In America's twenty-five-year war against drugs, only one national policy achieved some success. That was the Nixon Administration's program for treating heroin addicts, which was dismantled by the Reagan Administration. In "The Fix", Michael Massing exposes the political and ideological narrow-mindedness that have made national drug policy a failure, and demonstrates convincingly why we should reinstate the policy that worked.
Drawing on scores of interviews with federal officials charged with directing the drug war and on years of on-the-street reporting, Massing offers a fresh new way of looking at the drug problem. The heart of that problem lies not with recreational users of marijuana, as many politicians and journalists maintain, but with hard-core users of heroin, crack, and cocaine. Numbering about three million, these addicts are concentrated in the nation's inner cities and account for most of the demand for drugs and most of the crime associated with their use.
Given the number of addicts and the tenacity of their habit, putting them in jail is not an affordable or effective longterm solution. And, given the tendency of addicts to engage in destructive behavior, legalization would simply encourage more of it. A far more effective policy, Massing argues, would be to recognize that drug use is a public health problem, and to use the government's resources to create a national network of clinics offering addicts treatment on demand.
Massing shows that drug treatment works by describing the success that street workers have had in reaching out to addicts in Spanish Harlem and placing them in the few treatment programs now available. Further evidence that treatment can reduce the demand for drugs comes from the Nixon years. Confronted with a raging heroin epidemic in the early 1970s, President Nixon responded by allocating hundreds of millions of dollars to set up a nationwide network of methadone clinics and other drugtreatment facilities. The program was a striking success, and, if revived today, it could go a long way toward reducing the rate of drug-related crime in the United States.
Instead of relying on foreign governments to hunt down drug lords, or on building more prisons to warehouse addicts-- approaches that are expensive, wasteful, and ineffective-- we should restore our once and only successful program of treatment for hard-core addicts. It's our only hope for winning the war against drugs.
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THE FIXUser Review - Kirkus
This is a persuasive and well-supported argument that readily available treatment is the way to combat the massive problem of drug abuse in the US. Massing knows of what he speaks. As a contributing ... Read full review
The fixUser Review - Not Available - Book Verdict
Massing, a reporter and MacArthur fellow who has been following national drug policy since 1988, believes that we are badly losing the long war on drugs. Instead, he would like to see a return to the ... Read full review