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NCJ Number: 128529 Find in a Library
Title: Hidden Dangers of the Drug War
Journal: Journal of State Government  Volume:63  Issue:2  Dated:special issue (April-June 1990)  Pages:43-45
Author(s): D F Musto
Date Published: 1990
Page Count: 3
Type: Survey
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Attitudes toward drugs have changed since the war on drugs began in the late 1960's, and the momentum has shifted from a search for new drug experiences to a fear of drugs' effects on the body and mind.
Abstract: The time required for attitudes toward a drug like cocaine to change, however, can be frustratingly slow. Cocaine's effects on users often create the stereotype of the crazed "dope fiend," impulsive violent behavior and bizarre paranoid thinking. Attitude changes in the drug epidemic, from seeing a drug as valuable and safe if used with expertise to seeing it as dangerous in any amount, are fundamental in reducing demand. The recent National Household Survey reports a decline in casual drug use of 37 percent during the past 3 years. This drop appears to reflect a change in attitude as does the steady decline in regular marijuana use among high school seniors over the last decade. These changes have been accompanied by growing educational campaigns against drug use, increased penalties, more arrests and incarcerations, and increased public awareness. A danger, however, is that public anger toward cocaine and its users makes it tempting to blame ethnic groups such as blacks and Hispanics in inner cities. In an atmosphere of fear and anger, investment in schools is more difficult to justify than investment in prisons, and those in inner cities may suffer. In the war on drugs, debate will likely continue over the amount of resources applied to the war, the balance between supply and demand side allocations, the extent of treatment facilities, and the need for more prison space.
Main Term(s): Drug regulation; Public Opinion of Crime
Index Term(s): Cocaine; Drug abuse education; Drug law enforcement; Drug treatment; Marijuana
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