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In his book Peaceful Measures Canadas Way Out of the War on Drugs Alexander 1990 argues that for over a century drug-control policy around the world and in Canada have been growing increasingly warlike The costs of this drug war in both money and human suffering have been steadily increasing although its objectives have not been met Alexander cites extensive research that indicates that illegal drugs are no more harmful or addictive than legal drugs like alcohol and tobacco and no more likely to cause anybody to go out of control Opium sticks for example used to be sold at corner shops in England in the nineteenth century without addiction becoming an overwhelming problem Legal regulation and controlled distribution of drugs similar policies adopted in Holland or the methadone maintenance programs provided for some addicts in England seem more likely to be successful in undermining the harm caused by criminal drug rings than the prosecution of users Hale 1995 Alexander argues that the war on drugs continues because it meets other psychological and social needs that have little to do with the use of drugs as such People live in a real world characterized by violence that is perpetuated by criminals disappointed lovers soldiers guerillas religious fanatics reckless drivers police parents spouses and so on and they face the threat of environmental pollution on a massive scale from nuclear waste industrial chemicals sewage oil spills and so forth Illegal drugs act as an excuse and provide a scapegoat--something concrete to blame and around which members of a society can mobilize their emotions and feel some sense of cohesion The intensification of moral panic around drugs like the 17th century crusade against unruly Puritans helps to reinforce a sense of social cohesion and order in the face of divisible forces Hale 1995 Alexanders book specifically Chapter 3 will be reviewed and analyzed and how the work fits within the one of the four sociological paradigms as
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