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Should We Legalize All Mind Changing Drugs?

2589 words - 11 pages

Should we Legalize all Mind Changing Drugs?

Mind-altering drugs have undoubtedly been a controversial topic in United States history. From medical to religious to traditional uses and from child neglect to homelessness to rising health care costs, mind-altering drugs have been at the forefront of America's concern in the war on drugs. All this in a country that prides itself on the pursuit of happiness and honoring the rights of the individual over the good of society. Should mind-altering drugs be legalized? This question, which must be answered to the satisfaction of the majority of society, prompts numerous valid points that must be examined without the influences of ...view middle of the document...

C., to create the first United States Pharmacopeia, a concise, comprehensive collection of known drugs (U.S. Food and Drug Administration [FDA], 2005). Any individual could sell a drug and claim it offered therapeutic benefits without medical proof prior to 1900. In 1906, the Pure Food and Drug Act required that drug manufactures state the content, strength and purity of each drug they produced. As a result, the common practice of including morphine, cocaine and heroin into medicines without the public’s knowledge ended (U.S. Food and Drug Administration [FDA], 2005). In 1914, the United States began to regulate the trade of narcotics with the Harrison Narcotic act. The Harrison Act ultimately made the non-medical use of morphine and cocaine illegal and criminalized an estimated 200,000 users of narcotics in the United States overnight (Inciardi, 1992). In 1938, The Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act was enacted which started a new system of drug regulation that required new drugs to be shown safe for humans before marketing (U.S. Food and Drug Administration [FDA], 2005).
Much later in the 1960s two laws were enacted in an effort to reduce drug abuse. In 1965, The Drug Abuse Control Amendments were enacted to help with problems caused by the abuse of depressants, stimulants and hallucinogens by awarding penalties for the illegal sale or possession of these drugs. The next year, a federal program was set up for addicts that provided violators the option of receiving treatment for drug addiction instead of a prison sentence in the Narcotic Addict Rehabilitation Act of 1966 (U.S. Food and Drug Administration [FDA], 2005). In 1970, the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act was passed establishing rules for manufacturing and prescribing habit-forming drugs. A United States Department of Justice law enforcement agency, called The Drug Enforcement Administration, was tasked with enforcing the Controlled Substance Act of 1970 (CSA) and ensuring that habit-forming drugs were not prescribed or sold illegally. The CSA became the legal basis by which the manufacture, importation, possession and distribution of certain drugs are regulated by the United States Federal Government. In addition, the CSA created a way to classify drugs into five schedules. The Department of Justice and the Department of Health and Human Services determine which drugs are added or removed from the various schedules (“Controlled Substance Act,” 2007). Classification decisions are made based on three criteria, potential for abuse, accepted medical use in the United States and potential for addiction (Ksir, Hart, & Ray, 2006, p. 67). Heroine, in addition to a large number of hallucinogenic drugs, such as LSD, psilocybin, psilocin, mescaline, peyote and DMT are considered Schedule I substances (U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration [DEA]). Schedule I substances have high potential for abuse, no currently acceptable medical use and lack accepted safety for...

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