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Alex Keena is a third year Ph.D. student in the Political Science Department at UCI. He received his B.A.in political science and anthropology from Loyola Chicago in 2011. Alex's research interests focus on political representation and public law, and his current work explores the logic and design of policy.
Why does America’s prohibition on drugs persist in the face of failure? For much of the last century, federal policymakers have attempted to reduce drug abuse in society through prohibition, a strategy that seeks to resolve the problems of drug use economically, through a ban on the possession and sale of illegal drugs, and criminally, through the penalization of drug offenders. By any measure, enforcement of this strategy has been both financially and socially costly, yet it has failed to reduce the availability of drugs and has not curbed Americans’ appetite for illicit substances. Why, then, does the drug prohibition endure as policy? By analyzing the “drug problem” from both a political and socio-cultural perspective, this project explains the design and perseverance of prohibitory policy as a political and social compromise that serves the dual function of shifting moral accountability for drug abuse off of society while meeting the demands of key actors within the political system.