U.S. Citizens dispute drug prohibition

The Controlled Substances Act of 1971 banned the use of narcotics, depressants, stimulants, hallucinogens, and anabolic steroids to categorize regulated drugs based on their potential for abuse. 

In 2020 the state of Oregon passed Measure 110 and decriminalized the use and possession of controlled substances – punishable by a $100 fine – such as LSD, methamphetamines, heroin, cocaine, and other substances. Spearfish police officer, Justin Mowery stated, “It keeps people from seeking out help, from telling their doctors, from telling their family members that they have a problem.”

Oregon has already set aside $318 million for the 2021-2023 cycle of the Drug Treatment and Recovery Fund to support drug recovery health care treatments. Being able to help these individuals that have substance abuse problems is the problem. Many people with substance issues are hiding in the shadows due to punishable acts of their addiction. Loosening the laws on these types of “criminal” acts is what America needs to win the war on drugs. Oregon has set an example for the rest of the U.S. by uplifting drug prohibition and stopping the war on drugs. 

Problems from the war on drugs can be represented by looking at the intersectionality of drug offenses and racism. Races within the U.S. Citizens of color are more likely to be searched, arrested, and given jail time for drug-related offenses. “Ending the war on drugs will decrease the prejudice within the police force and drug-related crime, but also allow police forces to spend more energy on helping build healthier communities.” Commented Nate Butts, African American Coach and Postgrad Sociologist at Black Hills State University.

The Drug Policy Alliance notes that almost 60 percent of people in state prisons for drug offenses are Black or Latino. Disproportionate arrests due to drug-related crime are seen in the incarceration rates across the U.S. One in nine Black children has one or more parents in incarceration, compared to the one in every 57 children of the Caucasian race. Drug offenses and racism intersectionality problems could be solved by taking action of lifting the drug prohibition.

Prosecuting people for drug-related crimes is expensive. Decriminalization would put tax money to better use. Local taxpayer Sean Badwound said, “If I am paying my taxes they better go to good use, not to throw more people in jail.” 

Lifting drug prohibition means more money for the state or nation. Jeffery Miron, Harvard economist, calculated drug prohibition-related crimes cost about $47.8 billion in 2018. Drug decriminalization could accumulate up to $106.7 billion for federal, state, and local governments. More than double the cost for the war on drugs in 2018 alone. 

Cannabis tax revenue in Colo. contributes to state education, health services, and youth-drug prevention programs. Legalizing the use of controlled substances has a history of positive outcomes in the state’s economy.

Lifting drug prohibition from the Controlled Substances Act of 1971 is nothing but beneficial. Individuals are considering the idea of loosening the laws to drug-related crime, as a step forward into the future. Jimmy Carter quoted, “Penalties against the possession of a drug should not be more damaging than the use of the drug itself.” 

The United States has the largest international student body in the world with over 1 million students every year. According to the Institute of International Education, about 5 percent of all students in the U.S. are international students. 

Black Hills State University is no exception, as it has students from 21 different countries. This is great for American students since not many will be able to travel abroad, and they can experience communication with people from other cultures right here in Spearfish. Still, the transition for international students can be difficult.

One of the new international students from Georgia, Luka Londaridze said, “There are a lot of differences, most of them are pretty hard to get used to.” 

Moving across the world to study in the United States is not easy, students must overcome many hurdles such as immigration and work-study permission. They must be able to understand the language and basically convert to the ways of their new country. Students have to leave their family and friends behind and try to make new friends in a country with a different mentality than their own. 

Londaridze said, “My parents were worried for me, and when I become homesick, I miss my grandparents.” But he also said his outgoing personality helped him make friends in his new home. 

Londaridze also noted one of the biggest differences in mentality is that he felt that communication isn’t the same in his new country as it is in Georgia. He felt like he has to watch his speech more in the U.S. than he does in Georgia, for example, he needs to always make it clear if he makes a joke so that nobody gets offended. 

Still the exchange programs are great for the international students because they get to experience “small town” America and American culture.

Moving to a new country can be difficult but it is a great way to see the outside world and see how other societies run. It is also great for native born students because they can learn new ideas from their international peers. 

The best way for you to see what is good or bad about your country is to go to another one. The best way to learn new ideas to make a better society is to meet others from a different society.