Zero Tolerance to Drugs

Among the most recent methods of prohibiting drug abuse is the well-known “zero tolerance” policy used by some states and federal agencies. Its essence lies in the development of zero tolerance to any drug in any quantity, anywhere, at any time. The purpose of this policy is to attack the demand for drugs and thus make drug addicts responsible for their role in drug distribution.
As part of this policy, which was actively covered in the media in the late 80s and early 90s, cars, ships, luxury yachts were withdrawn from private property if they found at least a small dose of the drug. In just one month, the coast guard confiscated 27 vessels. One yacht, the “Royal Ship”, was confiscated when the guards discovered several seeds and a stalk of marijuana in the dressing table and in the garbage can. On another yacht, the Coast Guard inspectors found one twenty-eighth of an ounce of marijuana. These two yachts were returned to their owners after paying fines and the value of the property confiscated. These are just the two most famous cases. Smaller items of property such as cars and luggage were also confiscated, and many of these cases are still found in legal practice.
Some officials believed that the principle of zero tolerance should be extended. Edwin Meese III, the minister of justice in Ronald Reagan’s office, called for all workers in the country to be subjected to a drug test, and positive tests would mean immediate dismissal. According to Miz, the zero tolerance testing policy is an “absolute necessity” in dealing with the problem of drug abuse. Supporters of observance of the rule of law noted that the constitutional issues relating to such testing, especially those proposed by the government, would obviously prevent its wide dissemination.
Officials from the Reagan and Bush administrations thought that such methods could reduce drug abuse. However, many others are not so optimistic. They noticed that if even a small percentage of those who use drugs are arrested, the judicial system will simply get bogged down, even if the majority of them admit their guilt. It is believed that more need to deal with manufacturers and traffickers.
The elaboration of a national policy, for example, a policy of zero tolerance, is, of course, a function of the chief officials of the government, and it would be very interesting to study in greater detail the strategy of the Clinton administration in this matter. Clinton expressed his willingness to devote large resources to combating the demand for drugs with methods of prevention and treatment of drug addiction. The effects of such a policy will be visible very soon.

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