Jeffrey A. Schaler, Ph.D.

Released in March 1998:


Drugs: Should We Legalize, Decriminalize, or Deregulate?

Edited by Jeffrey A. Schaler, Ph.D.
Prometheus Books, Amherst, New York.
ISBN 1-57392-196-3
357 pages, paper

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"Abundant and convincing evidence exists to support the view that illegal drug use has more to do with choice, values, and expectations than with addiction, compulsion, or disease. Drug policy is always based on explanations for drug use, but the explanations are diverse. US drug policies are largely based on the assumption that drugs cause addiction, but many leading researchers view this as a social construct. Three views in the current national debate: 1) "Drug Warrior" Perspective: the foundation of our present drug control policies, valuing a paternalistic state that plays the role of protective parent and focuses on strict enforcement of prohibition; drug warriors typically believe that drugs cause addiction and crime, and that public policy should limit supply and punish users and dealers; 2) The Public Health Perspective: people who advocate the legalization and medicalization of drug use, regarding addiction as a disease and criminal sanctions as inhumane and wasteful of tax money; they advocate treatment rather than punishment, using the slogan of "harm reduction"; 3) Classical Liberal (Libertarian) Perspective: regards drug use as a behavior based on personal values; does not believe that drugs or addiction can cause crime (rather, a free-market approach to currently illegal drugs would reduce crime); valuing liberty over health, they criticize medicalization as paternalistic and statist, and advocate informal social controls. The 29 articles in this reader consider justifications for the present policy, medical marijuana, drug war metaphors, addiction as a behavior, whether drugs cause crime, and the efficacy of drug treatment programs. [NOTE: Excellent selection, raising many challenging questions for all sides . . . ]"
--World Future Society, February 2000

This unique anthology provides what the war on drug most needs: an examination of the premises on which the "war" is waged. Given the failures and great expense of the suppression movement both financially and in human costs it is important reading. Read it to determine whether the government misunderstands the nature of the problem.

---George J. Alexander
Elizabeth H. and John A. Sutro Professor of Law
Director of the Institute of International and Comparative Law
Santa Clara University

The unique anthology Jeffrey Schaler has collected in this important volume gives policy makers and others willing to learn, an opportunity to go beyond simplistic solutions to the complexities of drug problems in a society.

---Morris E. Chafetz, M.D.
President, Health Education Foundation
Founding Director,
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism

This collection confronts the values and premises underpinning current drug policy and debate in the United States. Specifically, it provides critical empirical evidence to undermine the assumed experiential reality of "addiction" and the relationship between drug usage and crime.

---Richard E. Vatz, Ph.D
Professor of Communication Studies and Mass Communication, Towson University
Associate Psychology Editor, USA TODAY MAGAZINE

Table of Contents

INTRODUCTION The Drug Policy Problem J.A. Schaler

PART ONE Those Cannot Remember the Past...

1. Musto, D. -- Opium, cocaine and marijuana in American history.

PART TWO A "War on Drugs" or a War on People?: The Federal Government's Position

2. Office of National Drug Control Policy. -- The National Drug Control Strategy: 1996.

PART THREE Just Say No to Drug Legalization!

3. Wilson, J.Q. -- Against the Legalization of Drugs. 4. Bennett, W. -- Should Drugs Be Legalized? 5. DuPont, R.L. and Goldfarb R.L. -- Drug Legalization: Asking for Trouble. 6. Kidder, R.M. -- Legalizing Drugs Would Sidestep the Moral Issue. 7. Rangel, C.B. -- Legalizing Drugs: A "Dangerous Idea." 8. Biden, J.R. -- Just Say "No!" to Proposal to Make Drug Use Legal. 9. Krauthammer, C. -- Mistakes of the Legalizers . . . 10. Gates, D.F. -- Some Among Us Would Seek to Surrender. 11.Courtwright, D. T. -- Should We Legalize Drugs? History Answers . . . No. 12. Kaplan, J. -- Taking Drugs Seriously. 13. Kondracke, M.M. -- Don't Legalize Drugs.

PART FOUR Medical Marijuana: What Counts as Medicine?

14. Kassirer, J.P. -- Federal Foolishness and Marijuana. 15. Annas, G.J. -- Reefer Madness-The Federal Response to California's Medical-Marijuana Law. 16. Szasz, T.S. -- Medics in the War on Drugs.

Drug War Metaphors and Addictions: Drugs are Property

17. Heath, D. -- The War on Drugs as a Metaphor in American Culture. 18. Barnett, R.E. -- Curing the Drug-Law Addiction: The Harmful Side Effects of Legal Prohibition. 19. Szasz, T.S. -- Drugs as Property: The Right We Rejected. 20. Friedman, M. -- There's No Justice in the War on Drugs.

PART FIVE Addiction is a Behavior: The Myth of Loss of Control

21. Alexander, B.K. and Schweighofer, A.R.F. -- Defining "Addiction." 22. Schaler, J.A. -- Drugs and Free Will. 23. Robins, L.N., Helzer, J.E., Hesselbrock, M., and Wish, E. -- Vietnam Veterans Three Years After Vietnam: How Our Study Changed our View of Heroin. 24. Alexander, B., Hadaway, P., & Coambs, R. -- Rat Park Chronicle. 25. Erickson, P.G. and Alexander, B.K. -- Cocaine and Addictive Liability.

PART SIX Do Drugs Cause Crime?

26. Erickson, P.G. and Weber, T.R. -- Cocaine Careers, Control and Consequences: Results from a Canadian Study. 27. Fingarette, H. -- Addiction and Criminal Responsibility.

PART SEVEN State-Supported and Court-Ordered Treatment for Addiction is Unconstitutional (and Counter-Productive)

28. Luff, E. -- The First Amendment and Drug Alcohol Treatment Programs: To What Extent May Coerced Treatment Programs Attempt to Alter Beliefs Relating to Utimate Concerns and Self Concept? 29. Schaler, J.A. -- Thinking About Drinking: The Power of Self-Fulfilling Prophecies.