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Information for Activists

Sources of Information

The Consumer's Union Report on Licit and Illicit Drugs

The Consumer's Union Report on Licit and Illicit Drugs is perhaps the best-written overall view of the drug issue. It was published in 1972 and some of the information is a little dated but it still gives a very good picture of how we got into the present situation. It also contains a lot of information on the medical problems associated with illegal drugs including a chapter on famous drug addicts. It also contains a very good list of references which can be used as a starting point for further research. It can be found in most good local libraries.

The Report of the National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse

The Report of the National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse, published in 1973, is the largest study ever conducted by the Federal Government on the drug issue. It is remarkable because it was formed by President Nixon who hand-picked every member of the commission because they agreed with his views on drugs. Furthermore, the commission refused to even hear testimony from advocates of legalization or decriminalization. Despite this, they concluded that our current policy was doomed to failure and some form of decriminalization was the only acceptable approach. It is contained in several large volumes and can be found in the better libraries, such as university research libraries.

Clearinghouse and Data Center for Drugs and Crime

Current information on drugs and crime can be obtained through the Clearinghouse and Data Center for Drugs and Crime data at 1-800-666-3332. This is a Federal facility which provides information free to anyone who wants it, including a long list of books on drugs and crime statistics. The primary bible of crime statistics for the Federal Government is the Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics, published every year. This book contains several hundred pages of crime statistics including state by state breakdowns, racial breakdowns, charts, graphs, and other information. The book is available through the Clearinghouse above, or through any branch of the Government Printing Office. The cost is either free or about $20.00, depending upon how you can get it.

The Clearinghouse also operates a free research service which will look up the answers to specific questions or help you compile information on a particular issue. They are generally very helpful and will lead you to a lot of other good sources of information.

The Bureau of Justice Statistics

The Bureau of Justice Statistics maintains an electronic bulletin board which gives online access to a lot of the Federal crime statistics. The BBS number is 301-738-8895 (8-N-1) 300 to 2400 baud. It is up 24 hours a day. Further information on the BBS can be obtained by calling 1-800-732-3277

National Institute on Drug Abuse

5600 Fishers Lane

Rockville, MD 20857

NIDA clearinghouse


The National Institute on Drug Abuse publishes a series of research monographs every year summarizing the research on drugs in the previous year. There is a wide variety of information published every year, including everything from short summaries of research projects to full-blown analyses of different aspects of the drug problem. Included in these monographs are the current statistics for drug deaths and other drug-related health problems (also available through the Clearinghouse above). Interesting items include a 1979 publication called "Themes in Drug Prohibition" which details the rationale and propaganda which has been used through the years to promote the drug war. Let it suffice to say that the information is not flattering to the drug warriors by any means. Another interesting piece is the 1988 study on drugs and violence which concluded that drug-related violence increased directly as drug law enforcement increased. The information is contained in several volumes which often take up five shelves or more in a typical small library. Many libraries, particularly better libraries, will contain fairly sizeable collections of the NIDA information.

The Emperor Wears No Clothes

The Emperor Wears No Clothes, by Jack Herer contains a lot of good information about the history and commercial and industrial uses of hemp (marijuana). It contains a lot of amazing facts which are sure to make you the life of any party with a Reagan Republican in attendance. It costs about $14.95 and is available from High Times Books, 1-800-858-2665.

The Drug Hang-Up

The Drug Hang-Up by Rufus King is an excellent history of drug prohibition in the United States written by someone who was a drug policy reform activist in 1951. When you read the book, it is apparent why Mr. King became an activist. He could not stand the outright fraud perpetrated by the drug warriors. It is available in many local libraries or you can write to Mr. King at 1101 17th St. NW, Washington, DC 20036. It costs about $20.00.

Hemp For Victory

Hemp For Victory is a fifteen minute film made by the US Federal Government to encourage farmers to grow marijuana during World War II. Very interesting stuff. It is $14.95, available from High Times Books, 1-800-858-2665.

CSAP national resource center

The CSAP national resource center offers another source of Federal Government statistics on drug related issues: 1-800-354-8824

The Office of Minority Health

The Office of Minority Health offers facts and figures on health issues in the minority communities, some of which are drug-related. 1-800-444-6472


Information on AIDS can be obtained at: 1- 800-458-5231

Bureau of the Census

The Bureau of the Census offers statistics and facts on the population at large, which is good for making overall statistical comparison. Some of the information is available on CD-ROM for easier access. 1-800-777-0978

Government Printing Office

The Government Printing Office can supply (for a small fee, usually) any documents published by the Federal Government. 1-202-783-3238

The National Center for State Courts

The National Center for State Courts can supply information regarding the status and problems of state courts. They are located in Williamsburg, VA, and their number is: 804-253-2000.

The National Center for Institutions and Alternatives

The National Center for Institutions and Alternatives has a lot of information regarding prisons and alternatives to prison. 703-684-0373

Data Resources of the National Institute Of Justice, 4th Edition

(Resource Directory). Wiersema, B., Huang, W.S.W., Loftin, C.

1990. 287 pp. NCJ 122224. Free.

This book contains a summary of the data resources of the Department of Justice. A good place to start to answer most questions.

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