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Online ISSN: 1099-176X    Print ISSN: 1091-4358
The Journal of Mental Health Policy and Economics
Volume 5, Issue 4, 2002. Pages: 175-183

Published Online: 5 May 2003

Copyright © 2002 ICMPE.


 

Commentary:
Reconsideration of Contemporary U.S. Drug Policy

Paul L. Solano*

*Ph.D., Health Services Policy Research Group, School of Urban Affairs and Public Policy, Graham Hall, University of Delaware, Newark, DE, USA


*Correspondence to: Paul L. Solano, Health Services Policy Research Group, School of Urban Affairs and Public Policy, Graham Hall, University of Delaware, Newark, DE 19716, USA
Tel.: + 1-302-831 0589
Fax: + 1-302-831 0889
E-mail: Solano@udel.edu

Source of Funding: None declared

Abstract
In their recent book Drug War Heresies: Learning From Other Vices, Times, and Places (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001), MacCoun and Reuter challenge the continuation of contemporary U.S. drug policy. Depenalization and legalization of illicit drugs are evaluated as alternatives to U.S. prohibition policy, with harm reduction (mitigation of social damages) as the criterion for guiding drug regime change. The appraisal encompasses an analysis of underlying philosophical and social mechanisms of current U.S. policy as well as drawing analogies from a comprehensive review of American vices and also Western European governmentalinterventions into illicit drug activities. What is apparent is that the evaluation and the available evidence entail substantial complexity and do not readily present unequivocal positions. The evaluation also strongly indicates that considerable difficulty would be encountered not only for the implementation of alternative regimes but also for the engagement in open political discussion of prohibition alternatives.
 

 


Received 7 January 2003; accepted 8 February 2003

Copyright 2002 ICMPE