Up in Smoke: The Rise and Fall of Federal Anti-Drug Policy in the United States
war on drugs
Food and Drug Law
Public Affairs, Public Policy and Public Administration
Social and Behavioral Sciences
This thesis analyzes the role of drugs in federal policy, specifically as a topic of presidential discourse. To this end, speeches, press releases, and other executive documents from various administration’s public papers are examined within their historical and social context. On the whole, it is noted how drugs provide a forum for approaching policy questions that presidents were already concerned with. Such questions include intergenerational conflict, race relations, war, individual liberties, incarceration, immigration, federalism, communism, scientific developments, and crime more broadly. While each administration focused on these topics to a greater or lesser degree, every president from Herbert Hoover to Ronald Reagan used drugs to further their existing political agenda within some of these domains.