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NCJ Number: 119024 Find in a Library
Title: American Drug Policy and the Legalization Debate
Journal: American Behavioral Scientist  Volume:32  Issue:3  Dated:(January/February 1989)  Pages:complete issue
Editor(s): J A Inciardi
Date Published: 1989
Page Count: 105
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Eight articles examine issues pertinent to a national policy for combatting drug abuse, with attention to the debate on the legalization of currently illegal drugs.
Abstract: The opening article reviews American drug policy, considers the evidence of its impact and effectiveness, and presents background information for the debate on the legalization of drugs. The next article discusses the decriminalization of marijuana, arguing that the total prohibition of marijuana pursues unachievable objectives through previously failed policies while its decriminalization can encompass achievable objectives using previously successful models as guides. An article on the practical politics of drug policy reform argues for greater controls on the sale and consumption of currently legal drugs, especially alcohol and tobacco, and fewer controls on currently illegal drugs. An article which opposes the legalization of currently illegal drugs reasons that legalization would create behavioral and public health problems to a degree that would far outweigh the current consequences of the drug prohibition. An article opposing the concept of a "war" on drugs favors a public health approach to the drug problem, which would rely on education (based on solid research) for prevention and treatment. Another article reviews relevant history and data as the basis for suggesting that a solution to the drug problem is possible only if the two principal drug industries, tobacco and alcohol, change their goals and ways of doing business. A commentary on all the articles favors the continuation of the current criminalization policy but criticizes the current emphasis on the supply side of the drug market at the expense of the demand side that concerns prevention and treatment. Article tables, notes, and references. For individual articles, see NCJ 119025-29.
Main Term(s): Decriminalization
Index Term(s): Crime costs; Crime specific law reform; Drug laws; Drug use
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