Publications & Resources
The Drug Policy Alliance publishes a range of materials, including reports and fact sheets on drug policy issues. We also have a large collection of online materials devoted to drugs and drug policy.
Online Resource Library
Office of Academic Engagement
Often seen as a political sop to the racial fears of white voters, aggressive policing and draconian sentencing for illegal drug possession and related crimes have led to the imprisonment of millions of African Americans—far in excess of their representation in the population as a whole. Michael Javen Fortner shows in this eye-opening account that these punitive policies also enjoyed the support of many working-class and middle-class blacks, who were angry about decline and disorder in their communities. Black Silent Majority uncovers the role African Americans played in creating today’s system of mass incarceration.
Current anti-drug policies are based on a set of controversial laws first adopted in New York in the early 1970s and championed by the state’s Republican governor, Nelson Rockefeller. Fortner traces how many blacks in New York came to believe that the rehabilitation-focused liberal policies of the 1960s had failed. Faced with economic malaise and rising rates of addiction and crime, they blamed addicts and pushers. By 1973, the outcry from grassroots activists and civic leaders in Harlem calling for drastic measures presented Rockefeller with a welcome opportunity to crack down on crime and boost his political career. New York became the first state to mandate long prison sentences for selling or possessing narcotics.
Black Silent Majority lays bare the tangled roots of a pernicious system. America’s drug policies, while in part a manifestation of the conservative movement, are also a product of black America’s confrontation with crime and chaos in its own neighborhoods.
We’re losing the “war on drugs”—but the fight isn’t over yet
Federal Narcotics Laws and the War on Drugs examines our current anti-drug programs and policies, explains why they have failed, and presents a plan to fix them. Author Thomas C. Rowe, who has been educating college students on recreational drug use for nearly 30 years, exposes the truth about anti-drug programs he believes were conceived in ignorance of the drugs themselves and motivated by racial/cultural bias. This powerful book advocates a shift in federal spending to move funds away from the failed elements of the “war on drugs” toward policies with a more realistic chance to succeed—the drug courts, education, and effective treatment.
Tammara (Tammy) Johnson is an African-American woman in her fifties, an ex-addict with a 19-year heroin habit and a felony record, who works as the job development trainer for an in-patient drug treatment program in south suburban Chicago. Raised in a middle-class family, Tammy left home early because she could not live up to parental expectations. She turned to drugs and crime and was eventually incarcerated for selling drugs.
This book, the third in a trilogy about Chicago women by noted author Jody Raphael, is the story of Tammy’s metamorphosis. Raphael’s narrative, based on extensive interviews with Tammy and family members, shows the detrimental effects of incarceration on an already abused woman and illuminates Tammy’s efforts to release herself from the literal and figurative prisons of abuse, addiction, crime, fear, and hopelessness.
Raphael uses the transit of Tammy’s life—from childhood trauma to adult rehabilitation—to investigate the linkages between childhood sexual assault and domestic violence with women’s drug addiction and then with crime. She uses Tammy’s own words to demonstrate how childhood sexual assault and violence can make women poor and how dysfunctional coping strategies keep them poor. Tammy’s story is a reminder that violence against women and girls economically impoverishes them by trapping them in addictions leading to crime and other self-destructive activities.