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RAND's Reuter Warns That Government Must Focus on Reducing Harm, Not Reducing Total Numbers of Drug Users


June 1993

Drug policy analyst Peter Reuter of RAND warned a May 10 conference on drugs in the workplace that government policy is misguided in seeking to reduce prevalence of drug use rather than harmful patterns of drug use (Buraff Publications, "Keynoter: Deal With Hard-Core Drug Problems, Focus On Harmful Effects Instead Of Prevalence," National Report On Substance Abuse, 5/21/93, Vol. 7 No. 12, p. 1).

Reuter was keynote speaker at the Drug-Free Workplace Conference in Washington, D.C. Analyzing the past decade of increasingly punitive drug policy, Reuter criticized the penal focus that has put huge numbers of drug offenders in state and federal prisons, and noted that Western Europeans "do not automatically reach for the prison cell" to deal with drugs.

Peter Reuter is co-director of the Rand Drug Policy Research Center, 2100 M St. NW, Washington, DC 20037. The phone number is (202) 296-5000.