Spring for 2015-2016
The United States has for half a century led the global war on drugs abroad and cracked down aggressively at home on drug use, drug dealing, and related crime and violence. The course will explore the development and impact of these policies, focusing on: the formation of initial domestic drug laws and international drug treaties, centralization in the White House of drug policy making starting in the Nixon and Bush Administrations, and policy responses to increased drug use in the 1960s and 1970s and the crack/cocaine epidemic in 1980s. Class lectures and discussion will examine outcomes of these policies, including mass incarceration, racial disparities, evolving drug abuse trends and drug cartel violence in the Western Hemisphere. The course will also review how data, research and reporting is used–and misused– in the drug debate, and assess alternative policies designed to better address the challenges posed by drugs. During weekly class discussion students will have an opportunity to explore these issues, as well as the debate over drug legalization, the health and public safety challenges posed by different drugs, and the role played on the drug issue by non-governmental actors. Grading will be based on five elements: 1) A 4-5 page analysis of a drug issue for the Drug Czar, 2) an 800 word newspaper style op-ed on any drug-related issue selected by the student; 3) a term paper; and, 4) a shorter, reformatted version of the term paper that will be part of a class drug policy transition project designed to inform the incoming administration in 2017; and, 5) class participation. Students will provide one five minute oral presentation based on one of their papers as part of their class participation grade. Reading assignments will include two texts, selected articles and book chapters, and excerpts of legislation and government and NGO reports.
Credits: 3
Prerequisites: None

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Spring '16: Baum, R (description, file download)
Spring '16: Baum R (file download)
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