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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 76840 Find in a Library
Title: Narcs' Game
Journal: Society  Volume:17  Issue:4  Dated:(May/June 1980)  Pages:70-73
Author(s): P K Manning
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 4
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Constraints on police attempts to eradicate illegal drug markets and recommended legal and organizational reforms are discussed in this article.
Abstract: As a result of the legal, organizational, social, psychological, occupational, and informational and budgetary constraints which are in effect today, policing is a marginal activity that has a limited impact on drug markets. Two kinds of legal constraints are in effect in American society. The first is the prohibition model of drug control, which brings with it corruption, illegal profits, and the protection of licit markets in similar substances. This model intends to punish and deprive the user of the substance and eradicate the market. However, it is in conflict with other segments of the criminal justice system that try to treat, cure, educate, or otherwise reform the user. The second legal constraint is that exercised by attorneys and judges whenever the process requires a priori sanctioning in charging with crimes in exchange for working with police as an informant. Because of limited police resources, violations of drug laws are selectively enforced; this situation provides a basis for corruption, wide discretion, and gaps between public rhetoric and action. Three alternative reforms are possible: decriminalization, limitation of the Federal enforcement structure, or reorganization of police drug units. The first reform is needed, especially with regard to possession of small amounts of marijuana. In addition, Federal enforcement activities abroad should be terminated, and the entire Federal enforcement structure in this area should be reexamined. Finally, profound and important reorganization can be effected in local police departments. Specialized drug units within local departments should be disbanded. All patrol officers must be trained in drug law enforcement, and this training should continue throughout the term of service. A small pharmacy unit should then be incorporated into vice or intelligence units to investigate the leakage of licit drugs into illicit markets. These changes would facilitate more innovative approaches to the regulation of drug use.
Index Term(s): Controlled Substances; Decriminalization; Drug law enforcement units; Drug law offenses; Drug offenders; Federal drug laws; Police effectiveness; Police internal organizations; Police legal limitations
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