According to Lily: the Decriminalization and Legalization of Hard Drugs

Lily Ives, Editor in Chief

The past week has been a rollercoaster, to be frank.

It’s safe to say that the election has caused such extreme levels of stress that I feel my head is going to explode. As of Nov. 10, Trump is still won’t concede and is still trying to sue states. But besides that, there have been a number of new laws enacted and propositions passed in all the states. Perhaps one of the most shocking was the state of Oregon decriminalizing hard drugs, such as meth and heroin. I have some strong feelings about this (I know, not a big surprise), but let’s explain what this means first.

The official measure states that smaller amounts of drugs like meth and heroin will be decriminalized, which basically means that people won’t be arrested, but will rather pay fines or go to a state-run recovery center. A number of other places, such as Portugal, have already done similar things and there hasn’t been a spike in drug usage. 

I have been arguing for this concept for years, and it’s something I truly believe in. I think that when hard drugs aren’t a criminal offense anymore, then people are far more likely to get help, because there isn’t that risk of going to prison due to a drug problem.

There would also most likely be a downturn in the amount of people in prison, especially black men, due to the number of people incarcerated for drug possession. It could help start to make a dent in the horrific and uncountable problems that the U.S. prison system has.  

Decriminalizing hard drugs would also help to start to eliminate some of the stigmas around drug usage and addiction. Largely, drug addicts are blamed and looked down upon for having a problem, even though addiction is a mentally-created issue, rather than a personal decision. Eliminating this stigma would make it easier to talk about addiction, on a large scale, but also just with loved ones who may have problems. 

My hope is that this initial move will bring other states to follow suit and that drug addiction can be a problem that is properly attacked and dealt with, not like the war on drugs of the past. I know not everyone sees the benefits of this movement, but I truly think that it will only improve life for people who have problems that they can’t fix with the current laws.