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Drugs and ThugsThe History and Future of America's War on Drugs$
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Russell Crandall

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780300240344

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300240344.001.0001

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Nixon’s War

Nixon’s War

(p.133) 10 Nixon’s War
Drugs and Thugs

Russell Crandall

Yale University Press

This chapter recounts how drug use became commonplace among the American middle-class once again over the course of the second half of the twentieth century. It discusses the federal crackdown in the Progressive era and Harry Anslinger's ensuing anti-drug crusade that made it easy to forget that Americans had ever before flirted with mind-altering substances. It also cites President Richard Nixon's announcement of his national attack on narcotics abuse on July 14, 1969 as a campaign promise he had to uphold after speaking in southern California's conservative Orange County in September 1968. The chapter elaborates how Nixon's announcement decried the explosion in drug use as a growing menace to the welfare of the United States, causing the surge juvenile arrests for drug possession between 1960 and 1967. It talks about how Nixon was convinced that illegal drug abuse in America had reached epidemic levels and blamed the surge on several sources, such as the sympathetic media coverage.

Keywords:   federal crackdown, Progressive era, Richard Nixon, narcotics abuse, drug possession, drug use, illegal drug abuse

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