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The Ongoing Battle Against
Illegal Drugs
Chapter 16
Introduction to Criminal Justice 2003:
A Microsoft® PowerPoint® Tool
Slides prepared by:
Larry Bassi
SUNY Brockport
© 2002 Wadsworth Publishing Co.
Types of Psychoactive Drugs
Hallucinogens Sedatives
Differences Between Illicit
and Licit Drugs
Why society prohibits
some drugs and not
others cannot be
explained by the risk
of possible social or
personal harm nor be
the addictive nature of
a drug.
Some drugs are illegal
because legislatures
believe that
presiding societal
norms and values
will be protected by
declaring them mala
Schedules of Narcotics as Defined by the
Federal Controlled Substances Act
Major Drug Prohibition
Harrison Act of 1914
Harrison Narcotic Drug Act of 1923
Volstead Act (National Prohibition Act)
The Marijuana Tax Act
The Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention
and Control Act of 1970
– Controlled Substances Act (CSA)
Marijuana - The “Gateway”
The gateway effect refers to
the phenomenon whereby
marijuana may lead one to try
(and possibly become addicted)
to “harder” illegal substances.
Relationship of Violent Crime
and Prohibition
During Prohibition / After Prohibition
Three Factors in the Learning Process That
Cause First-time Drug Users to Become
Multiple Users.
Learning the
techniques of
drug use
Perceiving the
effects of drug
Learn to enjoy
the social
experience of
taking drugs
Medical v. Criminal Model
The medical model
accepts that addicts
are not criminals but
rather are mentally or
physically ill individuals
who were forced into
acts of petty crime to
“feed their habit”
Those believing in
the criminal model
of addiction believe
that abusers and
addicts endanger
society with their
behavior and should
be treated as any
other citizen who
commits other
Explanations for the Relationships
Between Drugs and Crime
Systemic Model
Implies that violence is a by-product of the
interpersonal relationships within the drug
using community
Economically Impulsive Model
Holds that drug abusers commit crimes in
order to get the money to purchase drugs.
Psychopharmacological Model
Purports that individuals act violently or
criminally as a direct result of the drugs they
have ingested
Committing Crime Under the Influence of
Drugs and Alcohol
The 20-80 Rule
Consume 80% of the total
amount of psychoactive
drugs used.
20% of psychoactive
drug users
Federal Agencies Involved in
Drug Enforcement
Drug Enforcement
U.S. Coast
Immigration and
Naturalization Service
U.S. Border
Federal Bureau
of Investigation
U.S. Military
Federal Drug Control Budget, 2000
Drug Treatment
Drug Prevention
Domestic Law Enforcement
International Law Enforcement
Budget Authority
(in millions of dollars)
Goals of Local Police Drug
Enforcement Activity
To reduce gang
violence associated
with illegal drug trade
To control street crimes
committed by illegal
drug users
To improve the physical, social, and
economic well-being of illegal drug users
To improve the quality
of life in communities
plagued by illegal drug
To deter minors from
using illegal drugs
Mandatory Minimum Sentence Laws as
a Drug Enforcement Strategy
The Anti-Drug Abuse
Act of 1986
established two levels
of mandatory prison
terms for first-time
drug traffickers: a five
and ten year term,
depending upon the
quantity and kind of
drug involved. States
have passed
legislation with similar
Punishment for First-Time
Asset Forfeiture Program of 1984 as a
Drug Enforcement Strategy
Forfeiture laws include all assets purportedly
traceable to drug transactions as well as real
property purportedly obtained or used in the
illegal drug trade. This includes cash, bank
accounts, cars, boats, houses and land.
Because forfeiture proceedings are civil, there
are few constitutional safeguards of the
criminal justice process, such as the presumption
of innocence, right to an attorney and hearsay
“School yard” Statutes as a Drug
Enforcement Strategy
Statutes that specify minimum terms of three year to sometimes
life or up to three times the term and fine as would otherwise been
authorized for any person distributing illicit drugs on or within
1,000 feet of school property.
Is the “cure” worse than the disease”?
• The drug trade has created opportunities for a black market to
flourish, which has greatly benefited organized crime.
• Enormous profits have made corruption of law enforcement
officials inevitable.
• Because there is no regulatory control over the quality of illegal
drugs, consumers face risks of medical complication from ‘bad’
• Drugs are expensive not because of their production costs, but
because of their illegality and as a result, users commit property
crimes to obtain the funds necessary to purchase them.
• Millions of otherwise law-abiding Americans have been labeled
“criminals” because of drug use.
Focus is on the supplier
or seller - not the user
Supply-side Enforcement
Basic Assumptions Justifying “Supplyside” Enforcement Efforts.
• If law enforcement agents are
successful in incapacitating
those who grow, refine,
transport, and sell drugs, the
amount of drugs available
should drop. When the supply
of a resource that many
people want drops, the price
should rise.
• By incapacitating the
production, refining,
transport and marketing
systems, suppliers will be
required to spend more
resources to rebuild their
drug operations, thus
driving up the price of
the “product.”
“Substitution Effects”
1. Successful efforts to restrict the supply of one
drug will lead to increased production and consumption
of a substitute.
2. More potent forms of a drug drive out of the market less
potent forms whenever the drug is made illegal.
Myth v. Reality:
Who is using drugs?
living in a large
– primarily males
Drug Courts as a Prevention and
Control Strategy
• Based on the idea that
treatment will do more
to lower recidivism than will incarceration.
• Usually for non-violent offenders whose involvement with the
system can be directly related to drug use.
• If the defendant waives the right to a speedy trial, he/she goes
immediately into a drug treatment program.
• If the program is successfully completed, initial charges are
• If the program is not successfully completed, then the charges are
re-instated and the adjudicatory process resumes.
Arguments for the Legalization of
•Reduction of drug prices to competitive levels would no
longer require large sums of money and would therefore
eliminate some crime
•Violent crime associated with drug dealing would
be reduced
•The criminal justice system would become more efficient
because of the increased resources
Benefits of Legalization
Eliminate costly drug enforcement
Windfall tax revenues
Reduction in drug prices to competitive levels
Quality control possible
End of violent crime associated with dealing
A more efficient system because resources
devoted to drug enforcement could be used in
other crime areas
•Would place high taxes on substances
•Promotion of substances would be severely
•Tax proceeds would go to programs warning
of high health risks
•Sellers would be restricted through
government licensure
•Restrict buyers by age and through
strict sanctions for public harms caused
Harm Reduction Strategies
• One of the basic assumptions of these strategies is that
some people will never
quit. The focus then is to try and
prevent harm to them and to society.
These kinds of programs may include:
– Clean needle exchange programs
– Condom distribution
– Free and regular medical
for Drug
Global Illicit Drug Production