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NCJ Number: 158427 Find in a Library
Title: Political Economy of Illicit Drugs
Journal: Contemporary Drug Problems  Volume:4  Issue:2  Pages:141-178
Author(s): M G Yeager
Date Published: Unknown
Page Count: 38
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This analysis of the political economy of the illicit drug market in the United States focuses on the motivation for drug-dealing careers among lower-class populations and the historical basis for this type of structural deviance, as well as the effectiveness of drug policies.
Abstract: The analysis questions the legal and medical models of social control that currently dominate drug policies, noting that they suggest that drug abuse is caused mainly by factors within individuals themselves. The discussion suggests that current policies are a failure because they ignore certain political and economic characteristics of the drug market and their causal relationship to the perpetuation of the drug problem in the United States. It notes that the irregular economy has traditionally flourished in large cities inhabited by people who are poor, powerless, and immigrant and ethnic minorities. This situation has resulted in part from racism, moral entrepreneurship, and a conservative interest in maintaining the prevailing distribution of power and wealth. The existing political structure has profited from the drug market through the corruption of some police and politicians and the function of the drug market as a source of employment for the poor. The scarcity of legitimate opportunities and the flourishing illegal markets have meant that minorities and immigrants have tended to assume the major risks in these enterprises. Other segments of society have patronized these markets, while the poor and ethnic minorities have been identified with crime. Ignoring the economic and political functions of the drug markets in the continuing drug problem will probably make any given enforcement or treatment strategy ineffective. Reference notes
Main Term(s): Drug Policy
Index Term(s): Drug law offenses; Economic influences; Political influences; Poverty and crime
Note: DCC
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