Books, Journals, New Media Section Editor: Harriet
S. Meyer, MD, Contributing Editor, JAMA; David H. Morse, MS, University
of Southern California, Norris Medical Library, Journal Review Editor.
Historian Caroline Jean Acker, in an insightful new look at the past
100 years of American drug policy, has concluded that during the first two
thirds of the 20th-century psychiatrists, psychologists, and social workers
joined with law enforcement authorities to construct the view of heroin addicts
as deviants who were caught in a chemical trap from which few would escape.
The American Medical Association and the small group of pharmacologists who
were creating the modern understanding of the effects of heroin use were in
full agreement with this view. Because the treatment of heroin addiction had
proven hopeless, the national drug control policy that flowed from this consensus
was to block access to heroin and to use the criminal law to punish heroin
users. This was the classic era of drug control policy.
DuPont RL. Addiction Policy. JAMA. 2003;289(17):2286-2287. doi:10.1001/jama.289.17.2286