Jeffrey A. Schaler, Ph.D.

Department of Justice, Law and Society
School of Public Affairs
The American University

Fall 2000
Wednesdays, 5:30 P.M. to 8:00 P.M.

Faculty:  Dr. Jeffrey A. Schaler
Office:  Dept. of Justice, Law, and Society, 
Ward Building, 2nd floor
Telephone:  (301) 585-5664 in Silver Spring, Md.
Office hours:  (by appointment)

Course Description
     Most people believe alcohol, tobacco, and illegal drugs 
cause "addiction."  Addiction is said to be characterized, 
in part, by involuntary behavior and "loss of control" over 
drug consumption.  "Addicted" persons allegedly lose their 
ability to refuse "addictive" drugs and/or to moderate their 
consumption of those substances.  History shows us that kind 
of thinking likely emerged from the anti-alcohol rhetoric of 
temperance-era leaders, the anti-alcohol attitudes 
instrumental in establishing alcohol prohibition, and the 
beliefs about alcohol advanced by members of Alcoholics 
Anonymous following repeal.

     Contemporary public health, clinical, and legal 
perspectives on legal and illegal drugs such as tobacco, 
alcohol, heroin, cocaine, and marijuana, etc., also tend to 
be based, in part, in the same temperance-era thinking, 
i.e., that those drugs are universally-addicting substances.  
The implications of these perspectives for personal and 
criminal responsibility for the consequences of legal- and 
illegal-drug use are significant and often contradictory.  
For example, recent attempts to regulate tobacco by the 
federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are based in the 
ideas that nicotine is an addictive drug and that cigarettes 
are "nicotine-delivery systems."  Thus, tobacco is now 
considered a "dangerous" drug.  This is despite the fact 
most people quit smoking after many years or moderate their 
smoking for many years.  Moreover, the widespread attempts 
by state attorneys general to hold tobacco companies liable 
for the health consequences of smoking are clearly based in 
the idea consumers were "tricked" into being "addicted" by 
the tobacco industry.  Yet, many smokers say they choose to 
smoke despite the risks.

     In this course we examine the validity of those 
assumptions about addiction and their implications for 
public, clinical, and legal policy.  In addition to learning 
about diverse explanatory models for addiction, we will 
examine in detail conflicting types of treatment for 
addiction, the efficacy of addiction treatment in general, First 
Amendment issues and court-ordered addiction treatment, 
addiction and criminal responsibility, Alcoholics Anonymous 
and religious-conversion experience, the use of mind-
altering drugs as religious experience, and the ethics of 
general attempts to protect people from themselves advanced 
by today's public health movement.  Lecture and discussion 

Course Objectives
1.  To improve the student's legal and policy-oriented 
thinking about the meaning of addiction and the foundation 
of behavior labeled as "addictive."
2.  To evaluate the evidence supporting and contesting the 
idea that addiction exists, that it is characterized by 
involuntariness, and that it is treatable.
3.  To understand what happens in voluntary and involuntary 
treatment for drug addiction.
4.  To understand public policy, legal, philosophical and 
psychological perspectives on why people choose to use mind-
altering drugs.
5.  To evaluate the efficacy and constitutionality of 
diverse perspectives on, and policies for, alcohol, drug and 
tobacco use in contemporary society.
6.  To examine the structure and function of the 
contemporary "public health movement."
7.  To develop intellectual skill in debating these and 
related controversial issues in legal and public policy 

Required Texts

Fingarette, H.  (1988).  Heavy drinking:  The myth of 
     alcoholism as a disease.  Berkeley, Ca:  University
     of California Press.
Schaler, J.A. and Schaler, M.E. (eds).  (1998).  Smoking:  
     Who has the right?  Amherst, N.Y.:  Prometheus Books.  
Schaler, J.A. (ed.) (1998).  DRUGS:  Should we legalize, 
     decriminalize, or deregulate?  Amherst, N.Y.:  
     Prometheus Books. 
Szasz, T.S.  (1992).  Our right to drugs:  The case for a 
     free market.  New York:  Praeger Publishers.

