One major issue for Libertarians is drug usage. According to the official platform of the Libertarian party, they support the “repeal of all laws creating ‘crimes’ without victims”. Some examples they include are gambling, drugs, and sex work. The Libertarian Party wants to repeal all drug laws (among others) as they do not involve a victim. Two questions should arise from this: whether the usage and sale of drugs is a victimless crime and whether or not people should face consequences for selling drugs.
The Sale of Hard Drugs
Drug dealers often take advantage of the vulnerable of society to make a profit. They will get them hooked on a substance that will do terrible damage to their body. Many Libertarians will respond with the idea that people are making a choice about their body and that it only effects them. But this is a fallacy.
When people get hurt on drugs, it’s not only them who are harmed. What Libertarians seem to forget about are the people’s families who are involved in this. People who are addicted to drugs have a hard time functioning in society. Children would have to grow up with a parent(s) who are addicted to extremely dangerous substances. Children exposed to addiction early on are more likely to experiment with drugs at an early age. They are also more likely to experience anxiety, depression, and problems in school.
Worst of all are the instances when someone loses their life to an overdose. Again, some may think that there is no victim. But someone lost their life due to a substance they got hooked on. Furthermore, families lost a family member in this tragedy. How can they not be considered a victim?
A Drug Crisis
It is not news to anybody that the United States is facing an opioid crisis. A big reason for Trump’s proposed border wall was to prevent the flow of opiates into communities. In 2016 alone, there were 64,000 American deaths from opiates. That’s as many lives as the entire Vietnam war. That’s 64,000 people taken advantage of, and millions of family members who had to watch the loss of their loved ones.
Opioids alone cost the United States $78.5 billion a year. Regardless of one’s political opinion, it is clear that drugs are a problem in society. Moreover, it is foolish to call hooking people on drugs a “victimless crime”. So what role should the law play in this?
Many people may think that it is immoral to lock people up for being addicted to a substance. This is true. Rather than harsh prison sentences, society should help those on drugs. Simply consuming a hard drug should be decriminalized under the law. These people need rehabilitation, not punishment. Moreover, they themselves are victims. Being taken advantage of by dealers and having your life destroyed for the cartels to make a profit is victimization. Orphans who lost their mothers to a heroin overdose are indeed victims. Though not through blatant aggression, drug dealers took a life.
Suppose a factory worker who was injured in an accident while on the job. The conditions were not safe, and the employers knew it, but out of desperation, the man worked there. We would not punish the worker for getting harmed in an accident. However, we would, in fact, hold the owners of said factory liable. They did not aggress against anyone, but they are responsible for any death or injuries that occur.
So why doesn’t hold drug dealers to this same standard? They are aware of what they are doing and know the substance is harmful and addictive. True, they did not aggress against anyone, but their “product” ruins families and destroys communities. Dealers take advantage of the vulnerable of society and ruin their lives.
Some may think that because the user is consenting to the drug, that it is not a crime. But addiction is hard for people. People hooked on these substances may not be in the best state of mind. Moreover, the families who experience this pain did not consent. Legal action should be designed to prevent drugs from entering the country and community, and not punish the users, for they themselves are victims.
Hard drugs do not help society in any way. Rather drugs destroy individuals, families, communities, and even a nation. While the war on drugs has failed, the Libertarian idea of “minding your own business” will not help. However, any and all drug laws must be states’ issues, as laid out in the 10th Amendment. The states will know best what laws will help their respective communities.
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