Since the early twentieth century, the United States has led a global prohibition effort against certain drugs in which production restriction and criminalization are emphasized over prevention and treatment as means to reduce problematic usage. This “war on drugs” is widely seen to have failed, and periodically decriminalization and legalization movements arise. Debates continue over whether the problems of addiction and crime associated with illicit use of drugs stem from their illegal status or the nature of the drugs themselves. In The Long War on Drugs Anne L. Foster explores the origin of the punitive approach to drugs and its continued appeal despite its obvious flaws. She provides a comprehensive overview, focusing not only on a political history of policy developments but also on changes in medical practices and understanding of drugs. Foster also outlines the social and cultural changes prompting different attitudes about drugs; the racial, environmental, and social justice implications of particular drug policies; and the international consequences of US drug policy.
Acknowledgments ix Introduction. The Meaning of Drugs 1 1. The Many Uses of Drugs 5 Part I. The Battle for Prohibition, 1870–1940 15 2. Identifying the Problem 19 3. Deciding on Prohibition 31 4. International Conferences 42 5. Changing Practice and Policy in Medicine and Public Health 55 Part II. To a Declaration of a War on Drugs, 1940–1980 67 6. Opportunities of World War II and Its Aftermath 71 7. US Laws and International Conventions 82 8. Who Is Using? 96 9. War on Drugs Declared 109 Part III. Blurring the Lines, 1980–Present 123 10. Mandatory Minimums 127 11. Environmental Effects of the War on Drugs 139 12. Marijuana’s Different Path 152 13. New Challenges to the War on Drugs 164 Conclusion. Never-Ending War on Drugs? 175 Glossary 179 Notes 181 Suggestions for Further Reading 193 Index 199
Anne L. Foster is Associate Professor of History at Indiana State University, author of Projections of Power: The United States and Europe in Colonial Southeast Asia, 1919–1941, and coeditor of The American Colonial State in the Philippines: Global Perspectives, both also published by Duke University Press.
“The Long War on Drugs makes diplomatic history, the interaction between US domestic and regional drug policies, and social and cultural history work together to show how the present has been produced by the past. In beautiful prose, Anne L. Foster explains the diplomatic history of global prohibition and the various national interests it has supposedly served over time. Foster does a great job of bringing the current situation into view.”
~Nancy D. Campbell, author of, OD: Naloxone and the Politics of Overdose
“A smart, compelling, and accessible soup-to-nuts narrative history of US drug wars at home and abroad. It’s a terrific survey for newcomers that also advances the field with fresh insights and synthesis.”
~David Herzberg, author of, White Market Drugs: Big Pharma and the Hidden History of Addiction in America