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NCJ Number: 136503 Find in a Library
Title: Argument in Favor of Decriminalization
Journal: Hofstra Law Review  Volume:18  Issue:3  Dated:(Spring 1990)  Pages:501-525
Author(s): K L Schmoke
Date Published: 1990
Page Count: 25
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: A policy of prohibition has not been effective in stopping drug abuse and drug addiction; a comprehensive public health approach of prevention and treatment should be the primary policy thrust of government action to address the harms of drug abuse.
Abstract: Under a policy of prohibition, the United States has attempted to eradicate drug use by imposing criminal sanctions on drug users and dealers. In spite of the criminalization of narcotics, cocaine, and marijuana, millions of Americans regularly use illegal drugs. Prohibition has eliminated access to legitimate drug sources and ensured the growth and profitability of the illicit drug trade. Prohibition has also spawned a vast increase in drug-related crimes and fueled the disintegration and demoralization of U.S. cities. All drug addiction should be viewed as a public health problem, just as are alcohol and tobacco addictions, to be addressed through preventive and treatment measures. Such a policy would shift funds currently used under the criminal justice drug policy to the implementation of a public health policy. Such an approach would not only properly address drug addiction as a disease rather than criminal behavior, but it would also counter the evils associated with the illicit drug trade. This article offers specific recommendations for expanding the role of the public health system in the treatment and prevention of drug abuse and redefining the criminal justice system's role in the fight against drugs. 139 footnotes
Main Term(s): Drug legalization
Index Term(s): Decriminalization; Drug prevention programs; Drug treatment
Note: From a symposium on drug decriminalization.
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