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date: 01 December 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines the debate over drug offenses in the context of criminal law, particularly whether to curb liberty in order to prevent the risks associated with drugs. One problem concerns the use of the term “drugs,” particularly whether and how to control recreational use of chemical substances. The chapter outlines three major approaches to drug policies: strict prohibition, liberalization, and harm reduction. It then considers the drug policies of supply-side countries as opposed to demand-side countries such as the United States and Member States of the European Union. It goes on to discuss criminal law regulation of drugs and asks whether it is just to criminalize recreational drug use. Two arguments that justify drug laws are analyzed: to protect both drug users and non-users. Three types of crimes that might be connected to drug use are also described: intoxication-induced crimes, crimes related to obtaining drugs, and black market-related crimes.

Keywords: drug offense, criminal law, liberty, drugs, recreational use, drug policy, strict prohibition, liberalization, harm reduction, crime

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