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Michael Huemer: “America’s Unjust Drug War” Essay

In the essay “America’s Unjust Drug War” by Michael Huemer, Huemer discusses the facts and opinions around the subject on whether or not the recreational use of drugs should be banned by law. Huemer believes that the American government should not prohibit the use of drugs. He brings up the point on drugs and how they harm the users and the people in the user’s life; he proves that the prohibition on drugs in unjust. Huemer believes that drug prohibition is an injustice to Americans’ natural rights and questions why people can persucute those who do drugs.

The most prominent argument against the use of drugs is the harm it has on the users. Although drug use is potentially very harmful to the users the government should not be allowed to prohibit people from harming themselves. Many things people regularly take part in are equally as harmful as drug use such as “smoking tobacco, drinking alcohol, eating too much, riding motorcycles, having unprotected or promiscuous sex…(Huemer, Para. 5).” There is no way that the government can prohibit all those acts for it is not any of their business. One might argue that drug use is more harmful then those acts, they would be wrong in most cases because all of those acts lead to death which is as harmful as you can get. The Office of National Drug Control Policy claims that drugs kill eighteen thousand Americans a year while tobacco kills four hundred and forty thousand Americans per year.

Another relevant statistic is obesity causes up to four hundred and twenty thousand deaths per year. Neither tobacco smokers nor obese people have been punished yet many drug users are imprisoned. Another point prohibitionists suggest against the use of drugs is that drugs harm one’s quality of life however many other things harm one’s quality of life such as dropping out of high school or working at the same job your entire life; all of these are choices people make and the only choice that is persecuted is doing drugs, the others are considered ridiculous to persecute. The money that drug users use on money is equivalent to those who gamble or spend it on frivolous things leaving both lives at smaller quality, yet the drug users are persecuted. Although the use of drugs has the same affects on other people’s life choices drug users are persecuted and people who make equally life-threatening choices are left to make those choices with no persecutions.

Another argument against the use of drugs is the harm it potentially has against the people around the users. People around drug users do have the potential to be harmed from them yet so do many other things; driving could potentially hurt people and many other things, yet anyone who has a license can drive a vehicle without being persecuted. Every choice in life has risks of hurting people yet the only one choice is persecuted; drugs. Although it seems absurd to punish people for being inconsiderate or making not so good choices the outcome of their choices on the public are similar to drug users.

If drugs are truly unjust then America has over four hundred and fifty thousand people in jail unjustly. They are not just being punished for no reason they are being punished for exercising their right as a human, making their own choices. Everyone has the right to choose to do drugs or not to do them. If there was a drug that took away the users freedom to make choices or to attack and hurt other people then the government could step in and help, however no drug exists that have that effects on people. The belief supporting that it is a human right to choose to do drugs comes from the idea that everyone owns their own body. So a person can make any choice as what they can do to their body, harmful or not. An example of this can be seen in the woman’s right to have or not have an abortion.

Some people believe it is the woman’s choice because it is her body but others believe she should not be allowed to because it hurts the fetus, which is potentially a live human. Most people support the belief that people have the right to choose what the do to their body however with this right you may not use their body to harm others. Prohibitionists argue that drug use is not ones right over their body because the drugs are making the choices and not the person freely, maybe it is not their fault they have abused drugs it could have been psychological compulsion or something similar. It is still unjust to persecute these people because they are not morally responsible for that choice. However if users do freely decide to use drugs then they are exercising their rights and the government has no right to interfere.

Overall Huemer looks at all the prohibitionists arguments that could be thought of and disproves their belief on the laws against drug use. Huemer believes it is a human right to choose to do drugs just as it is to eat whatever food you choose even if it makes you obese, or smoke as many cigarettes a day even though you will probably die, and the choice to have an abortion. With life you have many choices you can make and with that choice comes the chance of hurting yourself either physically or mentally as well as people that surround you. In conclusion Huemer fully disagrees with the prohibits on the use of drugs in America with his belief that the persecutions are fully unjust as well as inhumane with many people in jail because they chose to use drugs.


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