Alternative Strategies

  1. Gregory R. Bock Organizer and
  2. Julie Whelan
  1. Reese T. Jones

Published Online: 28 SEP 2007

DOI: 10.1002/9780470514245.ch13

Ciba Foundation Symposium 166 - Cocaine: Scientific and Social Dimensions

Ciba Foundation Symposium 166 - Cocaine: Scientific and Social Dimensions

How to Cite

Jones, R. T. (2007) Alternative Strategies, in Ciba Foundation Symposium 166 - Cocaine: Scientific and Social Dimensions (eds G. R. Bock and J. Whelan), John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., Chichester, UK. doi: 10.1002/9780470514245.ch13

Author Information

  1. Langley Porter Psychiatric Institute, Department of Psychiatry, University of California, 401 Parnassus Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94143-0984, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 28 SEP 2007

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780471931799

Online ISBN: 9780470514245

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Keywords:

  • drug treatment alternatives;
  • harm-reduction policy;
  • pharmacological determinism;
  • medicine;
  • united states

Summary

Drug treatment alternatives in the United States are constrained by what is politically correct and expedient and by a federal policy of ‘zero tolerance’ for any illicit psychoactive drug use. A war on drugs will not solve all the problems posed by cocaine. Alternative strategies must address fundamental problems in ghetto life: violence, poverty, poor health, no education, no jobs, and few reasons for not taking drugs. Despite warnings of pharmacological determinism, cocaine is like other psychoactive drugs. Even with cocaine, when alternative behaviours are possible most people avoid out-of-control use. Public health strategies promoting a harm-reduction policy offer advantages. Recent reductions in cocaine use are a consequence of education, awareness of good health practices, and interest in other activities. Alternatives could include cocaine in a safer, non-lethal and controllable form but are unlikely in a political climate where politics and law prevail rather than medicine and humanity.