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Drugs and the Law

What is your stance on decriminalization? What about Drug Maintenance and Harm Reduction? Explain how you think each of these possible solutions would work. Describe an alternative to each of these solutions.

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Please see response attached (Posting 124110.doc), which is also presented below. I also attached an excellent review of harm reduction and evidence supporting the strategy.

RESPONSE:

1. What is your stance on decriminalization?

Let's look at the definition first, and then determine if there are advantages to decriminalization.

Decriminalization is the repeal or amendment (undoing) of statutes, which made certain acts criminal, so that those acts no longer are crimes or subject to prosecution. Many states have decriminalized certain sexual practices between consenting adults, "loitering," (hanging out without any criminal activity), or out-moded racist laws against miscegenation (marriage or cohabitation between people of different races). Currently, there is a considerable movement toward decriminalization of the use of some narcotics (particularly marijuana) by adults, on various grounds, including individual rights and contention that decriminalization would take the profit out of the drug trade by making drugs available through clinics and other legal sources http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/decriminalization

In relation to drugs, decriminalization is a system that punishes offences by means other than prison. Fines for most traffic violations are an example. In relation to drugs, it is normally limited to possession (and sometimes growth) of small amounts (often around one ounce) and sometimes to sale of equally small amounts to adults. It is also often limited to marijuana among the illegal drugs. There is another distinction possible between de jure decriminalization, which entails an amendment to criminal legislation, and de facto decriminalization, which involves an administrative decision not to prosecute acts that nonetheless remain subject to arrest and imprisonment under the law. Some cities have simply decided de facto to specify that enforcement of some marijuana laws is the "lowest priority" for their police forces. http://www.dpft.org/policy.htm#2
See http://www.dpft.org/policy.htm#2 for a discussion how it differs from legalization of drugs.

What do you think about decriminalization of drugs or certain drugs?

It seems that the lawmakers only went as far as the social conventions would allow (versus legalization). Based on research evidence, there are no reported changes in patterns of marijuana use in youth between states who have decriminalized marijuana and those that have not. Thus, it is questionable as a deterrent, at best. And, there ...

Solution Summary

Referring to drug laws and strategies, this solution discusses decriminalization, drug maintenance and harm reduction in terms of how they work. It also describes an alternative to each of these solutions. Supplemented with an excellent review of harm reduction and evidence supporting the strategy.

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