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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 148051 Find in a Library
Author(s): R J MacCoun; J P Kahan; J Gillespie; J Rhee
Corporate Author: Rand Corporation
United States of America
Date Published: 1994
Page Count: 15
Sponsoring Agency: Rand Corporation
Santa Monica, CA 90407-2138
Type: Survey
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Two convenience samples of opinion essays from newspapers in the United States were analyzed to examine differences in the content and complexity of argumentation in the debate about drug legalization.
Abstract: The first sample consisted of 51 essays in the New York Times over a 20-year period of the 1970's and 1980's. The second sample consisted of 133 essays from 27 newspapers across the country in 1989 and 1990. Content analyses suggest that the debate has shifted over time from the decriminalization of marijuana, based on the civil rights of users, to the legalization of cocaine and heroin, based on the perceived need to disrupt the connection between drugs and crime. Proponents of legalization provided significantly more complex arguments than did proponents of continued prohibition. Possible explanations for this greater complexity are the more rigid thinking of strongly conservative people, the inherently more complex philosophical bases for legalization, and the greater difficulty of arguing against the status quo. Tables, figures, and 12 references (Author abstract modified)
Main Term(s): Drug legalization
Index Term(s): Decriminalization; Media coverage
Note: Reprinted from Journal of Drug Issues, V 23, N 4 (Fall 1993), P 615-629
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