People have the right to ingest whatever substances they want, and it's not the government's business to tell them otherwise.
There can be an argument for that. For instance, I would not appreciate the government regulating how much I'm allowed to eat every day simply because eating too much might make me fat.
Yes, people should have control over their lives, and that would mean that people should be allowed to destroy themselves if they so wish. But I have to ask: do you enjoy footing the bill for the irresponsibility of your fellow man?
How many hard core drug addicts do you know are able to hold a steady job? Addicts have jobs, but they are more likely to land themselves in unemployment-land. And if they have children, guess who gets to pay their bills and their rent? You, the tax payer, because those unemployed addicts will go on welfare.
Just as well, there IS such a thing as drug violence that has nothing to do with gangs or organized crime. Do we really believe that no one has ever killed someone because they didn't have enough money to get their next fix? Drug addicts have never committed robberies or anything like that? I guess we're just supposed to believe that junkies are really just kind-hearted, docile people who keep to themselves.
Well, if you believe that, then keep living in Candyland while the rest of us try to deal with the destructive reality of drug abuse.
So yes, philosophically, people should retain the right to destroy themselves. But since humans do not live in individual vacuums, self-destruction often has an associated cost to the ones they love and to society as a whole. So no: drug abuse is not a victimless crime.
Drug laws carry stiff penalties that ruin lives.
When I was a job coach, I knew a guy who had served 5 years in prison for a drug charge. He is a hard worker, and he would be successful in anything he does. But of course, because he has a felony drug charge on his record, he has a hard time finding a job.
What I found interesting about this man is how he approached his situation. He never once said to me that the drug laws are unfair. He never once told me that he thinks drugs should be legalized, and that he is somehow a victim of an unfair system. Instead, he took responsibility for his actions and expressed his eternal wish that he never sold drugs in the first place.
Selling drugs is like giving a kid a gun. It's irresponsible. It's immoral. Drug dealers enable addicts to feed their addiction and further destroy their lives. They profit off of the misery of others. Forgive me for being a "moralist," but I think it's safe to say that there is something very wrong with that.
So do I think it's wrong to severely punish someone who makes his money by contributing to the addition of destruction and misery to the world? No. I'm going to go on record here and say this: drug dealers are scum, and the ones who are caught are justly punished.
A drug dealer actively contributes to the ruination of lives, so why shouldn't his life be ruined in return? I subscribe to the notion of Aristotelian justice: render unto each what each is due. If you help someone destroy his life, then you can't cry when your life is destroyed in return.
That's not moral absolutism (in case anyone is confused). That's justice.