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NCJ Number: 48194 Find in a Library
Title: SOCIAL BENEFITS AND SOCIAL COSTS OF DRUG CONTROL LAWS
Journal: JOURNAL OF DRUG ISSUES  Volume:8  Issue:1  Dated:(WINTER 1978)  Pages:1-7
Author(s): J C KRAMER
Corporate Author: Journal of Drug Issues
Editor
United States of America
Date Published: 1978
Page Count: 7
Sponsoring Agency: Journal of Drug Issues
Tallahassee, FL 32315
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: THE COSTS OF DRUG CONTROL LAWS INCLUDE NOT ONLY THE EXPENSES OF LAW ENFORCEMENT PERSONNEL, BUT ALSO THE DEVELOPMENT OF BLACK MARKETS IN DRUGS AND THE CRIMINAL STIGMA ATTACHED TO USERS. BENEFITS SHOULD EQUAL COST.
Abstract: A CROSS-CULTURAL COMPARISON SHOWS THAT IN ALL SOCIETIES DRUG CONTROL LAWS TEND TO REDUCE THE INCIDENCE OF DRUG USE BECAUSE MANY PERSONS ARE NOT SUFFICIENTLY ADDICTED TO VIOLATE CRIMINAL SANCTIONS. HOWEVER, INCREASING THE SEVERITY OF CONTROL LAWS ADDS LESS AND LESS TO THE BENEFITS ACHIEVED AND INCREASES THE COSTS TO SOCIETY. THESE COSTS INCLUDE THE LAW ENFORCEMENT STRUCTURE NECESSARY TO ENSURE COMPLIANCE WITH THE DRUG CONTROL LAWS, THE CORRECTIONAL OR REHABILITATION STRUCTURE FOR OFFENDERS, THE DEVELOPMENT OF BLACK MARKETS, AND THE CRIMINALIZATION OF DRUG USERS. IN THE U.S., DRUG CONTROL LAWS HAVE LED TO THE DEVELOPMENT OF DRUG-USING SUBCULTURES WHICH GLORIFY DRUGS AS A REACTION TO THE STRONG DEMONIC VIEW OF THE MAJORITY CULTURE. IN OTHER COUNTRIES, REPRESSIVE DRUG LAWS HAVE MERELY HASTENED A SWITCH TO ALTERNATIVE SUBSTANCES. IN CONTRAST, WHEN BRITAIN OUTLAWED DRUGS IN THE 1850'S, THE CHANGE WAS GRADUAL AND DID NOT LEAD TO THE DEVELOPMENT OF A BLACK MARKET BECAUSE LEGAL CHANNELS WERE STILL AVAILABLE TO EXISTING ADDICTS. SOME LEVEL OF LEGAL CONTROL OVER DRUGS WILL ALWAYS BE NECESSARY IN COMPLEX SOCIETIES. DRUG LAWS SHOULD BE EXAMINED CAREFULLY IN LIGHT OF THEIR ULTIMATE COSTS AND MEASURED AGAINST ULTIMATE BENEFITS. CHANGES SHOULD BE GRADUAL AND THEIR DIRECTION GUIDED BY WHAT DRUGS AND DRUG LAWS MAY DO. (GLR)
Index Term(s): Black market; Cost effectiveness analysis; Cost/Benefit Analysis; Drug law enforcement; Drug laws; Drug regulation
Note: PRESENTED AT THE 4TH ANNUAL SUMMER INSTITUTE, POLICY ALTERNATIVES IN THE CONTROL OF ALCOHOL ABUSE, DRUG ABUSE AND SMOKING, UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON, SEATTLE, JULY 1977
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=48194

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