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Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results

Overview

Drug-taking and drug control are alike: Both are often done to excess. Against Excess shows how we can limit the damage done by drugs and the damage done by drug policies. Mark Kleiman cuts through the rhetoric of the war on drugs and the legalization debate to discuss the practical options available for the control of the entire range of psychoactive substances, offering detailed prescriptions for managing alcohol, nicotine, cocaine, marijuana, and heroin. Against Excess explains why and how drugs in ...
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Overview

Drug-taking and drug control are alike: Both are often done to excess. Against Excess shows how we can limit the damage done by drugs and the damage done by drug policies. Mark Kleiman cuts through the rhetoric of the war on drugs and the legalization debate to discuss the practical options available for the control of the entire range of psychoactive substances, offering detailed prescriptions for managing alcohol, nicotine, cocaine, marijuana, and heroin. Against Excess explains why and how drugs in general--including currently legal drugs--are unlike other consumer goods in ways that justify governmental control over their distribution and use, then reviews the vocabulary of policy instruments through which that control can be exercised. The book is organized around three questions: Why do some people who can manage the rest of their lives get into trouble with drugs? How do their problems harm their families and their communities? What can governments do about this situation? Kleiman argues that we need to develop a middle course between prohibition and complete legal availability: a new category of "grudging toleration" that would apply to alcohol and to some of the currently prohibited drugs. He also argues that, as a practical matter, drug programs--enforcement, persuasion, and helping and controlling problem users--may be as important as the laws. Here is the definitive book on drug policy by one of the country's leading experts on the subject.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In this witty and comprehensive treatise we follow Kleiman, lecturer in public policy at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government, as he makes his way through ancient opium dens, Colombian coca fields, liquor stores, house parties and DEA offices. An urbane, informed observer, the author takes note of drug-trade economics, inconsistencies of government eradication efforts and frailties of human psychology and physiology in a surprisingly entertaining yet lucid analysis of drug addiction and its consequences for individuals and society. Kleiman makes a case for a middle road between prohibition and permissiveness, i.e., for taxes, regulations and personal-use licenses that might avoid the pitfalls of criminalization. He has many interesting suggestions: the deterrent value of a $1 tax on drinks and fining juveniles for smoking. And we hear from experts like Sholom Aleichem, who quips, ``An innkeeper loves a drunkard, but not for a son-in-law.'' (Apr.)
Booknews
Kleiman (public policy, Harvard) is a former drug policy analyst at the US Dept. of Justice, whose grasp of the complexities and whose idea of a middle course between prohibition and complete legal availability ("grudging toleration") make one wish his advising were more potent with officials and legislators. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780465011032
  • Publisher: Basic Books
  • Publication date: 4/1/1992
  • Pages: 496

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Preface and Warning
I Preliminaries 1
Introduction: How to Stop Losing the War on Drugs 3
1 Thinking About Drug Policy 12
II Problems 25
2 Drug Abuse and Other Bad Habits 27
3 The Other Victims of Drug Abuse 46
III Policies 65
4 Laws 67
5 The Markets for Illicit Drugs 104
6 Enforcement 127
7 Persuasion, Help, and Control 164
IV Drugs 201
8 Alcohol 203
9 Marijuana 253
10 Cocaine 286
11 Tobacco 317
12 Heroin 359
V Recapitulation and Conclusion 383
13 Against Excess: Drug Policy in Moderation 385
Notes 389
Subject Index 451
Name Index 465
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