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Peaceful Measures: Canada's Way Out of the "War on Drugs"

NCJ Number
B K Alexander
Date Published
401 pages
This book argues that Canada's "war on drugs" has been a costly failure and should be replaced by "peaceful" measures for addressing the harmful effects of drug use.
In first examining whether a "war on drugs" actually exists, the author concludes that it does since the official use of violent repression to achieve desired standards of behavior vis-a-vis drug use are more like war measures than normal social control. An analysis of whether the war on drugs has achieved its objectives concludes that it has failed to control drug abuse as a social problem, has failed to deter drug use, and has created serious new problems. The author then challenges the conventional reasons for mounting a war on drugs, namely, that all use of illicit drugs constitutes abuse or addiction, that there is an epidemic of addiction, that illicit drugs are more addictive and physically harmful than legal drugs, and that addiction is a disease caused by genetic predispositions and exposure to certain "addictive" drugs. In proposing "peaceful" alternatives to the war on drugs, the author does not tout policies of "legalization," "education," "prevention," or "treatment" as those terms are currently used. He proposes "domestication," a concept developed by Edward Brecher, which involves a public posture toward drugs similar to the pragmatism applied to other familiar and sometimes dangerous household articles, i.e., education about when and how they can be used advantageously and when they should be avoided. Obstacles confronting such a policy change are addressed. 874 references and a subject index


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