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Direction: The critical reasoning question is based on short arguments, a set of statements, or a plan of action. For each question, select the best answer of the choices given and explain why the chosen answer is the right fit.

Statement: Being a country with significant volumes of licit and illicit drug cultivation, a transit route as well as a consumer market, India’s drug policy dilemmas span ‘demand’ and ‘supply’ control. The government has imposed strict laws to prosecute the dealers, in an effort to curb drug abuse. However, such an initiative is unlikely to be effective. Prosecuting dealers will lead to a shortage of drugs. At the same time, because no efforts are being taken to curb demand, drugs will be sold at a premium, attracting more people to the very remunerative job of drug dealing. Therefore, to effectively reduce drug abuse, the government will have to prosecute drug users and not dealers.

Which of the following is the most relevant information in evaluating the credibility of the argument?

1. Whether efforts have been successfully taken in any other country to regulate drug users.
2. Whether the payoffs from selling drugs outweighs the severity of the punishment.
3. Whether drugs will continue to be sold at a premium when there are dealers in the market again
4. Whether the majority of the users will be willing to pay a premium to continue to use the drugs.
5. Only 1 and 2.

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Correct Answer - Option 4 : Whether the majority of the users will be willing to pay a premium to continue to use the drugs.

The argument in question is:  the government should lay more emphasis on prosecuting drug users than drug dealers

Here we are trying to identify the option which supports the above-mentioned argument strongly.

Option A can be eliminated because what worked in other countries need not necessarily work in this one.

Option B can be eliminated because if the payoffs are outweighing the punishment, that would mean that there would be more dealers involved in drug dealing.

Option C does not evaluate whether drug abuse would reduce or increase. What needs to be evaluated is drug usage and not drug dealing. For similar reasons, option E can also be eliminated. Keeping track of new dealers does not necessarily keep track of drug dealing or usage.

Option D evaluates the argument because the author’s primary argument against the government’s actions is that the current efforts will not curb drug usage, and that sale of drugs will continue happening at a premium. However, if most drug users do not wish to pay the premium charged, then the sale and usage of drugs will come down and the government’s current measures will prove to be effective enough.

So, Option D is the correct answer.

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