Should drugs be legalised in the UK?
Current Drug Situation in the UK
The main recreational drugs are found in today’s society are:
- Alcohol (legal after the age of 18)
- Tobacco (legal after the age of 18)
- Marijuana (grass, hash, pot, ganja, skunk)
- Inhalants or solvents (e.g. glue sniffing)
- Ecstasy (E, MDMA or 'pills')
- Cocaine and crack cocaine
People take drugs because they want to change something about their lives. People use drugs to feel good. For real, it does feel good because most drugs act directly on the limbic system, in the brain. At this point, it can be considered recreational use. Here are some of the reasons that young people take drugs:
- To fit in e.g. peer pressure
- To escape or relax
- To relieve boredom
- To seem grown up
- To rebel e.g. with parents
- To experiment
Young people are most at risk because they think drugs are a solution. They don’t have any knowledge of the consequences of taking drugs. They just want to change their situation and their life style. If they're depressed, they want to become happy. If they are stressed or nervous, they want to relax, and so on. By taking drugs, young people often think they can be the person they want to be. Therefore eventually, the continuation of taking drugs becomes the problem.
Young people have to remember that no matter what, drugs won't help them in any situation. Difficult as it may be to face the current problems, the consequences of drug use are always worse than the current problem one is trying to solve with them. If friends try to pressure into it say to them that they can ruin their bodies but they need to keep their own body away. Young people also have to remember that drugs won't help to change their life, not one bit. Therefore, the real answer is to get the facts, stand up to that negative peer pressure with high self-respect and confidence as well as have a group of friends who will encourage to resist an unhealthy lifestyle and be a positive influence and finally not to take or try drugs in the first place.
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Drugs are not all the same. Different drugs have different dangers associated with them.
- Some drugs (such as alcohol, heroin and tranquillisers) have a sedative effect which slows down the way the body and brain function. These sedative drugs can lead to fatal overdose if a lot is taken. They can also affect co-ordination making accidents more likely. Use of sedatives can also lead to physical dependence and withdrawal symptoms while others drugs like cannabis cannot.
- Other drugs (such as amphetamine, cocaine, crack and ecstasy) have a stimulant effect giving a rush of energy and making people more alert. These types of drugs can produce anxiety or panic attacks particularly if taken in large quantities. They can also be particularly dangerous for people who have heart or blood pressure problems.
- A third group of drugs (such as LSD and magic mushrooms, cannabis and ecstasy) have a hallucinogenic effect. This means they tend to alter the way the user feels, sees, hears, tastes or smells. These sorts of drugs sometimes produce very disturbing experiences and may lead to erratic or dangerous behaviour by the user, especially if they are already unstable.
Under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, illegal drugs are placed into one of 3 categories. Class A, B or C based on their harmfulness either to the user or to society when they are misused. The class into which a drug is placed affects the maximum penalty for an offence involving the drug e.g. Class A drugs attract the most severe penalty can be an unlimited fine and life in prison as they are considered likely to cause the most serious harm. Drugs controlled under the Misuse of Drugs Act are illegal to have, produce, give away or sell.
There the maximum penalties for drug possession, supply (dealing) and production depend on what type or ‘class’ the drug is.
Should the laws change in future?
The arguments for legalising drugs-
- People wishing to use drugs could do so without being a criminal
- Children would not come into contact with the criminal underworld like they do now; most people would have nothing at all to do with crime.
- Drug deaths and medical costs would decline radically because drugs would be quality controlled, and not mixed with harmful substances which cause most of the medical problems. 4.
- All the money made by drug dealers would stay in the mainstream of society, and not go to funding other criminal activities.
- Street crime would virtually disappear as well as streets would be safe again, with no need for gang wars over drug territories, etc.
- The growing division in our society between the police and people generally would reverse
- Instead of spending billions of pounds paid by taxpayers each year going to criminals, governments could collect taxes on drugs sold legitimately through off-licenses, drug stores and pharmacies.
The arguments against legalising drugs-
- Drug habit can be really expensive (up to hundreds of pounds per day!)
- Drug use can make one ill and an overdose can kill. Drugs are poisons after all.
- Drug use can cause to lose ability to remember things, to think clearly and to study properly.
- Drug use can also cause people to act in strange unpredictable ways.
- Anyone convicted of drugs offences will not be allowed entrance into some countries such as Japan, Canada and USA.
- Drug users often lose their enthusiasm for life, give up sports and hobbies etc for their habit.
- Criminals, who deal with drugs, terrorise ordinary people and society, using violence against anyone who tries to stop them.
- Abuse of drugs can lead to impotence in males. Abuse of drugs in females can affect unborn children, with the babies of drug addicts far more likely to be underweight.
I think the arguments against legalisation of drugs are stronger. It is because it highlights more danger than benefits to the society. Drug is a dangerous substance and cause many health problems, if overdose can cause death. People have a genuine concern about the danger of drug abuse to society and certain individuals. Drug users become more selfish in continuing their habit that has nothing to do with well-being of the society. Young people who are most at risk, will find it more difficult to buy drugs (drug dealers don't check ID, but liquor stores and pharmacies do). It will also prevent diseases such as AIDs, HIV by distributing clean and fresh meddles with legal purchase.
I am against legalising drugs in UK because I think illegal drugs aren't good for anyone, but they are particularly bad for a kid or teen whose body is still growing. It can damage their brain, heart, and other important organs. Cocaine, for instance, can cause a heart attack even in a kid or teen. While using drugs, a student is also less able to do well in school, sports, and other activities. It's often harder to think clearly and make good decisions. People can do dumb or dangerous things that could hurt themselves or other people, when they use drugs. As I have mentioned before some people take drugs to change the current trouble they are going through. But drugs won't solve their problems, of course. And using drugs often causes other problems on top of the problems the person had in the first place. A person who uses drugs can become dependent on them, or addicted. This means that the person's body becomes so accustomed to having this drug that he or she can't function well without it. Once a person is addicted, it's very hard to stop taking drugs. Stopping can cause withdrawal symptoms, such as vomiting sweating, and shaking. These sick feelings continue until the person's body gets adjusted to being drug free again.
While doing this assessment, my attitude towards the drugs stayed the same, negative. However, from researching, I picked up some interesting facts that I wasn’t aware of before. But, whenever I am in a dilemma about this topic, I always seek advice either from my parents or friends. But I think, I find friend’s advice more useful since they are the same age as me, they would understand the peer-pressure more than parents. They also know the situation more as well. With my parents, there is also the generation gap between my parents and me therefore, sometimes it’s hard for them to understand the situation I am in. Finally, in future, I would like to find out more about drugs through independent research which helps me to learn and remember the information as well.
Here's what a teacher thought of this essay
A good piece of work looking at whether drugs should be legalised in the UK. The writer gave some useful background information such as the types of drugs, though perhaps some figures regarding drug usage among young people in the UK would have been useful also. There were some comments that needed some supporting evidence, eg. the reasons why people take drugs, and I would advise against using ?slang? terms like ?kid? and ?for real?. On page 4, try to make the points related to the wider effects on society. There were a few odd grammatical errors which could be eliminated by careful proof-reading. 3/5