Jeffrey A. Schaler, Ph.D.

[Note:  This course brought about a telephone call from the White House
Office of National Drug Control Strategy.  I was asked by a staff person
there "what was I trying to accomplish with this course?"  They were
obviously very concerned that I was corrupting American college students
by teaching this material.  I was also questioned about the use of
required text I edited entitled "Drugs:  Should We Legalize,
Decriminalize, or Deregulate?"  The staff person from this office who
called me wanted to "interview" me.  I said "by all means."  He never
called me back.  If he had, I would have invited him to be a guest
lecturer in this class.--JAS]  

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

Fall 1998
Mondays and Thursdays, 12:45 P.M. to 2:00 P.M.
Ward 2

Faculty:  Dr. Jeffrey A. Schaler
Office:  Dept. of Justice, Law, and Society, 
Nebraska Hall, 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 perspectives, i.e. that those drugs are 
universally-addicting substances.  The implications 
for personal and criminal responsibility for the 
consequences of legal- and illegal-drug use based on 
varying explanations for addiction 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 nicotine 
is an addictive drug and cigarettes are "nicotine-
delivery systems."  Thus, tobacco is now considered a 
"dangerous" drug.  This 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 forms 
of treatment for addiction, the efficacy of 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 format.

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 ideas addiction exists, is characterized by 
involuntariness, and 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 settings.

Required Texts

Bufe, C.  (1998).  Alcoholics Anonymous:  Cult or 
     cure?  Second edition revised & expanded.  
     Tucson, AZ:  See Sharp Press.
Schaler, J.A. (ed.) (1997).  DRUGS:  Should we 
     legalize, decriminalize, or deregulate?  Amherst, 
     N.Y.:  Prometheus Books.
Stevenson, R.L.  (1987).  Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.  
     New York:  Signet Classics
Sullum, J.  (1998)  For your own good:  The anti-
     smoking crusade and the tyranny of public health.  
     New York:  Free Press.

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 

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.  

Debate topics:  One debate concerns the court ruling on
August 14, 1998 re Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corporation 
et al. v. Food & Drug Administration et al., US Court of 
Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, in which a prior ruling was 
reversed.  One team  will argue an appeal.  The other team 
will argue against the appeal.  The other debate concerns
Flue-Cured Tobacco Cooperative Stabilization et al. v US 
Environmental Protection Agency, Decided July 17, 1998.  
One side will argue for an appeal.  The other side will 
argue against the appeal.

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 addressed.  

*  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.


Date          Topic                                 Reading

August 31     Introduction:                         Lecture

              The Drug Policy Problem 

September 3   Opium, Cocaine, and Marijuana in  

              American History                      Schaler

                                                     Part I

September 7   No class--Labor Day

September 10  Just Say "No" to Legalization        Parts II

                                                    and III

September 14  Medical Marijuana:  What Counts         

              As Medicine?                          Part IV

September 17  Drug War Metaphors and 

              Addictions:                            Part V

              Drugs Are Property                       

September 21  Addiction Is A Behavior:              Part VI

              The Myth of Loss of Control

September 24  Do Drugs Cause Crime?                Part VII

              (First position paper due)

September 28  State-Supported and Court-

              Ordered                             Part VIII

              Treatment for Addiction

October 1     Film Do Drugs Cause Addiction?       Jekyll &

              (Debatesdebates)                         Hyde

October 5     The Case Against Alcoholism as a 

              Disease                               Schaler

October 8     Film Is Abstinence the Answer to

              Alcoholism?  (Debatesdebates)

              More on our right to drugs as property 

October 12    Constitutional issues & review

October 15    Mid-term examination

October 19    Film & Analysis of AA                Bufe 1-4

October 22    Treatment as religion & cult        Bufe 5-11

October 26    Tobacco:  The New Devil            Sullum 1-2

October 29    Coughing Cowboys & Vice Charge     Sullum 3-4

November 2    Smoke Alarm & Try, Try Again       Sullum 5-6

November 5    Little White Slavers & Doctor's 

              Orders                             Sullum 7-8

November 9    Prep for debates

November 12   Debates

November 16   Debates

November 19   Debates

November 23   Debates

November 26   No class--Thanksgiving

November 30   Problems in the reform movement: Handout

              Medicalization and the 

              therapeutic state

December 3    Review for final exam

December 7    Last class

December 17   Final examination   11:20 A.M. to 1:50 P.M.

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."