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Bill Sanders

In: The SAGE Handbook of Drug and Alcohol Studies

Chapter 24: Ethnicity and Drug Policy in the USA

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Ethnicity and Drug Policy in the USA
Ethnicity and drug policy in the USA
Bill Sanders

Stereotypes linking ethnicity to drug use have emerged in the USA. Such allegories have provided support for policies and practices that have marginalized and criminalized minorities. Results have included disproportional rates of arrest and incarceration for drug-related offenses. The ramping up of the war on drugs that began in the 1970s has particularly impacted African Americans and Latinos. Most American prisoners are either black or Latino, and many are incarcerated on drug-related charges.

A longstanding pattern surrounding drug policy is evident in the US. Two dominant themes are found: (i) a specific drug or drug-using practice is linked to the cause of a social ill – promiscuity, corruption, the loss of ...

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