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NCJ Number: 119028 Find in a Library
Title: War Is Not the Answer
Journal: American Behavioral Scientist  Volume:32  Issue:3  Dated:(January/February 1989)  Pages:290-294
Author(s): K J Besteman
Date Published: 1989
Page Count: 5
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The public health approach to the drug problem in the United States promises to be more effective than current policies of escalating criminal sanctions and law enforcement efforts.
Abstract: A public health approach to the harmful use of illicit drugs would be based in solid research on the effects of various drugs on the human body over the short and long terms, with the results of the research communicated clearly and persuasively to the public so as to inform citizens' public health decisions and actions. The prohealth lifestyle movement is an outgrowth of the understanding that public health is the sum of a vast number of individual decisions and actions. The public has demonstrated its responsiveness to improving health practices. It has not demonstrated its approval of "war" against inanimate substances. The history of public health strategy is to understand with precision how and why a disease spreads. Emphasis is placed on how an individual can avoid the disease. Failing to avoid the disease, intense study is given to raising resistance to the disease. In the event all else fails, there is a major effort to treat the condition. U.S. policymakers have not pursued any of these alternatives. The addicted person's use of the drug has been defined as illegal, and evil characteristics have been attributed to the substances themselves. This approach is fostered by politicians, who persist in giving us more of the same failed strategy for addressing drug abuse.
Main Term(s): Decriminalization
Index Term(s): Crime specific law reform; Drug laws
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