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NCJ Number: 169213 Find in a Library
Title: Another Lost War: The Costs and Consequences of Drug Prohibition
Journal: Social Justice  Volume:22  Issue:2  Dated:(Summer 1995)  Pages:101-124
Author(s): W J Chambliss
Date Published: 1995
Page Count: 24
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This paper examines the failure of current U.S. drug policy, the reasons why the policy persists in the face of failure, and the likely consequences of the decriminalization of drug use.
Abstract: Almost everyone, including Attorney General Janet Reno, acknowledges that the "War on Drugs" has been a complete failure. Although drug consumption and trafficking have not been significantly impacted under current U.S. drug policy, the policy has had significant consequences, including increased incarceration rates; a "war" on people of color; corruption of government officials, local police departments, and even entire Nations; undermining of constitutional rights; and the creation of economies that are drug dependent. Given the failure of the "War on Drugs" and its costly consequences, it is a mystery why the Clinton administration refused even to consider an alternative policy of decriminalization. This article suggests that political, economic, and social changes unique to the United States in the last 30 years have made what appears on the surface to be an irrational drug policy quite rational. Data from experiments with the decriminalization of drugs show that at the very least, drug consumption would not increase in the United States were the government to decriminalize the possession and sale of small amounts of drugs, while it would eliminate many of the consequences of the current policy of criminalization. 4 tables, 6 figures, 3 notes, and 49 references
Main Term(s): Drug Policy
Index Term(s): Decriminalization; Drug law enforcement; Economic influences; Political influences
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