In the United States of America, we, the people value several things, some of which are freedom, expanding and taking care of our families and our financial security. We, the people, take such things for granted. We also discourage some behavior, such as crime, laziness and use of illegal drugs. Drug abuse is one of the most discouraged behaviors in our country. Use of illegal drugs is harmful to the userand all those with whom the user comes in contact. There are over 40 million illegal drug users in the world today and America is the biggest market for drugs1 . There are more drug dealers in this country, than there are dentists. Illegal drug abuse must be stopped; it hurts our society, hurts us, and, most of all, hurts the user. Drug users are parasites, feeding off society’s money, taxes and insurance. Every type of insurance goes up because of drug abuse, including auto, health and homeowners. Worst of all, the crime rate will sky rocket if we let this behavior continue. Illegal drugs and their abusers are a plague to society for many different reasons.. Drugs have very harmful effects on the user and the people with whom the user interacts. The user is affected in many ways. The most popular drug in America, alcohol, is generally thought of as socially acceptable and relatively harmless. But it can have devastating effects. Alcohol might seem very harmless but it can harm the user very easily. Alcohol is easy to obtain and consume. It is taken as a beverage and, since it is legal, it can be purchased at the corner store. The immediate effects on the user are relaxation and a slight anesthetic effect. Alcohol is a very addictive drug. There are more than 18 million alcoholics in America2 , an indication of how widespread its harmful effects are. Alcoholics normally drink a lot on mornings and weeknights, at times which separate them for noraml "social" drinkers. Often, the alcohol will bring out a violent temper and often, alcoholics abuse, physically and mentally, their friends and family. Drinking makes the drinker feel he is more confident. The drinker thinks he is in control, even if a little high, and he might get behind the wheel of his car and go for a drive. Drunk driving is deadly. Hundreds of thousands of people get killed every year due to drunk driving. Other physical effects of drinking are vomiting, passing out and sometimes, if enough alcohol is consumed over a long enough period of time, or if mixed with other drugs, death. Marijuana is a popular, and illegal, drug. Its largest consumers are young adults. Marijuana is smoked in a pipe or rolled in a cigarette. Thirty-seven percent of people between ages 12-17 have tried marijuana.3Marijuana gives a slight buzzing feeling of light-headedness. Experimentation with marijuana is dangerous because studies show that 60% of people who smoke marijuana on a regular basis move on to try harder drugs soon after.4 Marijuana tends to diminish the ambition and motivation in the user. In the long run, it may cause lung cancer and otherrespiratory problems. Cocaine is another popular, illegal, street drug. Cocaine is snorted or smoked as " crack"(a cheaper and, as a result of being so affordable, more addictive way). Cocaine gives the user a sense of well-being and extra energy. Cocaine is one of the most dangerous drugs. In 1995, over 500,000 emergency room accidents were cocaine- related.5 Cocaine is one of the worst drugs because it causes respiratory illness and kills mucus membranes. Heroin is the most addictive dangerous illegal drug on the streets. You’ll become a so- called "junkie" if you use it. It affects the hygiene and personal appearance of the user a great deal, because nothing is as important to the user anymore as where that next hit will come from. Heroin is injected and sometimes snorted. It causes great euphoria, but also nausea and vomiting. Like any street drug, its user does not know what potency he is getting from batch to batch. Therefore, there is always the risk that he will overdose and die. Withdrawal from heroin can cause severe illness and death. Drug abuse leads to all sorts of other crimes. Drug addicts need money to support their habits, and all users, addicts or casual users, are careless and reckless when under the influence. Drug users commit property crimes, such as robbing a house or a store. Drug users also commit personal crimes, like mugging, armed robbery and even murder. Drug use, itself, can be a crime. It makes innocent citizens scared to walk out of their own homes, in their own neighborhoods. Drug abuse is a plague to society. Drug abuse drains society’s resources by requiring that taxes be spent on funding enforcement agencies, educational programs and treatment facilities and on prosecution of drug users and dealers. Drugs hurt future generations of citizens, because drug abuse, particularly of marijuana, is predominantly a problem among teens and teens are our future. Our society is hurt economically because every year millions of American dollars leave this country illegally, invested in places such as Turkey and Colombia, as a result of Americans trafficking in the drug trades of those countries. Drug abuse must be stopped. We should attack the supply and demand. We should keep drugs from entering the country and incarcerate dealers and smugglers. To attack the demand, we should educate young people on the risk of bodily harm, mental harm and the damage to family and relationships. Legalization of some less harmful drugs, such as marijuana, might help reduce the crimes associated with them, but it would be hard to regulate and legalization would only eliminate some of the direct criminal results, not the actual harm of the drug. Drug abuse is a plague to society and must be stopped. It is hurting our country by causing increased crime and soaring insurance rates, stealing tax dollars, hurting families, and hurting children. If fighting drug abuse were made a top priority, we could probably wage an effective war, through education and enforcement of laws, to stop drugabuse.