Pros and Cons of Decriminalizing Drug Addiction

Pros and Cons of Decriminalizing Drug Addiction

Drug addiction is not a criminal act; drug addiction is a clinical mental health illness. Many people are so afraid of the legal repercussions, fines, jail time, and other consequences of prosecution from drug abuse and addiction, that they try to keep their addiction hidden instead of getting help.

Drug addiction is a serious illness, and there are several options for treatment and recovery. Individuals who seek help for addiction will not only improve their health, wellbeing, and quality of life, but they will also reduce the chances of facing stiff legal, financial, and occupational consequences later on in life. Persons who get help for addiction have a great deal of protection from both public and private sectors.

The many criminal acts related to addiction, such as possession, use, or distribution of illicit drugs, prescription drug diversion, and drug-induced criminal activity can cost an individual far more than jail time, steep fines, and a black mark on their record. Drug-related crimes can affect an individual’s credit, ability to rent or buy a home, custody rights of children, healthcare, and insurance costs or even coverage at all, employment, driving privileges, and more.

How Decriminalizing Drug Use Will Affect Addiction Rates

Decriminalizing the use of illicit drugs is a trending topic. Those in support of drug legalization believe that there are several economic gains to be had from a very lucrative drug market. People have been using and abusing drugs since the dawn of time, and by legalizing them, drugs can be regulated and taxed which creates jobs and money. Instead of spending billions of dollars on the “war against drugs” and drug prevention and correction programs, government money could be spent on healthcare, education, and other issues, including minimizing the ailing national debt. Furthermore, the legalization of drug has other pros, such as:

  • Reducing drug-related crimes like theft, robbery, and assault that often result from underground drug markets
  • Making space in jails and prisons for more serious offenders
  • Minimizing deaths, poisonings, and overdoses from tainted or laced substances since drugs would be regulated by the FDA
  • Reduced development of HIV/AIDS and other blood-borne viruses due to improved and more obtainable drug paraphernalia
  • More money available for drug addiction treatment and recovery services

On the other end, there are several cons of decriminalizing drug use, such as:

  • A possible increase in crime rates in other areas like traffic violations, accidents, assault and battery, and more criminal behavior caused by drug intoxication
  • The potential for several unknown side effects of drug use among a vast population
  • A decline in health, especially mental health
  • Discrediting all the evidence on the dangers, risks, and consequences of drug use, abuse, and addiction. Even legalizing marijuana would set precedent for the legalization of other, harder drugs, decriminalizing the use of some drugs would imply that all the reasons drugs have been illegal over the years are false. Individuals would underestimate the harms of drug use and addiction as a disease. Less people would seek help for substance abuse or addiction.

Prevent the Risks and Consequences of Drug Addiction

To prevent the many risks and consequences of drug addiction from destroying your wellbeing and livelihood, you have to take action and help yourself. When you make the decision to end your drug addiction, you can call us for help. Our toll-free helpline is operated 24 hours a day by addiction counselors who can answer your questions, provide you with information, and connect you with the treatment options that will guide you to lasting recovery success.