Argues that the myth of the "dope fiend" has led to the failure of various attempted wars on drugs, as well as government involvement with organized crime and other abuses of power
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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.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Journalist and public relations specialist Weir has previously written studies of gunslingers (Written with Lead, 1992) and Pyrrhic successes (Fatal Victories, 1993). In this rather sensationally titled volume, he reviews the social history of America's crusades against drugs, blaming moralists and politicians, profiteers and thugs for establishing a dope fiend myth that continues to distort public policy and guarantees a massive, highly profitable black market in controlled substances no matter how many "wars" may be declared. Weir covers the roles of organized crime and various government agencies in this illicit trade, the place of flower children and the Vietnam War in defining drug mythology, and the impact of drug war culture on our communities, police, and courts. For Weir (as for other critics of criminalization), the War on Drugs creates more problems than drugs do themselves; his last chapter considers various alternatives. Not an essential purchase, but In the Shadow of the Dope Fiend does provide a fairly inclusive compendium of the case against prohibition as a solution to drug use in the U.S. Mary Carroll
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Book Description Archon Books, 1994. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # M0208023844