In the Shadow of the Dope Fiend: America's War on Drugs

William Weir, Author Archon Books $35 (320p) ISBN 978-0-208-02384-1
The U.S. will continue to lose the so-called War on Drugs, charges Weir (Fatal Victories), because its approaches to the problem are all wrong. Interdiction is futile, he argues, because of the size of our country and its long shorelines and land borders (``the smuggler's delight''). The government, particularly the CIA, has not only fostered but helped build the drug trade in various parts of the world. The decline of the manufacturing economy has reduced the number of low-level jobs and concomitantly stimulated the growth of an underclass without hope for a better future and ripe to become either drug buyers or drug sellers. Harsh sentences have clogged jails, hog-tied courts and wasted police time. Profits are so enormous that law-enforcement agents are easily bribed. The creation of the demon Dope Fiend, a straw man set up in the 1980s to frighten the public about illegal drugs, has not worked, Weir concludes. The only solution, he believes, is decriminalization. Dealers could be licensed to sell drugs--including tobacco--and the sales would be run by state (not federal) government, thus eliminating the profit motive. A cogent case for change. Illustrations. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 11/28/1994
Release date: 12/01/1994
Genre: Children's
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