Download

Download eBook for Free

FormatFile SizeNotes
PDF file 1.3 MB

Use Adobe Acrobat Reader version 10 or higher for the best experience.

Purchase

Purchase Print Copy

 FormatList Price Price
Add to Cart Paperback32 pages $40.00 $32.00 20% Web Discount

The American discussion of society's drug policy alternatives focuses on the extent of drug use. That is, when comparing alternative policies, emphasis seems to be given to which policy will result in the lower prevalence of drug use. This Note adopts instead a "harms minimization" criterion, asking what choices minimize the harms resulting from drug use and drug control. This approach takes account of the fact that many, though not all, of the adverse consequences of drug use are a function of the policies used to restrain that behavior. The evidence suggests that (1) general user sanctions have little deterrent effect; (2) vigorous enforcement against high-level dealers, smugglers, and refiners does little to raise the retail price, but may engender instability in producer countries, corruption in transit nations, and may select out the more suspicious distribution organizations in the United States; and (3) saturated enforcement against dealers in street markets increases the level of violence associated with such trafficking. The author concludes that policymakers should consider moving enforcement to the fringes of drug policy, aiming at getting dependent users into treatment and making drug dealing less conspicuous, and thus drugs less available to novice users.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation note series. The note was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1979 to 1993 that reported other outputs of sponsored research for general distribution.

Permission is given to duplicate this electronic document for personal use only, as long as it is unaltered and complete. Copies may not be duplicated for commercial purposes. Unauthorized posting of RAND PDFs to a non-RAND Web site is prohibited. RAND PDFs are protected under copyright law. For information on reprint and linking permissions, please visit the RAND Permissions page.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.