Fredrick Polak


The article begins by stating that many people believe that medicalization offers the most reasonable approach to drug policy because it offers a dignified approach to treatment of addicts. However, it risks being a form of repression itself because it may define abstinence as the only acceptable treatment outcome. The article then explores the position of the medical profession in drug policy. It then looks at the negative political and social aspects and consequences of an abstinence-directed medicalization policy. The article concludes by stating that if abstinence is always the treatment goal then medicalization will be even less voluntary and more coercive which will prove ineffective for most people, and will give the criminal justice system control over drug users. And states that the medical profession holds responsibility for not informing the public about the effects of drug use, and for keeping in place a system of drug prohibition which has proved harmful to the public and especially minorities, and should be required to explain that drug prohibition lacks scientific foundation and that legal regulation would better serve the public health.