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Altered States of Mind: Critical Observations of the Drug War

NCJ Number
P B Kraska
Date Published
278 pages
These 10 papers examine the origins, consequences, and future directions of drug policies and conclude that the punitive aspects of the criminal justice approach are both morally inappropriate and counterproductive for dealing with the problem of drug abuse.
The discussion notes that the government relies mainly on an interdiction-oriented approach, which has resulted in a proliferation of drug arrests, harsh punishments, overcrowded prisons and jails, unprecedented police powers, the involvement of the military, and the erosion of constitutional rights. Paradoxically, these recognized consequences only reinforce the unintended consequence of promoting the illicit drug industry and the many problems it generates. Individual chapters focus on the reasons for the entrenchment of the war on drugs, prison drug policy, the legal response to pregnant drug abusers, the counterproductive consequences of Kentucky's marijuana eradication program, the Federal Government's role in Panama, and the role of the military. Other papers compare the United States policy with the harm reduction model in England the normalization approach in the Netherlands, the role of prevention as an alternative to suppression policies, and alternative approaches to conceptualizing drug policies. Tables, notes, chapter reference lists, and index