My claim is that heroin should continue to remain illegal.
Here’s the few considerations that I’ve found levied in favour of the opposite position:
1. You want to take heroin.
2. Legalizing heroin opens it up to regulation and safer use.
3. Legalizing heroin would deflate the power of drug gangs.
The broader topic is about the reason why anything should be illegal, in the first place. Perhaps someone will want to argue that nothing should ever be illegal, and if so, then I’ll have to scrap my argument---but for now, let’s assume that there is some reason why laws exist. So, what’s that reason?
Let’s take a principle that I think both sides can agree upon, (unless the other side consists of lawless anarchists). It’s something like J.S. Mill’s principle in On Liberty: (1) No substance or act should be illegal just because it harms the individual, but (2) if some act or substance causes harm to other people, then society can rightly exercise control over that individual—to prevent harm to others—and one means of doing that is the law and the corresponding penalties of breaking it. This is the Harm Principle.
Or we could just do it straight up Utilitarian style. (A law is justified when it maximizes pleasure or minimizes pain). But these first principles won’t always yield the same deductions. And the consensus in the opposite camp seems to be the former principle, since I’m not aware of someone arguing that even a single bout of heroin, withdrawal included, is on balance good, though there’s a few hours of good feeling. My experience is that high highs are accompanied by low lows. Physiologically, maybe the science bears that out, maybe not.
In any case, I’m happy to commit my conclusions to either first principle. It’s just hard to do a utilitarian style cost-benefit analysis—since none of you give any facts, just anecdotes, and nor do I plan to initiate that. Without any facts, let’s cast some doubt on the reasoning of your points taken together. So, there's not so much going to be a positive case, on my side, as much as I want to point out the poverty of what has been said on the other side. First, point 2…
Legalizing heroin means you can control and regulate it. This point is nice because it doesn’t seem to assume that doing heroin is a good thing at all, (though it wouldn’t take much for me to push your back against that wall). This could just be a case of minimizing a bad thing. Suppose you could only get heroin by prescription from a doctor, (as if there was a disease for which it was the cure). Then people will still go to drug dealers to get heroin. Suppose what you really want are safety labels on heroin containers—odd, but you can already find proper use instructions. Google it. Suppose you want to know exactly what’s in what you’re getting, so that you’re not snorting up crushed Tylenol and whatever chemicals it has been cut with. If you don’t like the quality of what your dealer is selling, or if he doesn’t have the transparency in his business practices that you want, as a customer, then don’t buy the product…
Your response here will either assume that you want to buy the product (point 1). Or else you’re concerned about others who are buying the product (this is point 3). Fine, but recognize that point 2 is a subsidiary one that will fall back on either point 3 or point 1—it doesn’t and can’t stand on its own.
Take point 1. You want to buy safe, clean heroin. You would have to make the case either that doing so doesn’t harm other people, or that the harm is outweighed by the greater good, depending on which first principle you go in for. Either case is going to be tough to make when you do a study of any sample of people who do heroin. And I’m not aware of anybody having made either case in this thread. The most that has been said is that someone did it once and it was stupid, destructive, and fun. Congrats.
Why don’t we just ban cigarettes then? They cost a ton of health care tax dollars and yada yada. A few possible responses are available to me. Perhaps we should ban cigarettes, or perhaps cigarette users die at a younger age which ultimately saves the health care costs associated with a longer and slower death, and this balances out the costs of tobacco related illness. I choose neither of those responses. My response is that you are making the perfect the enemy of the good. For example, I should workout and eat healthy. I cannot eat healthy, therefore I should not workout. Is that your reasoning?
Maybe you want to say that your point is not so much that you want to buy heroin, as that you are concerned about the state of people who do buy heroin. Points 1 and 3 really fit oddly together, since when they are put together you would seem to be concerned about users, and also desirous of becoming a user. So, let’s pull the points apart, and just focus on 3.
Drug gangs are a problem for a host of reasons, not the least of which is the lack of transparency in their business practices. Two options: have government sell their product for them, or jail and kill them. If you want government to sell their product for them, then you have to argue either that heroin use doesn’t harm others, or that it’s for the greater good. Nobody has argued for the former, and we’ve seen what happens to the latter (point 2). And since we’ve separated points 1 and 3, we can add to the case the consideration that jailing drug dealers, and reducing the possibility of doing heroin in the first place, may be more effective than making a bad product freely available.
These reflections aren’t a positive case for the status quo, but I think they go toward showing the so far poor case made on behalf of the opposite position. Maybe what remains now is to do a study of how heroin affects you, and we can look at some data on how heroin affects people who use heroin. I'm not sure how it will turn out, but it doesn't look good for you, even if you personally are capable of cutting off your dick and thinking it worked out for the better.