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Drugs and Crime. The Drug Prohibition Movement: A Brief Overview. The nature & availability of drugs in the 19th century Opium and derivate use Growth of addiction during Civil War morphine effective pain killer hypodermic needle invented Post war affluence

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the drug prohibition movement a brief overview
The Drug Prohibition Movement:A Brief Overview
  • The nature & availability of drugs in the 19th century
    • Opium and derivate use
    • Growth of addiction during Civil War
      • morphine effective pain killer
      • hypodermic needle invented
  • Post war affluence
    • health care access, and addiction in the middle/upper classes
  • No prescription needed - patent medicines
    • mixtures of alcohol and opium
    • sold from corner drug store
    • Barkers in traveling road shows
shift toward prohibition in late 19th
Shift toward Prohibition in late-19th
  • Growing fear and intolerance of drugs and movement by states to control
  • The role of drug myths (a 19th century claims maker tool)
    • Myths re: women
    • Myths re: minorities
      • blacks said to be consuming huge amounts of cocaine
      • produced “coca mania”
the movement began at state level
The Movement Began at State Level
  • Requirements for a prescription from physician
    • One big problem: Patent medicine loophole
    • Also lack of uniform drug laws across states
    • States lack resources to enforce new laws
  • Reluctance of federal government to intervene
    • concerns about federalism and states rights
the feds get involved two motivators
The Feds Get Involved: Two Motivators

1. Growth and power of medical profession

    • AMA founded in 1847, but weak during 19th
    • threatening to most doctors, didn’t belong to AMA
    • Didn’t need lot of knowledge to prescribe drug
  • During Progressive movement, AMA grew powerful
    • advanced medical training became available
    • awareness of dangers of drugs
    • patent medicines took money out of their pocket
  • AMA lobbied for federal prohibition of narcotics w/o doctor’s prescription
capitalism and desire for chinese markets
Capitalism and desire for Chinese Markets
  • China not receptive
    • harsh discriminatory practices in U.S.
    • China’s experience with Anglos
      • China was swamped with opium from Britain
  • U.S. wanted to improve relations with China
    • Called international conference of nations
    • ban opium distribution
  • Problem: U.S. had no law prohibiting opium
the harrison act of 1914
The Harrison Act of 1914
  • First Federal drug law
  • Requirements
    • License, tax ($1 per year), and records
    • License restricted to medical professionals
  • How physicians viewed the Harrison Act
  • How the Treasury Department viewed Act
  • How the Federal Courts viewed Act
marijuana tax act of 1937
Marijuana Tax Act of 1937
  • Effectively added marijuana to prohibited substances under Harrison
  • Required tax and registration for dealers
  • Impetus for act
    • Marijuana “epidemic”
    • Empire building by federal bureaucrats
    • Bigotry toward Mexicans
comprehensive drug abuse and prevention and control act of 1970
Comprehensive Drug Abuse and Prevention and Control Act of 1970
  • Unified categories of illegal drugs and penalties
  • Basis of federal and state drug enforcement today
  • Compressed Harrison Act and amendments into one law
  • Title II: Substance Control Act - drug schedules
demand reduction
Demand Reduction
  • Several ways to reduce demand, all focus on increasing the price of drugs
  • Assumption that drug abuse is “inelastic”
  • Increase the costs of selling drugs, which will increase price of drugs
  • Problems with increasing price of drugs
  • Increase profitability lures more to market
  • Creates incentives to increase drug potency
supply reduction
Supply Reduction
  • Eliminate or reduce availability of drugs
  • Supply reduction strategies
  • Crop eradication programs
    • Problems with eradication programs
    • Resistance from host governments
    • “Push-down, pop up effect”
  • Border interdiction programs
prevention education treatment
  • DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education)
    • Most widely used school based curriculum
    • 1.3 billion dollars annually
    • Effectiveness of DARE
    • National Academy of Sciences
    • U.S. Surgeon General’s conclusion
  • Other public education initiatives

The National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign

  • Created by Congress in 1998
  • Targets youth age 9-18 and their parents
  • TV, radio, print, and Internet advertising
  • Variety of treatment modalities
  • Studies have concluded drug treatment is beneficial, though degree may be overstated
  • Treatment programs under funded
  • Few in need receive treatment
percentage of persons age 12 years or older reporting any illicit drug use in past year
Percentage of Persons Age 12 Years or Older Reporting Any Illicit Drug Use in Past Year

Source: National Household Survey on Drug Abuse

percentage of persons age 12 17 reporting any illicit drug use in past year
Percentage of Persons Age 12-17 Reporting Any Illicit Drug Use in Past Year

Source: National Household Survey on Drug Abuse

info from retail level drug sales
Info from Retail Level Drug Sales
  • Drugs more available
  • Price of drugs has decreased
  • Purity level of drugs has increased
  • Spread of designer and “cottage-level” drugs
the legalization debate
The Legalization Debate

Pro-Legalization Arguments

  • Current policies are a failure
    • more available, more potent, cheaper
  • Drug war has high physical costs to society
    • Increases transmission of HIV
    • Overdoses due to adulterated street drugs
more arguments for legalization
More Arguments for Legalization
  • War on drugs is racist
    • Majority of drug consumers are white, but majority incarcerated for drug offenses are non-white
    • More young black males under correctional supervision than attending college
    • Incarceration of black males destroying the black family
    • War on drugs is genocide of Black family
      • Incarceration of Blacks destroying Black family
arguments for legalization
Arguments for Legalization
  • War on drugs exacerbates the crime problem
    • High price of illegal drugs means addict has to steal more to support habit
    • Current illegal drug markets foster violence
more arguments for legalization1
More Arguments for Legalization
  • Drug war is a war on civil liberties
    • 4th Amendment rights have been whittled away
    • Suspicion-less drug testing in the workplace and schools
    • Civil forfeiture of property
prohibition arguments
Prohibition Arguments
  • If drugs were legalized, consumption would increase
    • From 1972 to 1978, eleven states decriminalized marijuana possession
      • Yet, after 1978 marijuana use steadily declined for over a decade.
    • The Netherlands decriminalized possession and allowed small scale sales of marijuana beginning in 1976.
      • Marijuana use in Holland half the rate in U.S
prohibition arguments1
Prohibition Arguments
  • Crime rate would increase
    • Argue clear link between drugs and crime
    • Statistics do suggest a link between drugs and crime
drug use among booked arrestees
Drug Use Among Booked Arrestees

Source: Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring (ADAM) Program









three model of drugs crime link
Three Model of Drugs-Crime Link
  • Physical properties of the drug cause aggression
  • Economic compulsive model
  • Systemic model
pro legalization response to drugs crime link
Pro-Legalization Response to Drugs-Crime Link
  • Little evidence to show chemical properties alone cause violence
  • Little evidence for notion that drugs cause crime - could be spurious relationship
    • drugs do increase the rate of criminal activity
  • Cede the evidence of pattern of violence associated with illegal drug markets




prohibitionist s arguments
Prohibitionist’s Arguments
  • Public opinion is against legalization
    • Can’t legalize what so many oppose
  • War on drugs amoral imperative
    • we continue to fight, even if are losing
a third way between legalization and prohibition
A Third Way:Between Legalization and Prohibition
  • Adopt more reasonable sentences for drug offenders
  • Focus on traffickers, not users
  • Provide serious help for users in the criminal justice system
  • Shift law enforcement policies toward community safety
    • away from enforcement to problem solving policing