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Federal Drug Policy: A Constant Failure


Published: April 08, 2021

Federal drug policy has changed very little over the years. Its focus remains one of criminalization of all aspects of drug policy. Yet drugs are still readily available and crime rates remain high. After 40 years of concentrating on an approach that has been unsuccessful, we should be willing to take a look at other ways of working to solve this pressing problem.

Discussion Questions

  1. Why is the current drug policy so ineffective?
  2. What would make a drug policy effective?

Additional Resources

  • Watch “The Drug War as a Socialist Enterprise,” with Milton Friedman. Available here.
  • Read “A Real Debate About Drug Policy” by George P. Shultz and Paul Volcker. Available here.
  • Listen to Robin Feldman on Drug Patents, Generics, and Drug Wars. Available here.
View Transcript

I predicted…that drug prohibition would be ineffective in cutting down the number of addicts and that it would promote crime and corruption.

How is it that the only effect on the policy of the conversion and predictions into results has been to have the government dig itself deeper and deeper into a bigger and bigger hole and spend more and more of yours and mine money on doing harm.

That’s both the most discouraging aspect of this whole problem and also the most intriguing intellectual puzzle.

In our private lives, if we try something and it goes screwy, we don’t just continue and do it bigger and bigger. 

Why is it that that isn’t the case when it comes to a matter like drugs in governmental policies?