A redefinition of the police role in opiate addication




Kent, Grover M.,1945-

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


Sam Houston State University


It was the purpose of this study to describe the volution of opiate addiction and the subsequent identification of the police role in opiate addiction. This study represents an effort to outline four basic factors in opiate addiction: 1. The historical development of opiates from a usage and evolutionary point of view. 2. The evolution of legislative and judicial decisions which have attempted to eradicate opiate addiction in the United States, since 1900. 3. Provide basic information concerning the avability of treatment modalities for opiate addiction. 4. Show the enforcement aspect of police work as requiring a social participation mode as a prelude to successful elimination of opiate blackmarkets and the treatment of addicted members of society. By observing the development of addiction patterns and the enforcement policies of federal and local police agencies it is hoped that contemporary trends may suggest improvements for the future. The results of the study were present in the following manner: Chapter One contained an introduction to opiate addiction with a subsequent statement of the problem, discussion of methodology and a definition of terms; Chapter Two contains a review of pertinent literature on history, legal decisions, and treatment modalities; Chapter Three presented the development of the police role in opiate addiction; Chapter Four presented a summary of the information and concludes with recommendations that are suggested. Perspective: As the use of opiates spread, through therapeutic application, various countries have tried to control its use. Wars, such as the China Opium Wars, have been fought to insure continued use and importation privileges. In the United States, legislation has attempted to cure the ills of society and various judicial decisions have attempted to reinforce legislative actions. The two judicial ruling which have attempted to place opiate addition into a medical area of responsibility (Linder v. U. S. and Robinson v. California) have been largely ignored by law enforcement and the communities which law enforcement represents. This refusal to recognize opiate addiction as an illness have forced police to run a revolving door for addicts and drunks alike, with little understanding of long-term goals or cures. The importance of controlling opiate addiction and the subsequent crime necessary to support a habit is an issue for law enforcement today. The police are one of the most visible aspects of government and come into contact with the drunks, addicts and communities which support them more often than any other governmental agency. Traditional enforcement remedies for this problem has not worked. The police role of suppression of drug or vice laws has never succeeded in eradicating these social problems from the communities at large. If community pressures will not allow police participation in referral of addicts into medical mental health channels it shall be extremely difficult to effect removal of the drug addict from deviant subcultures and the black-market. Positive police leadership and responsibility bin social and civic policy regarding opiate addiction would serve to draw the addict into the applicable community institutions capable of treating addiction. The police leadership must influence local policy but moreover the legislative influence of police must be utilized to change statute law affecting addiction. These actions would reassure the community and give greater validity to preventive aspects of police work.



Opium abuse, Drug abuse and crime, United States, Drug abuse, Treatment, United States, Opium abuse, Drug abuse and crime, United States