Drugs and Society: U.S. Public Policy

Front Cover
Jefferson M. Fish
Rowman & Littlefield, 2006 - Political Science - 228 pages
There are two main approaches to reforming drug policy, which reflect differing American values. One is the public health or harm reduction or cost/benefit approach, which implements the American value of pragmatism. This approach looks at the social science and bio-medical evidence regarding the effects of each drug, attempts to weigh the positive and negative consequences of various courses of action, and proposes policies with the best overall mix of outcomes. Public health approaches to drug policy reform emphasize harm reduction (e.g., preventing the spread of disease, maintaining the health of drug users, and guaranteeing drug purity) and controlling in various ways the quantities available for individual purchase, dosage levels, and other aspects of drugs and their use, as well as drug advertising. The other approach to drug policy reform the libertarian or rights based-approach to legalizing drugs can be seen to implement the American value of individualism. This approach views the private behavior of adults as none of the government's business, and aims at maximizing individual freedom. Drugs and Society explains these differing views by American society in great detail, and will offer the reader all the information needed to create an alternative drug policy.

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Rethinking US Drug Policy
The United States and the Netherlands
Historical Background
Protestant Missionaries Creators of the International War on Drugs
Alcohol Prohibition and Drug Prohibition Lessons from Alcohol Policy for Drug Policy
Conceptual Background
Five Drug Policy Fallacies
Competing Rationales for Drug Policy Reform
Legalization An Introduction
Acute Toxicity of Drugs versus Regulatory Status
Proposals for DeEscalating the War on Drugs
Economics of Illegal Drug Markets What Happens If We Downsize the Drug War?
Use Abuse Adverse Health Effects and Addiction
Issues in Legalization
About the Contributors

Policy Considerations

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About the author (2006)

\Jefferson M. Fish (Ph.D., Columbia University) is professor of psychology at St. John's University. He is a member of the board of directors and of the executive committee of Partnership for Responsible Drug Information, and adjunct coordinator of the Committee on Drugs and the Law of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York. Dr. Fish is the author, editor, or co-editor of six books, and is the author of more than a hundred journal articles, book chapters, and other works.

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