U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Prohibitions Against Heroin Use - Can They Be Justified?

NCJ Number
Australian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology Volume: 19 Issue: 4 Dated: (December 1986) Pages: 225-250
I D Leader-Elliott
Date Published
26 pages
Legislative responses to the drug problem in Australia have been predominantly penal in character.
In the case of heroin, a drug which has assumed a mythic or totemic status among the illicit drugs, the calculated effected of criminal prohibitions has been to worsen the plight of the individual user. Few, if any attempts, have been made in this country to present a rational and principled justification for our current practices. The article presents an analysis of the operation of existing laws as they affect the heroin problem. The question whether these effects can be justified as an example of state paternalism is then discussed. It is argued that existing laws are unprincipled, and indefensible, and that our primary reliance on the mechanisms of the criminal law has been misplaced. (Author abstract)


No download available