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“Sunglasses, fire retardant clothing and blood pressure pills strongly recommended for this section.”
Efforts to minimize the harmful consequences of substance use for both individuals and society take one or more of the following forms: Demand reduction, harm reduction and supply reduction.
- “Demand reduction” efforts attempt to influence substance use through such things as education, taxation and punishment. The goal is to reduce the demand (and thus the market) for psychoactive substances.
- “Harm reduction” efforts specifically acknowledge that people will use psychoactive substances and attempt to reduce the risks associated with such use.
- “Supply reduction” efforts focus on controlling the production and distribution of substances through such things as the “War on Drugs” and limiting the number of retail outlets (be they licensed stores that sell alcohol or cigarettes or street vendors selling bootleg alcohol and cigarettes, cocaine, heroin or other drugs).
The social policy debate in the United States (and in many parts of the world) is emotional and polarized. This section of SoberDreams provides links to a number of other web sites and papers that reflect various positions in this debate. (Sunglasses, fire retardant clothing and blood pressure pills strongly recommended. <grin>)
- The United Nations International Drug Control Programme (UNDCP) is part of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. They promote anti-drug programs, such as The World Drug Campaign and publish the World Drug Report which “presents a comprehensive overview of the latest developments in (illegal) drug markets. It covers production, trafficking, consumption and the related health consequences.”
- The United States State Department publishes the annual International Narcotics Control Strategy Report which “describes the efforts of key countries to attack all aspects of the international drug trade in Calendar Year 2013. Volume I covers drug and chemical control activities. Volume II covers money laundering and financial crimes.” In this report you can read about the drug control efforts (or non-efforts) for most of the countries in the world. The report also summarizes international trends in controlling drugs. This report is used by the United States government to determine its official response to each country’s drug control efforts.
- The United States Office of National Drug Control Policy offers a selection of national drug policy papers for the United States.
- The Drug Policy Center.This organization focuses on harm reduction as a drug control policy. They state their mission “is to advance those policies and attitudes that best reduce the harms of both drug use and drug prohibition, and to promote the sovereignty of individuals over their minds and bodies.”
- The Harm Reduction Coalition.This organization focuses on harm reduction as a drug control policy; the site includes a list of harm reduction principles. They describe themselves as: “committed to reducing drug-related harm among individuals and communities by initiating and promoting local, regional, and national harm reduction education, interventions, and community organizing. HRC fosters alternative models to conventional health and human services and drug treatment; challenges traditional client/provider relationships; and provides resources, educational materials, and support to health professionals and drug users in their communities to address drug-related harm. “
tl;dr: Alcohol and Drug Social Policy -- Society’s oft-conflicted discussion about who is allowed to do what, when, where and how much. Not for the faint of heart.