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Failure of War on Drugs

Hodding Carter III, in "We're Losing the Drug War Because Prohibition Never Works," argues that the war on drugs is a failure and should be replaced with a policy which legalizes drugs. There are a number of problems with Carter's argument. He may understate the major problem associated with legalization (a rise in drug abuse), and fails to note at least one important argument for legalization (the shifting of funds from fighting illegal drugs to treating addicts). In addition, his arguments are not as fully supported by evidence as they might have been. Whatever power Carter's essay has is rooted in the emotional appeal he makes to the reader, but even in that case he could have been far more persuasive, especially after acknowledging that he is repeating arguments made earlier by others. He is likely aware that he is presenting his argument to an audience (American society) which is increasingly angered, frightened and frustrated by the apparent failure of the "war on drugs" and which wants something effective to be implemented. He is also probably aware that this society is disinclined to legalize drugs, especially cocaine and heroin, but he perhasps should have recognized that the emotional resistance to such legalization can best be met with an even more powerful emotional argument against continued prohibition and for legalization. It might also be argued that he presents a false dilemma---the choice between continued illegality or complete legalization. There may be some middle-ground between the two (decriminalization?), but perhaps he believes that such a third alternative would only be a temporary and perhaps confusing option leading ultimately to the legalization he desires. He relies on the audience's sense of values (that it is undesirable to be in a drugged state, that selling and using drugs are crimes and crime is undesirable, that corruption of public officials is undesirable), but he carefully avoids the contrary val...

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Failure of War on Drugs. (1969, December 31). In LotsofEssays.com. Retrieved 13:41, May 21, 2019, from https://www.lotsofessays.com/viewpaper/1701003.html