The War on Drugs – A War on Drug Users

Buchanan, Julian and Young, L (2000) The War on Drugs – A War on Drug Users.


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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.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Copyright Informa Healthcare. This article represents the personal view of the authors not necessarily the views of Glyndwr University. This is the authors final version of the article published in Buchanan, J. & Young, L. (2000) 'The War on Drugs ' A War on Drug Users'. Drugs: Education, Prevention Policy, 7(4), 409-422 for the final version of the article as published in the print edition of the Drugs: Education, Prevention Policy published by Informa Healthcare is available online at
Keywords: drugs, crime, poverty, substance, misuse, law, exclusion, stigma, discrimination
Divisions: ?? GlyndwrUniversity ??
Depositing User: ULCC Admin
Date Deposited: 05 Oct 2011 09:14
Last Modified: 11 Dec 2017 20:06

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