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Lecture

SOC 1500 Oct 20 2011 Lecture Note (F11)

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Department
Sociology
Course
SOC 1500
Professor
Alexander Shvarts
Semester
Fall

Description
SOC 1500 Thursday, October 20, 2011 The Resurgence of Prohibitionism: From Malign Neglect to Renewed Repression, 1986-1992 • Decrease in drug use in Canada and the United States in the 1980s, but policies became more punitive by the mid-1980s: In 1986, U.S. President Ronald Reagan declared a new crusade on drugs, Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney followed suit > If drug use decreased, should have made less restrictive laws – opposite occurred • A number of factors encouraged the renewal of prohibitionism and repressive strategies: Following the more liberal 1960s and 1970s, conservative governments in the United States, Britain, and Canada and the American media portrayed cocaine as a highly dangerous and addictive drug. Drug panic over cocaine imported from the United States and helped to justify further repression, even though evidence showed a decline in cocaine use. Canadian journalists produced “scare” stories. The Resurgence of Prohibitionism: From Malign Neglect to Renewed Repression, 1986-1992 • Have the harsh strategies used in the United States resulted in reduced drug use? - U.S. drug policy – failed strategy: 35 billion dollars each year, locks up a disproportionate number of young blacks and Hispanics, corrupts local police, has not reduced drug use. Same thing happened during Prohibition in the 1920s - increased bootlegging, encouraged the spread of guns and organized crime, and corrupted many federal and local enforcement officers > approx. ½ people in US are in jail for drug related crimes; lower class people are locked up for drugs – not upper class people who use drugs; there are prob. more people rich people using cocaine because it is expensive; policies of prohibition has not worked for any drugs; drug use reduced since 1960’sbut virtually stable ever since The Resurgence of Prohibitionism: From Malign Neglect to Renewed Repression, 1986-1992 • Lenton (2005) – Australia: Favors civil penalties, such as small fines, over criminal ones when dealing with cannabis offences • Boyd (2004): Legalization would end the militarization of drug policy, the criminalization of drug users, and the violence inherent in an illegal drug trade. The war on drugs diverts fund from services. • Canada’s government: Ignores drug professionals when developing policy – i.e. Addiction Research Foundation favors harm-reduction strategies and the inclusion of drugs like tobacco and alcohol in the “drug problem” Reducing Drug Use by Aiming at a Broader Target • Public outrage directed towards serious abusers: Direct programs and laws against the minority of serious troublemakers rather than towards the majority of minor offenders Drug Strategies: Decriminalization, Legalization, or State Controls? • United States: destructive drug policy – Causes corruption of police officers and entire governments - attempts to reduce supply instead of reducing demand > Not solving problem that people are still demanding it • Illegality of a drug does not increase the likelihood that a user will commit theft to obtain money for that drug: Most cocaine users bought drugs with their own money > Don’t steal $ to buy cocaine; most people who do drugs don’t necessarily steal in order to buy drugs • Netherlands: policy-makers and drug researchers work together. Very few “new” young users become involved in a junkie lifestyle. Dutch drug users commit less property crime. A Harm-Reduction Drug Policy • Canadian drug researchers favor policies that focus on the reduction of harm. • O’Malley and Mugford in Australia (1991) advocate the following ideas: 1. Protect people from tobacco smoke, and warn smokers of the risk of their behavior. > Can’t smoke in/outside public areas or in cars 2. Prevent heroin users from stealing to support their habits, and warn them of the risk of continued use. > Prevent people from committing crimes to support habits 3. Oppose prohibition and disapprove of complete legalization > Find solution in between prohibition and legalization; shouldn’t be able to buy cocaine in stores, but find different, legal alternative 4. For alcohol and tobacco, remove advertising, raise prices through taxes, and enforce age limits on purchase. > Advertisement for tobacco/alcohol cannot show the person actually using the product, just holding it 5. Normalize the user A Harm-Reduction Drug Policy • Hackler’s views: Does not advocate normalizing drug use > Should not put people who are addicted to cocaine and make them feel normal; show they have; againstm commercial forces glamorizing drug use; believes advertising for all drugs should be banned > Advertising geared towards young to get them , while educational and dissuasive advertising should be encouraged > Should have advertisements showing detrimental effects o; advocates a harm reduction approach > Ex. Safe injection; believes the cultivation, possession, and private sale of small amounts of cannabis should be decriminalized > Marijuana is not extremely harmful drug – small amounts should be decrim, and heroin would be available through prescription Hypocrisy as a Major Barrier to Reasonable Drug Policies • United States: Largest exporter of tobacco. Pressured by the tobacco lobby, the government displays further hypocrisy in failing to stop harmful advertising directed at children. > Most tobacco around world comes from US • CIA: After the Second World War the CIA was formed and co-operated extensively with drug dealers as part of the battle against communism. • Other financial institutions have laundered drug money • So many people are profiting from the illegal drug trade - no incentive to change Are the Motivations of Drug Dealers Unique (Hackler - pp.307-308) • Fred Desroches (2005) study of higher-level drug trafficking in Canada (1990-2002): Drug traffickers use friendship, kinship, criminal, business, and ethnic networks to select partners, employees, suppliers, and distributors. Drug syndicates are small. Leaders hire people who take most of the risks, so they can protect themselves from the more dangerous activity of crossing national borders. Peripheral or fringe members are more vulnerable to arrest - include persons in legitimate businesses who ship drugs across borders, as well as professionals such as lawyers, accountants, and bankers whose job is to launder money, conceal its source, and invest profits. Drug-dealing syndicates remain small because it is difficult to corrupt officials and because large organizations attract the attention o
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