Course Requirements and Grades
Position paper                          15%
Mid-term examination                    35%
Debate                                  10%
Final examination                       35%
Class participation                      5%

                               Total = 100%

Description of course requirements:

Short position paper:  Write a 5-page paper supporting 
drug prohibition, federal regulation of tobacco, and the 
idea addiction is a treatable disease.  Your paper must not 
be longer than 5 pages.  Disagree with all arguments 
supporting drug legalization and reform measures focused on 
decreasing prohibition.  Discuss how drugs and drug use 
cause addiction and crime.  Argue how the state has a 
legitimate and compelling interest in protecting people from 
themselves as well as from others.  Use at least five 
references, which are to be listed separately on the sixth 
page.  Use the reference format presented in the required 
readings section of this syllabus.  You may not quote more 
than two lines of other material.  If you quote more than 
two lines your grade on the paper will automatically drop by 
one letter grade.  Paraphrase material in your own words.  
Cite any author you are referring to this way (Schaler, 
1997).  Do not list any material in the reference section 
that is not cited in the text of your paper.  The paper must 
be double-spaced, typewritten with font size no larger than 
12 points, margins no larger than 1 inch.  Your spelling 
must be accurate.  You must use complete sentences and 
proper paragraphs.  Your paper should be organized with an 
introduction, review of issues, discussion and conclusion.

Mid-term examination:  The mid-term examination will 
consist of essay questions focused on all readings and 
discussion in class.  

Debate:  A debate topic will be assigned by Dr. Schaler.  
Participation in the debate is mandatory.  You will be 
assigned a position to defend in the debate.  First you will 
deliver a formal debate statement.  After everyone has done 
so, you are expected to argue and debate the topic.  The 
length of the formal oral statement will be determined by 
the professor based on the number of students in the class.  
You will be given ample time to meet with your team during 
several classes before the debate in order to plan your 
presentation accordingly.  

Final examination:  The final examination will consist of 
essay questions focused on all of the material covered in 
this course.  You will be given the opportunity to express 
your own point of view on the many controversial issues we 

-->   Clear and accurate writing will be taken into account 
in assigning grades, as well as participation in class 
discussions.  Material discussed in class, or in films, 
and not in any of the readings, may form the basis for 
questions on the examinations.  One grade reduction for 
over three class absences.  Students are responsible 
for anything covered in class during their absence.  
Readings must be completed by the session to which they are 
assigned.  Additional readings may be assigned during the 
course.  Students are encouraged to form study groups on 
their own.  The examinations must be taken on the dates 
assigned.  Grades:  A-=90, B+=89, B-=80, C+=79, 
C-=70, etc.  If you're having trouble with this course make 
an appointment to talk about it.


Date              Topic                                 Reading

August 30         Introduction:                           Lecture

                  The Drug Policy Problem                Schaler

                  Opium, Cocaine, and 

                  Marijuana in American History          Part I

                  Just Say "No" to Legalization          Parts II 

                                                         & III

                  Medical Marijuana:  What Counts        Part IV

                  As Medicine?

September 6       Drug War Metaphors and Addictions:     Part V

                  Drugs Are Property                       

                  Addiction Is A Behavior:               Part VI

                  The Myth of Loss of Control

                  Do Drugs Cause Crime?                  Part VII

                  (First position paper due)

September 13      State-supported and Court-ordered      Part VIII

                  Treatment for Addiction;  The Power

                  of Self-fulfilling Prophecies
                  Heavy Drinking:  The Myth of           Fingarette (all)

                  Alcoholism as a Disease

September 20      Smoking:  Introduction;  Tobacco       Schaler &

                  Use and Regulation and Regulation      Schaler

September 27      For the Public's Health                Part II

October 4         Liberty at Stake                       Part III

October 11        Mid-term examination

October 18        Intro;  The American Ambivalence       Szasz II

October 25        The Fear We Favor                      Ch. III

November 1        Drug Education                         Ch. IV

November 8        The Debate on Drugs  Debate I          Ch. V

November 15       Blacks and Drugs     Debate II         Ch. VI

November 22       No Class -- Thanksgiving  

                  Read Doctors and Drugs                 Ch. VII

December 29       Between Dread and Desire              Ch. VIII

December 6        Contemporary issues and review

December 20       Final exam  5:30p - 8:00p

Debate topic:                                                  

I am defending the       Pro                             Con

Team #:                                                   

Team members:                                             

Academic Integrity Code
"Standards of academic conduct are set forth in the 
University's Academic Integrity Code.  It is expected that 
all examinations, tests, written papers, and other 
assignments will be completed according to the standards set 
forth in this code.  By registering, you have acknowledged 
your awareness of the Academic Integrity Code, and you are 
obliged to become familiar with your rights and 
responsibilities as defined by the Code.  Violations of the 
Academic Integrity Code will not be treated lightly, and 
disciplinary action will be taken should such violations 
occur.  Please see me if you have any questions about the 
academic violations described in the Code in general or as 
they relate to particular requirements for this course."