Drugs, the Criminal Law, and the Administration of Justice

December 1991 | Mark H. Moore

Are criminal laws against the sale and use of drugs such as heroin and cocaine helpful in maintaining a liberal community? Answering this question is partly a matter of political philosophy, but the answer also depends on judgments about practical effects. Although it is clear that drug laws tend to worsen the conduct and condition of individuals who continue to use drugs, and strain the institutions of the criminal justice system, it is also plausible that these same laws succeed in reducing overall levels of drug use by suppressing the supply and helping sustain the community norm that disapproves of drug use.

Author(s): Mark H. Moore

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Volume 69, Issue 4 (pages 529–560)
Published in 1991