Addiction Research Unit
Department of Psychology/University at Buffalo

Drug-Regulation Policy Advisory



 
Drug-Regulation 
Policy Advisory
Harm-Reduction 
Outreach Program
Addiction Technology Transfer Initiative

The Drug-Regulation Policy Advisory involves the development and advocation of rational drug control policies based on scientific evidence. An objective is to provide legislators and community leaders with the best 'expert opinion' on drug regulation (e.g., what drugs to regulate and how to regulate them) and related topics (e.g., Internet 'prescribing' of psychoactive compounds). Advocacy of harm-reduction strategies, such as methadone maintenance and needle-exchange programs, is another objective because this policy is strongly supported by the scientific evidence as well as by humanitarian concerns.
 
 

Background

Public and government policy regarding psychoactive drugs often does not seem to follow common sense nor the scientific evidence. The issue of whether an individual should be permitted to 'recreationally' use psychoactive substances is a moral issue, perhaps best left to the individual and those involved in 'moral education.' The issue of whether the use of certain psychoactive substances have documented deleterious effects on the individual and/or on society can be studied scientifically. It is the mandate of science to provide unbiased factual information so that the individual and those charged with governing individual behavior (e.g., legislators) can make informed decisions.
Anti Marijuana Poster

 

Examples

There are several notable examples where current government policy is contrary to the best scientific evidence.

Case 1: Current laws provide much more severe penalties for possession of "crack" cocaine than for the powder form of cocaine (i.e., cocaine hydrochloride). Because 'crack' cocaine use is much more prominent with inner-city minority groups, this policy of differential criminal penalties is viewed by some as racially motivated--black urban youths are more likely to be arrested for "crack" cocaine use than white suburban youths who are likely to be arrested for powdered cocaine use.

Case 2: Several Presidential committees and numerous expert scientific committees have concluded that sufficient evidence exist for limited use of marijuana for certain medical conditions.

Some Specific Recommendations



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