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Drugs in America: Sociology, Economics, and Politics

NCJ Number
Ansley Hamid
Date Published
346 pages
In discussing the features of "an enlightened drug policy for the 21st century," this book provides an overview of the impact on society of drug use and various efforts to control its detrimental effects.
The introductory chapter develops the thesis that the characteristics of drugs and humans are so intertwined that prohibition of the use of attractive drugs is unattainable and ill-advised. The second chapter provides a historical overview of drug use and societal responses to it, and it provides an introduction to the principal drugs discussed in subsequent chapters, namely, alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, and heroin. A chapter then discusses drug manufacture, supply, marketing, and use as an economic venture that requires the exchange of money in an informal economy that interacts with the formal economy. Subsequent chapters discuss the policing of the drug enterprise; the link between drugs and crime, with a separate chapter on drugs and violence; women, parenting, sex, and drugs; drugs and neighborhood deterioration; and addiction, drug misuse, and treatment. The concluding chapter discusses an "enlightened drug policy for the 21st century." The topics addressed in this chapter are the development cycle of drug epidemics, drug-related harm, a comparison of drug policy in the United States and abroad, drugs and social problems, dissatisfactions with prohibition, drugs and civil liberties, informal controls, legalization and decriminalization, and harm reduction. Chapter notes, references, and discussion questions, and a subject index


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