skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 157848 Find in a Library
Title: Social Benefits and Social Costs of Drug Control Laws
Journal: Journal of Drug Issues  Volume:8  Issue:1  Dated:(Winter 1978)  Pages:1-7
Author(s): J C Kramer
Date Published: 1978
Page Count: 7
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This analysis of the social benefits and costs of drug control laws concludes that increasingly the severity of the control laws ultimately results in costs that outweigh benefits and that both benefits and costs must be assessed in determining the optimum levels of control.
Abstract: Drug consumption is an unusual cultural phenomenon in that it receives both reverence or abhorrence and is regarded as both healer and destroyer. Although nonmedical drug use can unquestionably be detrimental to the individual, as both alcoholism, smoking, heroin addiction, and the consequences of other drug use make clear, nonmedical drug use does not invariably lead to damage, particularly among those who use drugs intermittently or in modest doses. While drug control laws tend to reduce the incidence of drug use, their enforcement has costs to society. Among the most obvious costs is the development of underground markets in drugs and the criminalization of drug users. Modest control laws can substantially reduce drug use without incurring serious social costs. However, increasing the severity of control laws adds less and less to the benefits achieved and more and more to the costs to society. Therefore, changes should be gradual, carefully considered, and guided not only by what drugs may do but also by what drug laws may do. 6 references
Main Term(s): Drug laws
Index Term(s): Cost/Benefit Analysis; Drug Policy; Legislative impact
Note: DCC
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.