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Drugs and Terrorism

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

The link between drugs and terrorism has been examined through a variety of lenses and, depending on one's perspective, the nature of this complex relationship can vary substantially. Most notably, politics has proven to be an influential factor in how the relationship between criminal organizations is understood and portrayed.

Tracing the American wars on crime, drugs, and terrorism, criminologist Gary LaFree has highlighted the role of presidential politics in shaping societal attitudes toward these three issues. After President Nixon's declaration of “war” on crime in his 1970 State of the Union Address, he carried the war metaphor to a second front by declaring drugs as “public enemy number one.” The public visibility of the “War on Drugs” was elevated under President Ronald Reagan through his creation ...

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