Tidbits on Drug Policy

Another two cents thrown in

The Prohibitionist Themes

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Scott Morgan, in his post on StopTheDrugWar.org, writes:

I learned of a marvelous ancient document which sets forth in basic terms the fundamental strategies that have long been employed to destroy the drug war debate. “Themes in Chemical Prohibition” by William L. White was published in 1979 by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. A review of chemical prohibitionist literature reveals eight themes which appear to emerge from the tactics of most such movements.

Here they are:


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.

These themes are great focal points for addressing the arguments usually put forth by the advocates of the prohibition. In subsequent posts, I hope to discuss each one of them. Stay tuned.

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