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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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Reagan’s War

Reagan’s War

(p.153) 11 Reagan’s War
Drugs and Thugs

Russell Crandall

Yale University Press

This chapter discusses how the U.S. nation witnessed a second heroin epidemic in the second half of the 1970s that terrified politicians and tore open the social fabric of inner cities across America. It mentions the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse that began using a new metric in the early 1970s that included a question about drug use in the “last month.” It also recounts how cocaine that was supplied by enterprising and ruthless Colombian traffickers came to grip America like no other drug before it, referencing magazines like Newsweek that characterized cocaine as the status symbol of the American middle-class pothead. The chapter talks about how Ronald Reagan, who took the further step of establishing a new agency, the Drug Abuse Policy Office, which became the White House's Office of National Drug Control Policy. It explains Operation Pipeline, which escalated “pretextual traffic stops” and “consent searches” to leverage consent to search for drugs.

Keywords:   heroin epidemic, cocaine, drug use, pothead, Ronald Reagan, Drug Abuse Policy Office, National Drug Control Policy

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