Decriminalization is an alternative to the legalization of Narcotics drugs. It generally refers to reducing the penalties provided by the law. For example, by changing criminal liabilities to civil penalties, such as fines; or by diverting offenders who use drugs, away from a criminal conviction and put them into education or treatment options. Decriminalization largely applies to drug use and possession offences, not to the sale or supply of Narcotics drugs. As it removes the negative consequences associated with criminal convictions for drug use; decriminalization has the potential to reduce the burden on police and the criminal justice system.
Arguments in favour of Decriminalization
Arguments in favour of decriminalization include it focuses on Narcotics drug users rather than Narcotics drug suppliers, as decriminalization largely applies to drug use and possession offences, not to the manufacture, sale, or supply of drugs.
Through decriminalization or legalization, controls and prohibitions on drugs will help to keep prices higher, and higher prices will help to keep use relatively low. As drug use, especially among young people, is known to be sensitive to price increase in the price of drugs will trigger a decline in the use.
According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, overdose deaths from prescription drugs have reached “epidemic levels” and over 8,400 people died in Europe in 2015 of drug overdoses, even though a prescription is regulated in the United States. The people taking drugs will face major health problems and those who do not have health issues will get them if they do not stop taking drugs. Hence, Narcotics drugs should be decriminalized in such a way that they could be standardized and some enforcement mechanisms should be established for legal products.
Most of the time, it is seen that the arrests for violative acts were simply for possession of drugs. The decriminalization of drugs will give the police and the criminal justice system more bandwidth to spend their time searching for and arresting violent and dangerous criminals.
When the only place to purchase Narcotics drugs is on the streets, there is always a risk that the drug can contain harmful substances like mold or pesticides. By allowing the government to regulate the production, sale and more precisely, the use of the drug, there is less chance that a user may inadvertently ingest something poisonous.
Decriminalization of Narcotics drugs could be accompanied by more effective ways to rehabilitate and to support the addicts. If drugs are made legal, it would be easier to identify and treat people with addiction. Drug addiction will be treated as a medical issue, not an issue of criminal justice.
Arguments against Decriminalization
One argument against decriminalization is that it does not address the black market/dark web and other criminal networks of drug selling. There are also concerns that it may lead to increased drug use but this assumes that the current criminal penalties operate as a deterrent for some people.
The strongest argument against legalization is that it would result in significant increases in drug use and it would have an adverse impact on the health of the people using drugs. There is one another moral and righteous argument against legalization, that the use of illegal drugs is immoral, anti-social and otherwise not acceptable in today’s society. It may send a wrong message regarding the use of drugs.
Then, one can say that It is the right of every individual to decide whether to take drugs. Decriminalization of drugs will affect the personal freedom of a person.
Driving under the influence of drugs is just as dangerous as driving under the influence of alcohol. While having a high consumption of drugs, users may feel like they are perfectly capable of driving, the drug still messes with their judgment ability and reaction time. It can lead to a major danger to the other people on the road.
Another impact of decriminalization of drugs is that they are highly addictive, and addiction will become more strong by legalization. Making it legal will cause more people will consume it, especially the youth and they will become illicit dependent on the drugs. Similarly, decriminalization will not be able to stop the violence and social problems.
The use of illicit drugs is intended to provide for a change in some of the present drug policies. The use and abuse of drugs is a great health issue and cannot be solved without adequately considering the causes of drug abuse. Criminal law can only be a part of the solution, but it works effectively with psychological and medical training. The sole use of the criminal law in this regard may treat the problem, not cure. It has been argued that the decriminalization of drugs within a regulated market might be more suitable.