Pub. date: 2002 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412950664 | Print ISBN: 9780761922582 | Online ISBN: 9781412950664| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
In a series of speeches delivered between June and September 1986, President Ronald Reagan declared a War on Drugs in the United States. Reagan proposed huge increases in federal expenditures, roughly 70 percent of which was earmarked for strict enforcement of newly strengthened drug laws. According to Gallup and New York Times /CBS News polls, between July 1986 and September 1989, the percent of the American public naming drug abuse as the “number one problem facing the country today” skyrocketed from 8 to 64 percent (Goode 1999: 71). Reagan's proclamations were followed by enactment of a series of stringent laws that escalated penalties for possession and sale of controlled substances. Law enforcement was stiffened, resulting in huge increases in the numbers of arrests and incarcerations for drug offenses. Between 1980 and 2000, while the number of inmates in federal prisons quadrupled, the number incarcerated for drug offenses increased more than ...