Drugs Prohibition

Drugs Prohibition in the United States

Most countries prohibit and/or regulate the use of certain drugs (a/k/a “narcotics” or “controlled substances”) that are subject to “abuse” because they are dangerous or pleasurable. The Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) formerly posted reports on international drug enforcement and provides descriptions of the of anti-drug programs in foreign countries, but the Web site was stopped on January 20, 2001 by the Bush administration; the reports are archived at www.state.gov/www/global/narcotics_law/index.html.

In the U.S. there are at least three levels of prohibition and regulation — (1) state criminal laws, (2) Federal “controlled substances” laws and (3) Federal food and drug laws, including the regulation of prescription drugs. The CCH Food Drug Cosmetic Law Reporter compiles laws from all these levels in one set.

Alternatively, state criminal laws are codified in each state’s statutory code (see “State Statutes;” see “State Laws, generally” for summaries and comparisons). The Federal laws are codified in Title 21 of the U.S. Code (Food and Drugs). For quick reference, the Controlled Substances Act (i.e., Title II of the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970) is codified at Section 801 et. seq. and the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act is codified at Section 351 et. seq. (see “United States Code”).

The Controlled Substances Act is administered by the Drug Enforcement Administration, a division of the U.S. Department of Justice. The DEA web site provides information on the agency’s programs and the drugs covered under the five-tiered schedule of controlled substances. The DEA Registration database on KnowX lets you looks up the doctors, manufacturers, distributors and others who are licensed to handle controlled substances.

The Food Drug and Cosmetic Act is administered by the Food and Drug Administration. The FDA Web site includes a Drug Information page with information about new and controversial prescription drugs and a Regulatory Information page with links to legal materials, including the full text of the Food Drug and Cosmetic Act, plus the other drug-related laws administered by the FDA.

For FDA Warning Letters, see the United States Food and Drug Administration entry.

You can look up drugs seized under the 1906 Pure Food and Drug Act between 1906-1963 using the FDA Notices of Judgment Collection.

War on Drugs

War on Drugs in relation to Crime and Race

War on Drugs is included in the Encyclopedia of Race and Crime (1), beginning with: The War on Drugs refers to the effort since the 1970s to combat illegal drug use by greatly increasing penalties, enforcement, and incarceration. It began with the efforts of conservative Republicans to capture the historically democratic South during the late 1960s. Nixon led this attempt to attract White voters by having the federal government take the lead in the War on Drugs and crime control, and the implementation of the policies was carried further by the Reagan administration. Like earlier drug legislation and the enforcement of drug laws, the War on Drugs was characterized by racial and ethnic bias. The astronomical increase in funding initiated during the Reagan administration brought a dramatic increase in incarceration rates, particularly of Blacks and Hispanics; erosion of civil liberties; discriminatory practices in policing; racial differences in sentencing and incarceration; and the emergence of a large drug/prison/treatment complex. (1)


Notes and References

  1. Entry about War on Drugs in the Encyclopedia of Race and Crime

See Also

Chemicals and Chemistry
Criminal Law
Crime Statistics
Medical Materials

Drugs Prohibition: Open and Free Legal Research of US Law

Federal Primary Materials

The U.S. federal government system consists of executive, legislative, and judicial branches, each of which creates information that can be the subject of legal research about Drugs Prohibition. This part provides references, in relation to Drugs Prohibition, to the legislative process, the federal judiciary, and the primary sources of federal law (cases, statutes, and regulations).

Federal primary materials about Drugs Prohibition by content types:

Laws and Regulations

US Constitution
Federal Statutory Codes and Legislation

Federal Case Law and Court Materials

U.S. Courts of Appeals
United States courts of appeals, inclouding bankruptcy courts and bankcruptcy appellate panels:

Federal Administrative Materials and Resources

Presidential Materials

Materials that emanate from the President’s lawmaking function include executive orders for officers in departments and agencies and proclamations for announcing ceremonial or commemorative policies. Presidential materials available include:

Executive Materials

Federal Legislative History Materials

Legislative history traces the legislative process of a particular bill (about Drugs Prohibition and other subjects) for the main purpose of determining the legislators’ intent behind the enactment of a law to explain or clarify ambiguities in the language or the perceived meaning of that law (about Drugs Prohibition or other topics), or locating the current status of a bill and monitoring its progress.

State Administrative Materials and Resources

State regulations are rules and procedures promulgated by state agencies (which may apply to Drugs Prohibition and other topics); they are a binding source of law. In addition to promulgating regulations, state administrative boards and agencies often have judicial or quasi-judicial authority and may issue administrative decisions affecting Drugs Prohibition. Finding these decisions can be challenging. In many cases, researchers about Drugs Prohibition should check state agency web sites for their regulations, decisions, forms, and other information of interest.

State rules and regulations are found in codes of regulations and administrative codes (official compilation of all rules and regulations, organized by subject matter). Search here:

State opinions of the Attorney General (official written advisory opinions on issues of state law related to Drugs Prohibition when formerly requested by a designated government officer):

Tools and Forms

Law in Other Regions

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