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NCJ Number: 158922 Find in a Library
Title: Connection Between Narcotics and Crime
Journal: Journal of Drug Issues  Volume:7  Issue:4  Dated:(Fall 1977)  Pages:405-418
Author(s): J Helmer
Date Published: 1977
Page Count: 14
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This analysis of drug policy, particularly in Australia, concludes that policies of prohibition require reassessment through a sequence of limited and controlled steps that will break the apparent connection between drugs and crime.
Abstract: No justification exists for the prohibitionist approach with which the United States and other countries address drugs. The three main myths guiding drug policies are that narcotics consumption was widespread in the United States until at least 1920; that rational and scientific solutions can reform policies; and that addiction is the inevitable outcome of prolonged narcotics use. However, no reliable evidence of the harmful physiological, psychological, or sociological effects of drugs on humans exists to justify the extremely heavy sanctions that prohibition provides and on which it is generally though to depend for its effect. In addition, because society deals unjustifiably with drug users under an illusion about drugs' effects, it creates the very conditions that prohibition is meant to address. These include physical and mental breakdown, social stigma and isolation, crime, and death. Therefore, policies should gradually change. Logic suggests that with controls, the use of narcotics can eventually decriminalized, and a reconstruction accomplished in the way in which drugs are not produced and distributed. Society must recognize that drug-taking is not likely to disappear, that the current policy of prohibition is arbitrary and discriminatory, and that an intensive period of research is needed to determine the direction of change in Australia. Table and reference notes
Main Term(s): Drug Policy
Index Term(s): Australia; Drug abuse causes; Foreign laws; Great Britain/United Kingdom; Legislative impact; United States of America
Note: DCC. Paper presented at the Autumn School of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, St. Vincent's Hospital, Fitzroy, Victoria, Australia, 1976
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