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Lindesmith, Alfred

  • By: Clayton Mosher
  • In: Encyclopedia of Drug Policy
  • Edited by: Mark A. R. Kleiman & James E. Hawdon
  • Subject:Public Policy, Drug Crimes

Alfred Lindesmith graduated from Carleton College in 1927 and received a masters in education from Columbia University in 1931. He received his doctorate in sociology from the University of Chicago in 1937, and taught at the University of Indiana from 1936 to 1976. Over this period, Lindesmith was the most persistent critic of U.S. drug laws, and was frequently targeted for criticism and harassment by the Federal Bureau of Narcotics and its commissioner, Harry Anslinger. In contrast to the prevailing theories of the time, Lindesmith argued that drug addiction should be treated as a medical condition rather than through the criminal justice system, and that drug laws were ineffective in reducing illegal drug use.

Based on unstructured interviews with approximately 70 heroin addicts contacted with the ...

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