I am of the belief that we should have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness even if that pursuit is of self destruction. That leaves me to naturally lean toward legalization of all drugs.
That out of the way, I cannot help but reflect upon my youth and the days when heroin was rampaging through the streets of NYC before the War On Drugs. I cannot help but reflect on my studies of history where opium dens infected our society like a plague. True, many of those people self destructed and did not harm anyone other than themselves and their families who grieved their loss. But if living through the crack 80's taught me anything, it taught me that children are the real victims of drugs run rampant and they have no free will in the game. And quite often their right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is denied them by their addict parents.
I am no paranoid person that thinks if drugs were legalized that EVERYONE would be on drugs (a la "Refer Madness") or even worse that everyone would be on Meth, Crack and Heroin... But I know MORE people would be on drugs period and EVEN MORE would be on the hard stuff and the ramifications of that would be felt exponentially by the public.
I am familiar with the concept of legalize and tax the hell out of drugs so we can create a rehab safety net industry to help all the addicts when they decide to course correct... But if you tax it enough to support such an industry, you create a black market which puts us right back where we are today. And as we know the higher the cost of the drugs, the greater the crimes needed to raise the capital to obtain those drugs.
I do not like the War On Drugs... Hell, I HATE the war on drugs. But my hatred of a world where drugs have run amok is just as intense. I just don't think a quick, simple, easy answer exists. Too many people think legalization is that silver bullet or magic pill... I don't see it. War, no war, legal, illegal... It is all fucked!!!