Legalization gives formal legal weight to the notion that drug use is an acceptable activity, which is exactly the wrong message to send to people who are not aware of the risks associated with using drugs. Drug use is intrinsically dangerous and should not be normalized. Many drugs are highly addictive and prolonged use can result in cognitive impairment and cause or exacerbate mental illness. Drugs can also have both acute and chronic effects on the body, causing problems from tooth decay to heart attacks, and overdosing can be fatal. Young people are especially vulnerable to the effects of drugs, as they can slow or irreparably alter brain development. The illegality of drugs serves as a powerful warning and a practical and logistical protection from the many harms caused by drugs, and legalization would expose the most vulnerable members of our society to those dangers.
[P1] Drugs cause immense harm to their users. [P2] Legalizing drugs would signal that drug use is considered acceptable by the government. [P3] The government legalizing drugs is sanctioning the harm drugs cause.