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Legalize This!

Overview

Recreational drug users (other than those who take harmful substances like alcohol and tobacco) are regularly imprisoned. Nearly half a million drug offenders are incarcerated in US jails, more than the total number of prisoners in 1980 and more than the entire EU prison population. In some states more is spent on maintaining the prison system than on education. Current drug policies lead to immense personal suffering, as well as police corruption, organized crime and contempt for the law, and make drugs more ...
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Overview

Recreational drug users (other than those who take harmful substances like alcohol and tobacco) are regularly imprisoned. Nearly half a million drug offenders are incarcerated in US jails, more than the total number of prisoners in 1980 and more than the entire EU prison population. In some states more is spent on maintaining the prison system than on education. Current drug policies lead to immense personal suffering, as well as police corruption, organized crime and contempt for the law, and make drugs more dangerous because they are illegal and thus not subject to proper controls. Politicians from all sides of the political spectrum are beginning to ask: is it worth it?

In arguing that criminalization is unjust, Douglas Husak explodes many of the myths that surround drug use. In some years, more than half of high school seniors take drugs, yet the US is not overrun with drug-crazed addicts. Horror stories of the dangers of drug use abound, but the truth is more prosaic; although recreational drugs are sometimes bad for users, there are between 80 and 90 million US citizens who have used illicit drugs without ill effects.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“In his remarkable book, philosopher and legal scholar Doug Husak brings the drug debate to a new level. Avoiding hyperbole, he reasons along lines that should appeal to the majority of just, sensible human beings. That he does this so well is perhaps the more remarkable because, justifiably so, he is outraged at the incarceration of, and threats to, Americans whose entire identified criminal behavior is using a substance other people dislike.”—Stanton Peele, author of Love and Addiction, The Truth About Addiction and Recovery: The Meaning of Addiction
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781859843208
  • Publisher: Verso Books
  • Publication date: 8/17/2002
  • Series: Practical Ethics Series
  • Pages: 210
  • Product dimensions: 0.48 (w) x 5.50 (h) x 8.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Douglas Husak is Professor of Philosophy and Law at Rutgers University. He is the author of Drugs and Rights and Philosophy of Criminal Law.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements
Editor's Introducton
Introduction 1
1 Understanding Drug Policy 3
Conflicting Anecdotes 3
Asking the Right Question 10
A Few Bad Answers 19
The Concept of a Drug 27
Drug Policy Preliminaries 33
Punishment as Policy 44
The Right Answer: Decriminalization of Drug Use 48
2 Reasons for Criminalizing Drug Use 64
Possible Good Answers 64
Drugs and Children 67
Drugs and Crime 82
Drugs and Health 93
Drugs and Immorality 109
3 Disadvantages of Prohibition 125
Positive Effects of Drugs 125
Negative Effects of Prohibition 133
The World of Decriminalized Drugs 151
Harms Versus Benefits 165
Getting There 178
Notes 191
Index 194
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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 10, 2003

    READ THIS BOOK AND SPREAD THE NEWS!

    THIS IS AN EXTREMELY IMPORTANT BOOK. Here's a splendid, novel, thoughtful view of prohibition that not only teaches readers a ton about the drug war but also educates them about how to think. Unlike other books that focus primarily on the costs and benefits of decriminalization, Husak's work turns to the moral question: Is it just to punish recreational drug users? No matter where you stand on the issue, you will find Husak's accessible, enjoyable prose gets you thinking about morals, justice, drugs, and people in ways you've never thought before. He has a writing style that pulls you right in, making you feel as if you're just having a beer with a buddy. He defends his conclusions so logically and so well that it seems impossible for any rational person to disagree!

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