A detailed look at drug control policy as it has been shaped historically in the United States and other countries, most notably in China and East Asia.
Drug policy has emphasized suppressing drugs at their source by curtailing their distribution, but few policy makers have considered legalization as a remedy. On the other hand, much of drug policy has been a record of bureaucratic infighting and aggrandizement. At the same time, it has reflected nativistic and racial biases. These essays suggest, however, that alternative strategies would not necessarily be any more successful. David Courtwright argues that legalization of drugs would create its own problems. Given the nature of federal policy, institutional structures, and social mores, the authors question whether drug policy could have been otherwise constructed.
William O. Walker has brought together leading scholars writing in the field to contribute essays that offer broad perspectives on the history of drug policy. They provide a comparative and historical lens through which to view the current debate over drug policy in the United States.