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If you ask the average man on the street what America's current greatest problem is, chances are many people will say illegal drugs. The "war on drugs" began several decades ago but law enforcement has not seemed to be able to make a dent in drug distribution and use. The age when children first use drugs is becoming lower and lower as well. Like any major problem, people disagree on what solution we should take. "More than half of the public worried that a family member might become addicted, and an overwhelming majority says the government is not doing enough to address the problem."
President Nixon first used the term "war on drugs" to describe his administration's stance on reducing the supply and demand of illicit narcotics. However, many people believe rather than waging a "war" on drugs, we should simply legalize them. Proponents of this solution say that "like the ending of the prohibition on alcohol, [legalization] would undercut drug gangs and allow the nation to focus on drug abuse as a medical problem." They point to European countries that have already tried to legalize certain drugs such as the Netherlands. However opponents of this solution point to "Needle Park" in Zurich, Switzerland that became overrun with dealers and addicts after the country decided to legalize drugs as an experiment.
Rich Steve of the TV travel show, Rich Steve's Europe wrote an interesting article about drug policy in Europe as compared to the US. He points to the different viewpoints between the two as the US viewing drugs as a moral and legal issue while Europe considers them a health issue. Mr. Steve cites the US's failure on drugs due to the fact the number of addictions has not changed in the US since 1971. Conversely he points to the creative solutions different countries in Europe are taking against drugs, such as providing free "drug clinics" where people can get help for their addiction or providing a free, controlled source of drugs for addicts to help them manage their addiction. "Switzerland is particularly innovative. Last time I was in Zürich, I noticed blue lights in the public toilets. Why? Junkies can not find their veins … When it comes to drug policy, the goal in Europe is simple: pragmatic harm reduction … Europe respects the intellect of its society by tackling its drug problem thoughtfully … by embracing honest disc that earns the trust of the people who need help. Rather than being "hard on drugs," Europe chooses to be " smart on drugs. "