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NCJ Number: 154274 Find in a Library
Title: Hawks Ascendant: The Punitive Trend of American Drug Policy
Author(s): P Reuter
Corporate Author: Rand Corporation
United States of America
Date Published: 1992
Page Count: 38
Sponsoring Agency: Alfred P. Sloan Foundation
New York, NY 10020
Ford Foundation
New York, NY 10017
Rand Corporation
Santa Monica, CA 90407-2138
Publication Number: RAND/RP-153
Sale Source: Rand Corporation
1776 Main Street
P.O. Box 2138
Santa Monica, CA 90407-2138
United States of America
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article characterizes the current debate on drug policy, assesses the dominant policy pursued by the Federal Government, and proposes a revision of current national drug policy.
Abstract: The author portrays the drug-policy debate as a three-sided discussion among "hawks" (supply-side advocates), "doves" (legalizers), and "owls" (bold demand-side advocates) about the nature of the drug problem and the consequences of various strategies for controlling it. The hawks dominate current drug policy. To an extraordinary degree, they have taken control of drug policy and given it a distinctively punitive hew. The hawks may have gone too far in this direction, however. The punishments prescribed in drug-use and drug-trafficking laws are expensive, not so much in money terms (although the sums are no longer trivial) as in terms of the human costs of incarcerating many people for relatively minor offenses while leaving in the community many who commit more serious offenses. Intense enforcement also increases the harms caused by drug users to themselves and others. The author proposes a policy of less aggressive punishment of drug dealers and the application of the money saved to improved and expanded treatment of drug-dependent persons. In presenting this "owlish" position, the author notes that this policy has not been strongly argued by a sufficient number of elected policymakers. Given tight government budgets, a shift to an "owlish" policy would require taking money from enforcement efforts and applying it to drug treatment and prevention. 65 notes
Main Term(s): Drug Policy
Index Term(s): Drug law enforcement; Drug legalization; Drug prevention programs; Drug treatment
Note: DCC. Reprinted from Daedalus, V 121, N 3, 1992, pp. 15-52.
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