Drug Policies: General Strategies

For nearly 100 years, the U.S. federal government has attempted to curb illegal drug use and drug sales. The Harrison Act of 1914 became the legal forerunner of the nation's current drug control policies and strategies. The Harrison Act was a model for all subsequent drug legislation because it authorized the government to regulate the dispensing of drugs and impose criminal sanctions for failure to follow those regulations.

The Harrison Act was also a revenue-enhancing measure, enacted to render narcotic transfers a matter of public record rather than simply a private transaction. The Act criminalized the manufacture, prescription, transfer, and possession of narcotics by people not registered with the federal government or those who had not paid the government taxes on opium derivatives and cocaine. Physicians ...

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