Document Detail

The law, social control, and drug policy: models, factors, and processes.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  8282448     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
The law is governmental social control; it is the state's most direct intervention in the normative life of its citizens. Psychoactive drugs are controlled through regulation and prohibition, depending on the legal status of the particular substance. Licit drugs are made available through a regulatory scheme of medical prescription and legal sale; health is protected through investigating, licensing, and monitoring the quality and quantity of drugs and the circumstances in which they are consumed. Illicit drugs are forbidden by criminal statutes which create offenses related to both use (i.e., possession) and distribution (i.e., trafficking, importing); no level of use is acceptable and there is no legal source of supply. The agents of control for licit drugs are physicians, scientists, and health bureaucrats. In contrast, the agents that enforce illicit drug laws are the police, prosecutors, courts, and customs officials. The general preventive effect of the criminal law is activated through the threat of punishment and the setting of educative and moral standards of permitted behavior. The acceptability of drug-use behavior has varied widely across time, culture, and substance. What have we learned about the legal control of psychoactive substances? It is evident that a state may become increasingly overdependent on the law and neglect other alternatives of social control that may sometimes be more effective or less costly in reducing the possible harmful effects of drug use. The law is a powerful but also blunt instrument of social control.
P G Erickson
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Comparative Study; Journal Article; Review    
Journal Detail:
Title:  The International journal of the addictions     Volume:  28     ISSN:  0020-773X     ISO Abbreviation:  Int J Addict     Publication Date:  1993 Oct 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  1994-02-15     Completed Date:  1994-02-15     Revised Date:  2006-11-15    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0123640     Medline TA:  Int J Addict     Country:  UNITED STATES    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  1155-76     Citation Subset:  IM    
Addiction Research Foundation, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
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MeSH Terms
Cross-Cultural Comparison
Drug and Narcotic Control / legislation & jurisprudence*
Psychotropic Drugs*
Social Control, Formal*
Street Drugs*
Substance-Related Disorders / prevention & control*
Reg. No./Substance:
0/Psychotropic Drugs; 0/Street Drugs

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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