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NCJ Number: 171329 Find in a Library
Title: Treatment vs. Enforcement: The American Drug Dilemma
Journal: Law Enforcement Technology  Volume:25  Issue:5  Dated:(May 1998)  Pages:32-34,36,38-39
Author(s): R Abshire
Date Published: 1998
Page Count: 6
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This analysis of drug policies emphasizes that politicians since World War II have used military metaphors to generate public support for expensive campaigns aimed at problems that are largely social and public health problems.
Abstract: The war analogy has numerous problems, including the implication that an enemy exists to be defeated, the focus on the supply side to the exclusion of the demand side, and the oversimplification of the problem. One result of the war on drugs is that a higher percentage of the United States population is incarcerated today than ever before in history. However, it is not clear that the public is safer today than it was before. Factors other than tougher sentencing and added police appear to be responsible for the decline in violent crimes in recent years; children and youth in the United States are still more likely to die violently than are those in any other industrialized country. Alcohol and other drug abuse is a crucial element in violence. However, funding has been reduced for outreach programs for youth at risk. In addition, drug treatment is not readily available, although drug treatment appears to be effective in reducing drug use and crime by addicts. Although various treatment strategies do not appear to differ significantly in their effectiveness, addicts who participate in treatment have better outcomes than those placed on waiting lists. The complexities of diagnosis and treatment may be one reason that demand for drugs has received so little attention. However, it may be time to stop thinking of the drug problem as a war and start thinking about it as a business that involves social and public health issues and that has profits and losses that are measured in lives. Photographs
Main Term(s): Drug Policy
Index Term(s): Drug law enforcement; Drug prevention programs; Public Opinion of Drug Abuse
Note: DCC
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