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Exam Note for Lecture 7 - Drugs and Drug Policy II.docx

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Steven Hayle

LECTURE 7 - Drugs and Drug Policy II - Politics and the Social Construction of D+N *youngest person executed in USA in 20th century => 14yo boy, African American (1944) Policy Window Theory => John Kingdon (1984) -A policy window is an opportunity for politicians or policymakers to push through their „pet solutions‟, or raise attention to issues that will make their „pet solutions‟ appealing -Policy windows are most likely to open during favourable POLITICAL CONDITIONS or when a serious PROBLEM comes to peoples‟ attention that requires a solution -fleeting opportunity, window is not open for long -media can shift everyone's focus on certain issues -personal career aspirations strongly shape laws/policies The “British System” -“British System” – Medically based system of PRESCRIBING OPIATES to ADDICTS on a LONG-TERM BASIS by PHYSICIANS => to wean them off -viewed drug use as an illness, not as deviance (disease model of addiction) -majority of users were higher classes with power => doctors/academics -not a threat in the same ways as Asians/minorities were perceived to be -Canada/USA => drug was used/manufactured by Asians (opium dens) - social constructionism -----1920 Dangerous Drugs Act- British prohibition of drug use and sale. Similar to the American Harrison Tax Act and the Opium and Drugs Act of 1911 -Delavigne – Like Harry Anslinger in the US, this is England‟s first DRUG CZAR -wanted to stamp out ADDICTION in Britain and professionals' use of DRUGS -Dangerous Drug Act threatened to CRIMINALISE DOCTORS who PRESCRIBED OPIATES to PATIENTS -In particular, it threatened to CRIMINALISE DOCTORS who themselves were HEROIN ADDICTS -Threatened DOCTOR-PATIENT RELATIONS -Threatened the DISEASE MODEL of ADDICTION -----Rolleston Committee Report (1926)- Report by a committee made up of DOCTORS and CHAIRED by the PRESIDENT of the ROYAL COLLEGE OF PHYSICIANS -Received TESTIMONY from many PHYSICIANS -----Sir Humphrey Rolleston- CHAIR of the COMMITTEE who was a proponent of the DISEASE MODEL of ADDICTION. -----DISEASE MODEL OF ADDICTION => ADDICTION is a medical ILLNESS that should be treated as such. Supported by COMMITTEE members and WITNESSES -The Demise of the “British System” -Between 1958 and 1964 the number of ADDICTS in Britain jumps from 62 to 342 -Lady Frankau – Over-prescription => 1,020 HEROIN TABLETS to a veteran Canadian th -April 16 , 1968- Severe restrictions on the PRESCRIPTION of OPIATES by PHYSICIANS -Signifies the end of the “British System”. How Conflict Theory Explains the Rise and Fall of the “British System”: -When the Rolleston Committee recommendations were adopted by the British government, the majority of OPIATE users were WHITE, MIDDLE CLASS and employed as PROFESSIONALS, such as DOCTORS who became ADDICTED to the drug after being TREATED for a MEDICAL CONDITION….=> similar to cocaine -Number of ADDICTS at the time was LOW -In 1968 when the “British System” fell, there were many more people using OPIATES -OPIATES were now being used RECREATIONALLY…=> similar to cocaine, marijuana -OPIATES were now being used by a much more RACIALLY HETEROGRENOUS group of YOUTHS….=> again, similar to cocaine/marijuana -late 60s there was a rise in use of this drug in minority populations -poses a larger threat to power structure -thus more severe restrictions on physicians prescription of opium -British system may be seen as the pioneer of the Harm Reduction Model (and the disease model) Cannabis Decriminalisation in the US -11 states decriminalised cannabis possession between the years 1973 and 1978 1973- Oregon 1975- Alaska, Maine, Colorado, California, Colorado 1976- Minnesota 1977- Mississippi, New York, North Carolina 1978- Nebraska Liberalisation of Drug Laws -Legalisation => removes an act from all penalties -NO COUNTRY in the world has legalised cannabis or any other narcotics -mainly because of international conventions => small exceptions -Decriminalisation => removes an act from criminal penalties but leaves other penalties in place -can't be arrested/jailed/be put on criminal record - just a small penalty -but poor people criminalized since may not be able to pay the ticket -e.g. CANADA -Depenalisation => reduced penalties, but the act remains a criminal offense -police can still arrest => they hold all power on who the law is enforced on -e.g. AMSTERDAM -Regulation => illegal substances can be taken in certain specific circumstances, often medical Factors Explaining Cannabis Decriminalisation in the 1970s 1. National political leadership support for cannabis decriminalisation 2. Arrest, prosecution, conviction and punishment of high status, affluent Americans for cannabis possession and sale 3. Bureaucratic law enforcement problems => not enough resources to combat it -better to decriminalize it than seem weak/lacking control 4. NOT Democratic governments in power! -"penalties against drug possession should not be more damaging to an person than use of the drug itself The Demise of American Cannabis Decriminalisation in the 1980s 1. The end of federal political leadership support -Reagan highly conservative => replaced the more liberal Jimmy Carter 2. Rise of the religious right 3. Emergence of parent groups opposed to cannabis use 4. The “War on Drugs” against crack cocaine Cannabis Depenalisation in the Netherlands -Sebastian Scheerer (1978) => compares DECRIMINALISATION of drug use in the Netherlands to the CRIMINALISATION of German drug laws in the early 1970s -trying to understand the underlying STRUCTURAL VARIABLES and SOCIAL PROCESSES that explain why governments choose to CRIMINALISE or DECRIMINALISE drugs -Both the Netherlands and Germany experienced a sudden “wave” of cannabis use -Public opinion surveys in BOTH countries showed that the majority of citizens supported CRIMINALISATION of cannabis use -But whereas Germany amended its Opium Law to increase penalties for soft and hard drug users and dealers (1971), the Netherlands decriminalised the consumption of both hard and soft drugs,
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