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Figuring Out Drug Policy

There’s a conversation being held in our state and around the country about how best to deal with addictive drugs. On the one side, personal freedom – including the freedom to ruin one’s life – come up and the perceived injustices of the current system. On the other, issues about protecting the most vulnerable among us and how to best prevent the social harm from drug abuse come to the fore.

The conversation and arguments not only show how divided our population is on the issue, but will eventually form the basis of policy changes or justify keeping drug laws as they are now.

A pair of articles in The Collegian, Kansas State University’s newspaper, serves as a good example. Both articles, one pro drug legalization, one against, appeared on April 1st, but neither was a joke. Rather, each set out the strongest arguments for their side of the issue. The issue, in this case, is whether it would be better to just make all (or most) drugs of abuse legal. They are worth reading to decide your own stance in the current debate. You can find them here and here.

Both sides of the issue have valid points and the arguments will no doubt continue. However, more and more the fights aren’t just in the editorial pages, but the ballot box. For marijuana in particular, ballot measures have been the primary way that legalization, both for medical and recreation use, has moved forward. The issue may come to a ballot near you. Take a few moments to decide, not just where you stand, but why.

Is the current war on drugs an example of Draconian government pressing down on citizens with a heavy hand or is the status quo a necessary bulwark against chaos. What about the costs, both monetary and societal? And finally, something that is too often left out of the discussion: How can we best help those who are the victims of addiction, whether or not drugs are legalized?


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