the Commies will stop us from making everyone free” (Vidal, 1970). Most of the American public has shown lasting support for the “war on drugs,” and even when presented with evidence of its continuing failure, continue to support anti-drug initiatives involving criminalization and prohibition.
This could be because the common presentation of crime often links non-violent and violent crimes together in terms of causality. In summary, Vidal argues that drugs should be legalized, but there are serious obstacles to this. Many law enforcement agencies have concentrated on reducing the harm that drugs can cause. Still others propose the legalization of drugs for solely medical purposes, for example, so heroin addicts could receive clean heroin and sanitized needles, or so that people suffering from certain conditions could be prescribed marijuana. http://www. nytimes. com/books/98/03/01/home/vidal-drugs. html? _r=1