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Topic 4 Soft and Hard Drugs: a necessary distinction?

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Argumentative text: Michele Pintus

Soft and Hard drugs : a necessary distinction?


Why should we differentiate those so called “soft” from “hard” drugs? First of all it could be appropriate to define what these sort of substances are;usually a soft drug is described as the opposite of a Hard drug whose effects are generally more dangerous in terms of psychophysical addiction and health damages.Examples of hard drugs include heroine, morphine, cocaine, methamphetamine, benzodiazepines, alcohol, and nicotine(tobacco). On the other hand, cannabis( marijuana and hashish), LSD, MDMA, and caffeine are normally classified among the soft drugs.The question is: can we rank drugs into two different groups?

I am utterly convinced that we should not do that; as a matter of fact, even if we keep on talking about drugs(which is a controversial topic in a moral sense), we are speaking about the same substances.For instance, we could compare the assumption of an heroine or a cocaine dose with that of a cannabis: What can be the result in assessing the effects? A lot of studies and research came up with remarkable differences if the health damage and addiction is considered.Nevertheless, there are not absolutely strong positions in a lot of studies and academic surveys regarding to the most dangerous or the less harmful substance. The only clear evidence is that almost every kind of drugs is not healthy at all.

In fact, if we just looked at this matter from another point of view, we could change our minds: according to recent investigation taken by “The Ministerial drugs Commission” of Great Britain, usually considered soft drugs such as cannabis have a less power in terms of psychophysical dependence but a high cancer potential( compared with another soft drug like tobacco). Besides, we can consider all the studies done over the negative effects which a long period consumption of cannabis could bring about on damaging or killing the neurons.

Moreover, what about tobacco and its serious harmful effect? And,finally, what could we say about a disease like cirrhosis which can affect in cases of alcohol abuse?Of course, we are discussing a topic which involves health implications but I think that everyone should decide what to do with his/her own body and life.Probably, in the majority of the cases, a person who uses drugs or abuses alcohol is not aware of the risks and dangers, but it is still his/her life. I would say that there is no need to classify drugs into two different categories; in one or in another sense, you are going to get damaged if you assume this kind of substances. So why should a government forbid smoking cannabis while allow you to smoke cigarettes or to drink alcohol freely? Are not they both harmful in their nature? In another recent survey reported in the British scientific magazine “the Lancet” alcohol and tobacco are ranked in the top-ten of the most noxious substances( even very close to heroine and cocaine.

It seems to me hypocritical to choose what to prohibit and what to liberalize(as also politician are very often drug consumers). Discussing this topic with a colleague of mine, he said he was against this point of view because of the social risks which a liberalized drug system could produce.He was speaking about the case of driving under the effects of drugs. But I thought that this kind of things already happens everyday, even if it is forbidden; as Human-kind, we are likely not to be ready for this kind of “free system”,but I’m still convinced that everyone should have the possibility of doing whatever he/she wants without, of course, damaging others around him/her. Indeed it seems a utopia, and probably it is; but maybe a plain utopia is better than a trivial hypocrisy.

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