The authors argue that since the 1980s UK drug policy has largely been ill considered, reactive and counter- productive. Rather than reducing drug taking and drug related crime, such policies have exacerbated the problem and contributed towards an environment in which drug use and illegal drug activities are likely to flourish. One of the consequences of this 'war on drugs' is that it manifests itself as a 'war on drug users' with an emphasis not upon the development of appropriate rehabilitative models, but upon prevention, prohibition and punishment. Drawing on the authors' qualitative research on Merseyside, England involving 200 problem drug users, it will be argued that the war on drug users has subjected these people to a process of stigmatization, marginalization and social exclusion, and prevented many of them from recovery by hindering their re-integation into the wider social and economic community. Instead, growing numbers of problematic drug users remain locked into a cycle of chronic drug relapse.
Chemicals and Drugs | Law and Society | Other Mental and Social Health | Substance Abuse and Addiction
Buchanan, J. & Young, L. (2000) ‘The War on Drugs – A War on Drug Users’. Drugs: Education, Prevention Policy, 7(4), 409-422
Digital Commons Citation
Buchanan, Julian and Young, L, "The War on Drugs – A War on Drug Users" (2000). Social Inclusion Research Unit. Paper 23.