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NCJ Number: 137157 Find in a Library
Title: Drug Prohibition in the United States: Costs, Consequences, and Alternatives
Journal: Notre Dame Journal of Law, Ethics and Public Policy  Volume:5  Issue:3  Dated:special issue (1991)  Pages:783-808
Author(s): E A Nadelmann
Date Published: 1991
Page Count: 26
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Unless policymakers are willing to engage in an unbiased assessment of all options for addressing the problems of drug abuse, including various legalization strategies, the most effective approaches for countering the problem may never be implemented.
Abstract: As frustrations with the drug problem and current drug policies rise daily, growing numbers of political leaders, law enforcement officials, drug abuse experts, and citizens are calling for an assessment of a radical alternative to current policies, that is, the controlled legalization (or decriminalization) of drugs. There is no one legalization option. At one extreme, some libertarians advocate the removal of all criminal sanctions and taxes on the production and sale of all psychoactive substances. The alternative legalization strategies are more varied. Some would limit legalization to marijuana; others prefer a "medical" oversight model similar to methadone maintenance programs; the middle ground combines legal availability of some or all illicit drugs with vigorous efforts to restrict consumption by means other than criminal sanctions. Although neither drug legalization nor law enforcement can solve the drug problem, there are at least three reasons why the risks of drug legalization are worth taking. First, drug control strategies that rely primarily on criminal justice measures are significantly and inherently limited in their capacity to curtail drug abuse. Second, many law enforcement efforts are very costly and counterproductive. Third, the risks of legalization may well be less than most people assume, particularly if intelligent alternative measures are implemented. 88 footnotes
Main Term(s): Drug legalization
Index Term(s): Cocaine; Cost/Benefit Analysis; Drug law enforcement; Marijuana; Opioids
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