Drug policy: striking the right balance

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Science  28 Sep 1990:
Vol. 249, Issue 4976, pp. 1513-1521
DOI: 10.1126/science.2218493


Drug policy should strike the right balance between reducing the harm done by psychoactive drugs and reducing the harm that results from strict legal prohibitions and their enforcement. It is concluded, from a cost-benefit analysis based on pharmacologic, toxicologic, sociologic, and historical facts, that radical steps to repeal the prohibitions on presently illicit drugs would be likely, on balance, to make matters worse rather than better. Specific recommendations are offered for ameliorating the dangers to users and to society that are posed by each addictive drug.

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