Doctors and Police Debate in Free Think University Course: Should Drugs Be Legal?
Experts and Advocates Discuss Prohibition, Liberalization, and Legalization
Washington D.C. (PRUnderground) March 21st, 2014
The issue of drugs and how to best control their consumption and abuse is an emotional debate in American society for decades. As marijuana has become legal in certain states, this debate has more prominence than ever. Free Think University’s new course experience ‘Should Drugs be Legal?’ divides the debaters into three camps, each arguing for prohibition, liberalization, or legalization.
This critically acclaimed course experience highlights the complexity of the issue of drug legalization through a video by former police captain Peter Christ. Christ says, ““Legalization of drugs is not about the drugs, it is about the gangsters and the terrorism that is supported by the illegal [drugs] marketplace in this country.”
Referencing the Prohibition Era of the 1920’s, the course explains that alcohol was banned in the United States in an effort to eliminate corruption, end machine politics, help Americanize immigrants, and to support the war effort. Some contend that Prohibition failed because it was ultimately unenforceable. Critics argue that the amendment failed to eliminate drinking, made drinking more popular among the young, spawned organized crime and disrespect for the law, encouraged solitary drinking, and led beer drinkers to hard liquor and cocktails. Opponents of Liberalization argue that alcohol consumption declined dramatically during Prohibition — by 30-50%, by some estimates. Deaths from cirrhosis of the liver for men fell from 29.5 per 100,000 in 1911 to 10.7 per 100,000 in 1929.
At the heart of the current debate beats the issue of enforcement. It is one thing to make drugs illegal, it is quite another to actually enforce that law. The course features a video between two policemen debating legalizing drugs. A video by noted economist Milton Friedman addresses some of the economic effects of drug legalization. Friedman says, “Nothing scares me about the notion of drugs being legal. What scares me is the notion of continuing on the path we are on now, which will destroy our free society.”
The health argument is also addressed. How would adopting the Prohibitionist, Libertarian, or Legalization points of view affect the overall level of health in America? The course includes a video of a researcher sharing well-documented material specifically regarding the effects of marijuana use.
Another argument focuses on the addictive nature of drug use. With the high costs for rehabilitative treatments, and the idea that low level drugs such as marijuana are an entry level drug, usually leading to the use of harder drugs, shouldn’t these drugs simply be outlawed or highly regulated? Lots of information is thrown into the debate from all sides. Who has the most authoritative information? A video of two doctors debating if marijuana is a gateway drug is included in the course experience.
So what is the right course of action? For those who wish to see prohibition continue, it leads to the call for more resources and money, harsher penalties (especially for the leadership of the drug suppliers), additional beds at treatment and detox centers, and more education on the dangers of drug use. The Libertarian or Liberalization groups seek a dramatic reduction in government intervention. They must find a way to convince voters and politicians that the best solution is for less government. In particular, many of them are calling for the type of educational blitz that has resulted in a dramatic reduction in smoking, to be applied to marijuana use and other harsher drugs. The legalization crowd is calling for the government to shift its resources from preventing drug use to regulating drug use. Some in their position wish to see drugs available in a limited fashion, such as through medical prescription, while others want full availability – but with government being able to tax and regulate it much as it currently does with alcohol.
“Issues of safety, morality, enforcement, and economy are all critical issues in this debate,” notes Free Think University co-founder Jim Van Eerden. “If we legalize drugs like marijuana, have we carefully considered why and what the implications will reasonably be?”
About Free Think University
Free Think University is where more than 30,000 free-thinking students have joined what Mortimer Adler called “The Great Conversation” – the dialogue of the ages about The Big Questions of our day, and where they participate in one of the fastest-growing independent scholarship funds in America. Submit questions for future courses to firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information go to www.freethinku.com or follow @freethinku.