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NCJ Number: 229109 Find in a Library
Title: Profile of Substance Abuse, Gender, Crime, and Drug Policy in the United States and Canada
Journal: Journal of Offender Rehabilitation  Volume:48  Issue:8  Dated:November-December 2009  Pages:654-668
Author(s): Judith Grant
Date Published: November 2009
Page Count: 15
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This comparative analysis of the impact of the differing drug policies of the United States (criminalization) and Canada (harm reduction) focuses on substance abuse prevalence, the significance of gender and substance abuse, drug costs, and the prevalence of drug-related crime.
Abstract: Under the United States' drug control strategy, specific drugs are made illegal under law, and using and being addicted to them is a crime. In Canada, on the other hand, drug policy is based mainly on the harm-reduction model, which focuses on decreasing the adverse health, social, and economic consequences of drug abuse without requiring abstinence from such use. Boyum and Reuter (2005) claim that the number of incarcerated drug offenders in the United States has grown tenfold since 1980, but there is strikingly little evidence that increased punishment has significantly reduced drug use. The U.S. war on drugs is expensive (over $12 billion in 2004 alone). As a response to drug abuse, U.S. national drug policies have emphasized punishment over treatment, which has had a disproportionate impact on low-income communities and minorities. In the United States, there are now more than eight times as many women incarcerated in State and Federal prisons and local jails as there were in 1980. Between 1986 and 1999, the number of women incarcerated in State facilities for drug-related offenses increased 888 percent, surpassing the rate of growth in the number of men imprisoned for similar crimes. In Canada, the cost of substance abuse among both women and men is high in both personal and social terms. Critics from both nations have argued that changes should be made in each country's drug policies. There may be no ideal drug policies overall, just more humane and less harmful ones. 43 references
Main Term(s): Drug Policy
Index Term(s): Canada; Comparative analysis; Costs; Drug Related Crime; Females; United States of America
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