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NCJ Number: 148739 Find in a Library
Title: Confronting the Drug Problem: Debate Persists on Enforcement and Alternative Approaches
Corporate Author: US Government Accountability Office
General Government Division
United States of America
Date Published: 1993
Page Count: 48
Sponsoring Agency: Azimuth Inc.
Fairmont, WV 26554
National Institute of Justice/
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NCJRS Photocopy Services
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US Government Accountability Office
Washington, DC 20548
Publication Number: GAO/GGD-93-82
Sale Source: Azimuth Inc.
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National Institute of Justice/
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NCJRS Photocopy Services
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Document: PDF
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This report identifies the major pro and con arguments regarding drug law enforcement and the alternative approaches most often discussed.
Abstract: The researchers did a literature review and interviewed drug experts from the criminal justice, public health, research, and academic communities to obtain a wide range of views for and against the enforcement and alternative approaches. They also assembled a panel of six experts from these communities to provide guidance. The Federal Government has steadily increased its annual drug control budget from $2.8 billion in 1986 to $12 billion in 1992, approximately 70 percent of which has supported drug enforcement efforts and 30 percent of which has gone to prevention and treatment. Supporters of the enforcement emphasis claim that law enforcement activities in recent years have led to substantial drug seizures and to the arrest, prosecution, and punishment of many drug traffickers and users. Supporters contend that these seizures and arrests have reduced the availability and use of illegal drugs, both directly and through deterrence. They also claim that the connection between illegal drugs and crime is so strong that an intense law enforcement response to drugs has been necessary. Advocates of alternative strategies suggest that the Federal strategy, with its emphasis on enforcement, has not made a serious dent in the Nation's continuing drug problem. This report identifies a range of alternative approaches that rely less on enforcement. These approaches, which can complement each other, include increased spending on drug use prevention and treatment, increased use of penalties other than imprisonment, the elimination of penalties for drug use while continuing penalties for drug traffickers, and a regulated drug market in which legitimate businesses can sell one or more currently illegal drugs. Because of the shortage of studies on these approaches, researchers did not attempt to evaluate these arguments and therefore do not endorse or reject any particular combination of approaches to the drug problem. 7 figures
Main Term(s): Controlled Substances
Index Term(s): Crime prevention measures; Drug law enforcement; Drug prevention programs; Drug treatment; Police
Note: Report to the Chairman, U.S. House Committee on Government Operations.
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