Intended for healthcare professionals

Research Article

"War on drugs" continues in United States under new leadership.

British Medical Journal 1993; 307 doi: (Published 07 August 1993) Cite this as: British Medical Journal 1993;307:369
  1. D M Gorman
  1. Center of Alcohol Studies, Rutgers, State University of New Jersey, Piscataway 08855.


    Criticism of the "war on drugs" pursued under Republican administrations has grown in the United States. With the election of Bill Clinton many experts expected a shift from law enforcement policies to an approach favouring treatment and prevention. The budget announced in April, however, revealed no such shift in allocation of resources. Although the war on drugs has apparently failed to reduce the supply of cheap heroin and cocaine to the United States, the prevention strategy favoured by its opponents--school based prevention programmes--has not yet been shown to be effective in dealing with the concentration of drug misuse among the socially disadvantaged. In looking for new strategies Clinton must satisfy both liberals and conservatives in Congress, and community policing might therefore prove to be a politically expedient option.