Can We Cope with Drugs?

Can We Cope with Drugs?

In announcing his resignation last fall as drug czar, William Bennett asserted that the nation had turned the corner in the war on drugs. President Bush concurred. “We’re on the road to victory,” he declared.

They may be the only two people in America who believe that. While casual drug use among the middle class is declining—a trend that began well before Bennett’s term—the level of drug abuse in our inner cities remains alarmingly high. Drug-related violence continues to rage, fueling record homicide rates in cities from New York to Phoenix. Youth gangs, packing more firepower than ever, have taken over large tracts of the inner cities. And even as crack and cocaine remain widely available, smokable heroin is pouring into the country, raising the threat of a new epidemic. If this be success, may we please be spared failure.

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Duggan | University of California Press Gardels