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Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results

NCJ Number
M A R Kleiman
Date Published
490 pages
This book examines the social and public health problems posed by drug abuse and considers the public policies adopted to address these problems.
Part I, "Preliminaries," argues that drug policy inevitably has multiple goals and is likely to be ill-served by simple policies expressed in "bumper-sticker" slogans. Part II, "Problems," explores the characteristics of drugs that distinguish them from other consumer goods and make them appropriate targets for public policy and regulation. Chapter 2, "Drug Abuse and Other Bad Habits," discusses why some drug users continue to engage in behaviors that hurt themselves, and the next chapter, "The Other Victims of Drug Abuse," identifies the injuries that drug abusers inflict on others. Part III, "Policies," develops the vocabulary of public actions -- laws and programs -- to control drug problems. The laws -- taxes, regulations, and prohibitions -- are the topic of one chapter. Another chapter considers the black markets that are likely to stem from drug laws. Other chapters discuss programs to enforce the laws, programs to influence drug-taking behavior by persuasion, and programs to provide help for and control problem drug users. Part IV, "Drugs," applies the analysis developed in the first three parts to five drugs: alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, tobacco, and heroin. The author recommends a policy to encourage moderation in drug use and moderation in the making and implementation of policy. This would mean abandoning unattainable goals, policies without reasonable connections with their nominal objectives, and laws and programs made and executed in anger. Chapter notes and subject and name indexes