Here's an interesting BBC documentary about the meth situation in California-
Now, after you watch this, ask yourself: what would the legalization of drugs do for the people that you see in this documentary?
Will it bring back the mothers who abandon their children to grandparents and Child Protective Services?
Will it make homes safer and cleaner?
Will it improve family life so that parents attend to their children's needs?
Will it stabilize marriages and decrease domestic violence?
Will it reduce the levels of addiction?
Will it prevent drug-addled minds from making horrid and depraved decisions?
The folks who advocate for the legalization of drugs tend, for the most part, to focus in on the criminal aspects of drug culture having to do with dealing and distributing, forgetting that this is only a small part of the social costs of addiction.
The real costs are far worse.
Drug use smashes families, and leaves society to clean up the mess. Only society cannot replace parents... moms and dads. All the rest of us can do is baby-sit. Then, these children raised without nurturing parents become all the more vulnerable to becoming addicts themselves.
Let's also face the fact that legalization won't make drugs any less addictive.
Sure, you can stop arresting dealers, and provide clean needles... but are you going to make the drugs free themselves? If you aren't, then be prepared: drug-related crime will continue as you saw in the video. After all, addicts need to feed the addiction, law or no law. They can choose to be unemployed and collect benefits (the harm reduction model), but are you going to pay for their habits as well?
Then what happens when the addict has a child? Forget the social costs: an addict cannot love a child, but that does not mean that the child does not stop needing to be loved... by a mother AND a father capable of being present and... drum-roll please... sacrificing their self-wills and desires to show this love.
The sad truth is that our half-cocked 'War on Drugs' still has a lot of enabling in it because we, as a society, have bought into the notion that parents are replaceable, and so addicts know that they can be replaced, and they come to depend on it. We have become a Codependent Society.
How did we handle the idea of irresponsible parenting before the Codependent model came into being? It was the 'Poor House,' where families were sent until they could be 'rehabilitated' in the sense that mom and dad would demonstrate their willingness to work hard enough to get out of it. Or, you and your children starved on the side of the road. Sounds dreadful? It sure was!
However, so is growing up in a house where meth rules. Yes, we have done a fabulous job of keeping people from physically starving, but we have an emotional famine in this land, where too many children are raised not only without spirituality (thus left yearning for God, causing them to act out in all manner of ways), but without essential parental affection.
Legalization just makes it easier for parents to press the 'eject button' on their responsibilities. For my part, I don't think that is a very good idea.
It is hard to see this is an era of easy divorce and easy marriage. You see, marriage is pretty easy these days. Couples are more worried about whether they can afford to have a big wedding and a few kids than whether they can literally survive as a family. Survival is no longer a component to modern marriage, and so we now base it on how we feel. And, when the feelings change, we divorce. Then, kids go this way and that, and the cycle of abandonment starts.
If you go to enough 12 Step meetings, you know how many addiction sagas began with these abandonments. There's the foundations of the disease for many right there in modern marriage and the age of the Velcro Family, which has now reached its apogee in the 'Gay Marriage' movement and the final breakdown of parental identity: mom and dad are just options, because marriage is not about family, but about sex. Children are just upgrades and accessories, and their needs come last after the 'couple' decide what their definition of the household will be. Change your mind? No worries... you can bail out at any time and start all over.
The kids will 'adapt.'
It is this dystopian nightmare that is our reality, and this is why the 'legalization' debate is simply too narrow in its scope. It does not take in all of the factors, but zeroes in on 'crime' or 'harm reduction' or 'personal choice.' The way I see it, until you can give children the 'personal choice' to be born or not born (paging Dr. Plato) into a family with an addicted, or an immature and reckless, parent, then choice is really a bad argument to base legalization on. Children don't choose to be born. We choose to get married and sex, but once that choice is made you terminate your freedoms unless you are willing to take, or at least botch, another human life.