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Themes in drug policy

Posted Jan 27 2009 4:38pm
Ed at The Second Road commented on my last post that "race of the person using the drug is probably playing a role in how the public perceives the danger of that drug."

Ed is very right, though the current methamphetamine hysteria puts a white twist on the pattern. William White wrote an article on this subject and identified these themes:
  1. The drug is associated with a hated subgroup of the society or a foreign enemy.

  2. The drug is identified as solely responsible for many problems in the culture, i.e., crime, violence, and insanity.

  3. The survival of the culture is pictured as being dependent on the prohibition of the drug.

  4. The concept of "controlled" usage is destroyed and replaced by a "domino theory" of chemical progression.

  5. The drug is associated with the corruption of young children, particularly their sexual corruption.

  6. Both the user and supplier of the drug are defined as fiends, always in search of new victims; usage of the drug is considered "contagious."

  7. Policy options are presented as total prohibition or total access.

  8. Anyone questioning any of the above assumptions is bitterly attacked and characterized as part of the problem that needs to be eliminated.
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