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Sociology and American Drug Policy

James A. Inciardi
The American Sociologist
Vol. 18, No. 2, Sociology and Social Policy (Summer, 1987), pp. 179-188
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/27702561
Page Count: 10
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Sociology and American Drug Policy
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Abstract

American drug policy is structured around a punitive model. Although sociologists have made major contributions to the drug abuse research literature, they have been absent in the formulation of drug policy. Ever since the first systematic study of drug addiction by a sociologist was conducted during the 1930s, sociologists have lacked credibility in the eyes of policy makers. Studies of addiction and crime have been biased by methodological flaws, and sociological theories of addiction have had little relationship to the real world of drug abuse. Moreover, sociologists have generally offered radical, simplistic, and unworkable recommendations for dealing with the problems associated with drug use. The pragmatic approach for sociologists involves using the tools of their science within the context of existing policy—to reduce drug abuse and thereby limit the need for punitive controls.

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