An empirical study of New York State's 1973 drug law through police attitudes and impact analysis




D'Amore, Lawrence,1943-

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Sam Houston State University


The objective of this study were: (1) to determine the impact of the New York 1973 drug law on drug trends in and around New York State; (2) to determine police attitudes about the new law and about drug behavior from their professional experience; (3) to determine from both the impact analysis and police attitudes, if the new law was an effective instrument of drug control. Methods The methods used in this study were: (1) the collection of data from in and around New York State that had any relevance to determining the impact of the new drug law; (2) the design and distribution of a questionnaire to a sample group of members from the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department, Rochester, New York; and (3) conducting a computer analysis of this data with regard to frequency and percentage distributions. Findings 1. The study indicated that many criminal justice practitioners, including judges, prosecutors and police officials, have declared the law to be an ineffective instrument of drug control. 2. The law has not deterred drug use nor has it successfully eliminated the source of drug supply. 3. Drugs have been forced further underground and are less detectable to enforcement operatives. 4. The law was found to have frightened addicts away from seeking treatment. 5. The enforcement effort was found to be still directed towards the addict which is contrary to the stated rationale of the new law. 6. The has been a reported increase in the use of alcohol by school age youth. 7. The number of drug arrests around the state have remained about the same with the only change occurring in the type of charge; an increase of felony charges because of the new law’s penalty structure. 8. An increase of drug dealing has been occurring in areas surrounding New York State which have reported disruption of record drug transactions. 9. The increased penalties of the new law have resulted in a backlog of cases that have put a strain on the criminal justice system. 10. The new law has successfully eliminated the amateur dealer and forced users to deal with organized crime and the hard core drug subculture. 11. The results of the police attitude survey have generally supported the findings previously noted. 12. From both an analysis of the law’s impact and a police attitude assessment, the law has proven to be an ineffective and unproductive instrument of drug control.



Drug abuse, Law and legislation, New York (State), Drug control