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Strategies to Control

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Western University
Sociology 2105A/B

Strategies to Control Drugs 1) Prosecution focuses on placing drug dealers in jail. However, catching them is difficult, and people’s basic freedoms may be threatened in the process. Additionally, the policy of prosecuting drug dealers often unfairly punishes the poor and minorities. Mandatory sentencing laws passed in the 1980s are biased against minorities. For example, possession of 500 grams of cocaine—but only 5 grams crack— leads to the same five-year jail term. Because whites are more likely to use cocaine and blacks are more likely to use crack, critics claim that the difference in sentencing reflects not the drug but the drug user. 2) Education – Educational programs try to discourage people from trying drugs in the first place. They typically operate in schools and target young people. The most widespread program is DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education), which operates in 75% of elementary schools across the U.S. Although police, school officials, and parents agree on the need to instruct young people about drugs, research suggests that these educational programs seem to make little difference in drug use over the long term. 3) Interdiction refers to stopping drugs from moving across this country’s borders, via the Drug Enforcement Agency, the U.S. Customs Service, the Border Patrol, and the U.S. military. These groups face a daunting task: The United States has 12,000 miles of coastline and 7,500 miles of land borders, and each year 200,000 ships and boats, 600,000 aircraft, 200 million cars, and 500 million people cross U.S. borders. As a result, agents onl
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