Drug Diplomacy in the Twentieth Century: An International History

Drug Diplomacy in the Twentieth Century: An International History

Drug Diplomacy in the Twentieth Century: An International History

Drug Diplomacy in the Twentieth Century: An International History

Synopsis

Drug Diplomacy is the first comprehensive historical account of the evolution of the global drugs control regime. The book analyzes how the rules and regulations that encompass the drug question came to be framed. By examining the international historical aspects of the issue, the author addresses the many questions surrounding this global problem.Including coverage of substances from heroin and cocaine to morphine, stimulants, hallucinogens and alcohol, Drug Diplomacy addresses:* the historical development of drug laws, drug-control institutions, and attitudes about drugs* international control negotiations and the relationship between the drug question and issues such as trade policy, national security concerns, the Cold War and medical considerations* the reasons why the goal to eliminate drug abuse has been so hard to accomplish.

Excerpt

During the mid-1980s I worked for a juvenile crime and delinquency prevention program. I taught American fifth and sixth graders about positive problem-solving strategies, communication skills, and the dangers of engaging in self-defeating behaviors. Drugs and drug abuse figured as a key topic in the curriculum, always stimulating considerable interest among students, parents, school administrators, and funders. I often heard the sort of black-and-white questions that eleven- or twelve year-old students are wont to ask: What is a drug? Are drugs really all that bad? What is the difference (if any) between “drugs” and “medicine?” Why do people use substances that are so obviously harmful? Why is alcohol legal (at least for adults), considering its many negative effects? Why don’t other countries quit making drugs—don’t they see it’s bad? Why can’t the police keep it out? Who determines which drugs are bad and which are good? How do they decide?

I offered prerehearsed responses to the students’ queries, but over time I found them increasingly unsatisfactory. I wondered how the rules and definitions that encompass the drug question came to be framed. Everyone seemed to agree that “eliminating drug abuse” was a desirable goal. Why, then, was this laudable objective so hard to accomplish? Aware that the drug question was a global problem, I especially wanted to know how the issue played out in the international arena.

I concluded the key to my questions lay in understanding the international historical aspects of the issue. How did drug laws, drug-control institutions, and attitudes about drugs develop over time? The drug question touches on many different fields—which factors and agents were most important in influencing the course of drug diplomacy? How did the history of drug control fit into the larger story of human-environmental interaction? The books I consulted for explanations

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