Therefore, the number of heroin users will increase, as will the number of deaths from overdose. This is because today's drugs (not just heroin but also marijuana and cocaine) are much more potent. Those addicted to heroin will cease to be productive members of society and instead become a drain. Families will be devastated, causing incalculable harm. Weaning those addicts off heroin will often prove impossible. Musician Boz Scaggs (1999) recently wrote of his son, who got off heroin and had his life back in order. That changed when he decided to celebrate a new job with a hit of heroin, a hit that proved fatal. His story exemplifies the hold that heroin exerts over users. Do we really want more people in that drug's grasp?
Bureau of Justice Statistics. (1998, December 31). "Prison statistics." www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/prisons.htm
Incrementalism accurately describes the American approach to illegal drugs. The American drug culture flourished during the permissiveness of the 1960s and 1970s. That laissez faire attitude ended with the when President Reagan took office in 1981. His advisors recognized that the nation would not be receptive to an immediate get-tough policy on drugs, so they set about changing the climate.
Similarly, the legalization argument also fails in a rationalism model. This model applies reason to the facts to determine which course of action will net the greatest gain for society. In the case of drugs, reason tells us that legalization will lead to greater use. If the bar of illegality is removed, many people will be tempted to try the drug. Most will not become users, but some will, especially if the drug is highly addictive (such as heroin).
Scaggs, B. (1999, February 22). "My son's unfinished life¨and mine." Newsweek, p. 15.
Gray, M. (1999, May 27). "Texas heroin massacre." Rolling Stone, p. 32-36.
Heroin's increasing availability and ease of use attracted a new kind of drug user: upper-class and middle-cl