Nothing Succeeds Like Failure: Lessons Learned from Combating Crack Cocaine and Its Impact on Fighting the Current Opioid Epidemic
James F. Anderson, Ph.D; Kelley Reinsmith-Jones, Ph.D; Laronistine Dyson, MSc; Adam H. Langsam, Ph.D.

The opioid addiction and abuse problem in the United States has reached epidemic proportions as revealed by rising numbers of addicts and hospital emergency room visits related to prescription opioid and heroin overdoses. Public health, as well as criminal justice officials, struggles to combat this drug problem that many experts currently believe could eclipse the devastation caused by the crack cocaine epidemic of the 1980s and 1990s. While many lessons should have been learned from the past drug war that could help to inform public health and criminal justice policymakers, it seems that nothing succeeds like failure when revealing how not to effectively wage war on this generation of opioid addicts. In the final analysis, we argue that public policy recommendations from the WHO and the CDC will prove more effective in addressing this epidemic since they approach the opioid crisis as a public health concern, rather than a criminal justice issue.

Full Text: PDF     DOI: 10.15640/jlcj.v5n2a3