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Risk, security and the ‘criminalization’ of British drug policy

Seddon, Toby and Ralphs, Robert and Williams, Lisa (2008) Risk, security and the ‘criminalization’ of British drug policy. British Journal of Criminology, 48 (6). pp. 818-834. ISSN 1464-3529

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Abstract

Recent British drug policy has increasingly focused on ‘problem drug users’, namely users of heroin and/or crack-cocaine who are involved in acquisitive offending. The overarching objective of the new drug policy agenda is to develop and enhance the pathways between the criminal justice system and drug treatment services, with the aim of reducing this ‘drug-related’ crime. The emphasis on crime reduction, and on drug treatment in the criminal justice system, has led some to term this development the ‘criminalization’ of drug policy. In this paper, this new policy direction will be examined. An explanatory account for this ‘criminalizing’ turn will be set out, drawing on theoretical debates about the politics of risk and security in late modernity.

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