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The Drug Solution

The Drug Solution: Regulating Drugs According to Principles of Efficiency, Justice and Democracy

Copyright Date: 1990
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  • Book Info
    The Drug Solution
    Book Description:

    This provocative volume makes a valuable contribution to debates on drug legislation. It is the only book that analyses and assesses all regulatory alternatives to drug prohibition. The author brings together research from the scientific, medical, ethical and legal fields to criticize drug laws and enforcement policies of many countries, including the U.S. and Canada.

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-9582-8
    Subjects: Law

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. iii-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-x)
    (pp. xi-xii)
    Thomas Szasz

    Introducing various substances into our bodies by eating, drinking, or other means are basic human acts. At various times and in different places some of these acts are viewed as acceptable. others as unacceptable, some as the “proper use” of a particular substance. others as its “improper abuse.” Clearly. use and abuse are judgments, not facts. Unfortunately, after a thirty-year war on drugs, most Americans have come to believe that the dangerousness of particular drugs is a fact, and that this alleged fact is the reason why they are prohibited.

    In this important and timely book, Professor Chet Mitchell presents...

    (pp. xiii-xiv)
    C. Mitchell
    (pp. xv-xxii)

    Since at least 1914, the war against users and sellers of illicit drugs has been a staple of the American political diet and, spearheaded by the U.S. government, drug battles now touch every continent. This war on drugs is a dangerous, costly endeavour that should be of concern to everyone. Drug battlefields in the Colombian highlands, Burma’s Golden Triangle or the inner city slum may seem remote but consider who the war on drugs is actually against. The primary targets are the producers, smugglers and traders of the forbidden products yet these professional traffickers only begin to represent the drug...

  6. I A Policy Primer on Drug Control
    (pp. 1-44)

    On most counts, drug prohibition can be judged a failure. The extent of that failure and the reasons for it are thoroughly documented and analyzed by the numerous researchers and scientists cited in this chapter. Yet despite prohibition’s costly problems, most governments remain firmly opposed to any retreat from severe criminal controls. This political intransigence in the face of critical evidence helped inspire at least two opposition groups: The Drug Policy Foundation, created in 1987, and the International League Against Prohibition, founded in 1989.¹ Membership in these international bodies is not limited to civil libertarians or academics but also includes...

  7. II Drug Control and Principles of Justice
    (pp. 45-82)

    The evidence presented in this chapter indicates that drug users impose measurable costs and burdens on other people. The objective is to reduce such costs and, where possible, compensate injured parties. Three basic avenues of cost reduction are available: self-control, social control and government control. Conscience, enlightened self-interest, instinct, peer pressure, religious injunction and employer self-interest all affect drug use choices. Private sanctions alone, however, may not be effective enough to provide the degree of protection and deterrence required. If private regulation is not altogether sufficient, some type of government intervention may be justified. The perennial difficulty is deciding what...

  8. III A Comparative Survey of Drug Reform Proposals
    (pp. 83-116)

    North Americans face both a drug problem and a “drug problem” problem. Naturally, a number of analysts have responded to the drug-regulation challenge by advocating various reforms.

    Some propose legalizing all psychoactive drugs. This group includes Milton Friedman, C.P.Freund, Erich Goode, Ron Paul, MarieAndree Bertrand, and Thomas Szasz. Others would legalize all “recreational drugs”: this group Includes Norvil Morris, David Boaz, Nell Boyd, Ethan Nadelmann, M. Smith, E. van den Hagg and Norman Zlnberg. Zlnberg and Grinspoon would “phase in” legalization, starting with marijuana, rather than opting for a wholesale re-classification. Others would legalize only marijuana (David Richards, M. Rosenthal)...

  9. IV Uniform Criminal Law Controls
    (pp. 117-150)

    The primary injustice of current drug laws is that some sellers and users of drugs face criminal prosecution whereas others do not. This unfairness can be remedied either by removing all psychoactives from criminal law jurisdiction or by criminalizing all drugs.

    This chapter evaluates the full criminalizing option whereby the production, sale and perhaps also the use of recreational, OTC and prescription-only (Rx) psycho actives would be criminalized. For most people, this proposal will seem ludicrous and unworthy of serious consideration. Treating all psychoactives the way government now treats cannabis will be dismissed as impractical, self-defeating and unpopular. Current drug...

  10. V Uniform Mandatory Medical Prescription
    (pp. 151-190)

    Psychoactives such as Dexedrine, Librium, imipramine, Miltown, Secondal, Dalmane, chloral hydrate, methaqualone, phenobarbital, Tuinal, Amytal, diazepam and many others are available legally only when users obtain permission from a licensed physician. For such drugs a prescription is mandatory by law. Some reformers advocate shifting heroin, cocaine, cannabis and other illicit drugs from police to medical control. Since it is unfair to subject only certain psychoactives to prescription control, in this chapter I consider the potential impact of shifting every psychoactive to Rx status. Physician authorization on an individual basis would then be required before one could purchase, possess or use...

  11. VI Private Law Deterrence and Compensation
    (pp. 191-230)

    Prohibition and mandatory prescription are intrusive, expensive methods of drug control. Private law is much less intrusive and costly and, would probably prove more popular as a uniform drug control system than either medical or police controls. But to date, no one has seriously explored the regulative potential of private law in the drug field. Most people know little about private law, while analysts like Kaplan and Richards quickly dismiss private law as too limited or too weak to deal with difficult drug problems. The neglect of private law is also encouraged by influential legal authorities who lament the “appalling...

  12. VII Drug Rationing
    (pp. 231-276)

    Rationing occurs when government intervenes directly in a market to affect public access to goods or services. Rationing is prominent in the command economies of the U.S.S.R. and China, where even procreation is subject to quotas, but it is also subtly prevalent in the West. We ration taxi cabs, radio stations, air traffic, mall services, rental accommodation, electricity, employment, and many imported products. A number of jurisdictions, including South Carolina, Sweden and Canada, introduced personalized alcohol rationing after 1880 as a less restrictive alternative to prohibition.¹ The doling out of heroin in Britain and of methadone in the U.S. are...

  13. VIII Uniform Tax Controls and Price Disincentives
    (pp. 277-322)

    This chapter investigates the regulative potential of tax and price disincentives. The central issues are how to justify a drug tax and how to determine the rate of tax applied. Other questions addressed include the administration. revenue potential and justice of drug taxes. Should drug tax revenue be earmarked to fund special projects such as drug education or the rehabilitation of drug users? Can tax controls be expected to deliver social protection and reasonable prevention of self-harm? Current taxes on alcohol and tobacco purchases will be analyzed as possible models for extension to all psychoactives. Other price disincentives considered include...

  14. IX Drug Reform Prospects and Strategies
    (pp. 323-356)

    This concluding chapter considers the future of drug regulation from three perspectives: what should happen. what could happen and what will probably happen. Domestic and international conditions are briefly surveyed to determine whether law-reform prospects in the 1990s differ from those in previous decades. Finally. an assessment is offered of the six law-reform strategies: legislation. litigation. direct voting. civil disobedience. constitutional amendment and political restructuring.

    Effective reform requires a clear goal and a realistic appraisal of the steps necessary to achieve that goal. The primary goal advanced in this book is to base our drug control system on the three...

  15. INDEX
    (pp. 357-362)