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United States Drug Policy in the 1990s: Insights From New Data From Arrestees

NCJ Number
International Journal of the Addictions Volume: 25 Issue: 3A Dated: (1990-1991) Pages: 377-409
Date Published
33 pages
This study compares the findings on drug use from the National Household Survey and the High School Senior Survey with those from the newly established Drug Use Forecasting (DUF) program that conducts drug testing on arrestees; implications for policy are drawn from the findings.

The National Household Survey and the High School Senior Survey show that there has been a drop in middle-class and casual drug use in the United States. DUF testing shows, however, that there remains a persistent hard core of drug use among persons arrested for crimes. DUF data suggest that the arrestee population contains many of the frequent users of cocaine in the United States. These arrestees are part of a deviant segment of the population that has multiple behavioral, vocational, and educational deficits. There is a danger that as drug use declines in the middle class, the residual group of dysfunctional drug users will become the scapegoat for middle-class frustration with crime and become targets of harsh societal reactions. Alternatively, chronic drug-using offenders may be neglected and written off by the larger society. The humane alternative is to take advantage of the access to chronic drug abusers within the criminal justice system to address their drug use and associated problems, thus increasing their chances of abstaining from drugs and related crimes. Such a policy requires that resources be invested in drug screening and drug treatment in correctional settings. 3 tables, 14 notes, and 89 references

Date Published: January 1, 1990