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Reasons Against Legalizing Drugs and Prostitution - Paper Example

4 pages
916 words
Carnegie Mellon University
Type of paper: 
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Prostitution and drug abuse are two practices that negatively impact the society. Many governments globally have spent huge sums of money to regulate these trends that are increasingly becoming a norm in many communities. Street prostitution is slowly becoming a business activity in urban centers while substance abuse, on the other hand, has greatly affected youths worldwide. In the United States, both the Federal and State governments are continuously spending billions of dollars annually to curb substance abuse and prostitution, especially among young adults. Therefore, the government should not legalize these practices due to their adverse effects on the population. The paper discusses four economic reasons against prostitution and drugs.

Financial Costs

Governments spend a colossal sum of money in controlling prostitution and substance abuse. The cost of keeping prostitution illegals and enforcing prostitution law ranges from $ 5-20 million yearly. Among the typical costs include police costs for regular patrol in streets, incarceration costs, and court costs for arrested prostitutes. Additionally, the government spends money on corrections and health programs for prostitutes to undergo medical checkups and recognizance programs. These costs account for over $15 million annually which could have been used for other social activities. The pie chart below shows how sex trafficking is prevalent in the US.

Source: Femchat

Similarly, the government spends billions of dollars on costs of substance abuse. These include expenses related to health care, crime, and loss of productivity due to addictions to drugs. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIH), productivity losses are the significant expenses the government incur primarily from criminal activities and mortality losses. Additional money is spent on health care costs to treat cases of HIV/AIDS and other diseases among the drug users. Other costs include expenses for social welfare programs such as rehabilitation to assist the drug users. The costs of drug abuse are summarized in the chart below.

Source: Drug War Facts

Health Complications

Health risks is another reason that explains why prostitution and drugs should be illegal. Sex business attracts several health complications such as diseases, illnesses, and other disorders. HIV/AIDS is the primary health problem that occurs as a result of Prostitution and contributes to high mortality rates among the sex workers. Other than HIV, the sex workers may experience physical health consequences such as injuries due to violent customers. Eventually, it results in emotional problems like stress, trauma, and depression. This is summarized in the graph below.

Source: National Institute on Drug Abuse

Likewise, substance abuse has been proved to have significant health problems for the users. Drug abuse is the main source of spread of HIV/AIDS in the society and attracts other diseases such as hepatitis B and C, tuberculosis, and other infections. This contributes to high mortality and morbidity rates globally which costs the governments billions of taxpayers money. In the United States, the government is forced to fund prevention and treatment programmes for heroin, cocaine, and cannabis addicts. In the long run, economic growth will be affected due to overspending on social issues. The chart below shows effects of heroin use in America.

Source: Visually

Impact on Public Safety

Drugs and prostitution should not be legalized because they are the sources of crime and other safety issues in the society. Prostitution has mostly been associated with human trafficking whereby people are trafficked to work as prostitutes. Globally, about 30 million people have been trafficked to act as sex workers in foreign countries and have cost governments billions each year. In addition to that, prostitution is a victimless crime where victims are forced to engage in sadomasochistic sex scenes in exchange for little wages. The graph below shows the type of violence experienced by sex workers.

Source: Nordic Model

Drug abuse, on the other hand, is associated with violence that negatively impacts the economy. Cases of homicide, mugging, and economic-compulsive crime is on the rise due to substance use. In the United States, over 20% of prisoners cases are related to drugs and government is forced to spend massively to control systemic crimes. Other forms of public safety include impacts on the environment and public accidents caused by drug usage. The following chart show public safety issues brought about by drug abuse globally.

Source: Pew Research Centre

Impact on Productivity

Prostitution and drug abuse contribute to declining productivity in the economy. Employers and government institutions experience losses from labor non-participation and treatment of workers. Prostitution and other forms of the underground economy are responsible for the decline of public workers due to tax-free prostitution business. People prefer sex work because it attracts no taxes compared to formal employment. As a result, public and private productivity will significantly reduce, and employers are forced to spend on recruitment due to employee turnovers. This is shown in the pie chart below.


Just like prostitution, substance abuse contributes to high employee turnover which ultimately affects productivity in workplaces. For example, alcoholic and drug-addicted employees frequently miss their jobs or become sick at the workplace. They subsequently slow down key activities which eventually reduces the economic growth. In the US, labor non-participation costs over 1% of the countrys GDP, therefore, the government should not legalize prostitution and drugs to avoid these unnecessary costs. The chart below shows impacts of drugs on companys productivity.


Conclusively, drugs and prostitution should never be legalized in the US and other nations globally. As observed, they have adverse effects on the economy since they impact productivity and public safety. They also contribute to substantial financial costs and health complications that ultimately hurt the economy.

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