Remarks on recent elements of drug policy

by Jonathan Cave


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This paper evaluates current drug interdiction activity, and concludes that it is an inefficient use of money for efforts that only superficially hinder the cocaine market and actually assist experienced drug smugglers. The author contends that military involvement in this interdiction could make matters worse. He stresses the need for policies that attack the drug market at its roots--eliminating profits and reducing demand--and outlines the main elements of such policies. In a final note, he points out the coincidence between the shift from rich to poor consumers of cocaine and the move to highly publicized and ultimately ineffective measures to control cocaine traffic.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Paper series. The paper was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 2003 that captured speeches, memorials, and derivative research, usually prepared on authors' own time and meant to be the scholarly or scientific contribution of individual authors to their professional fields. Papers were less formal than reports and did not require rigorous peer review.

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