- KEY PEOPLE
- PROGRAM DESCRIPTION
- Read Drug Policy Program posts on the Baker Institute Blog.
- Read the Drug Policy Program's blog series "Viewpoints: Should marijuana be legalized?"
- View video from the latest conference "The War on Drugs Has Failed. Is Legalization the Answer?"
- Access the Drug Truth Archive, a collection of 600-plus interviews on drug policy conducted by radio host Dean Becker.
Policy regarding drugs, both legal and illegal and explicitly including alcohol, poses some of the most prominent and perplexing issues facing modern societies. For nearly a century, the United States has been an active proponent of the punitive prohibition of illicit drugs. Unfortunately, the “War on Drugs” has been largely unsuccessful; prosecution of illegal drug consumption has filled our prisons without significantly reducing crime, decreasing homelessness, preventing overdose deaths, diminishing the spread of HIV or undermining the illegal drug market. Many now argue that the vision of a “drug-free” America is unrealistic. Other countries are turning to “harm reduction” policies to reduce the societal damage that illegal drug use causes. With cautious optimism, the Baker Institute Drug Policy Program pursues research and open debate on local and national drug policies in hopes of developing pragmatic policies based on common sense, driven by human rights interests, and focused on reducing the death, disease, crime and suffering associated with drug use.
In recent research, William Martin, director of the drug policy program, has written, lectured, lobbied and testified before the Texas Legislature supporting needle exchange programs, widely used in many countries but scarce and often opposed in the United States, as a proven method of reducing the spread of blood-borne diseases such as HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis C without increasing drug use. He also writes and lectures in support of regulation and taxation of marijuana as a means to 1) reduce profits criminal cartels reap from illegal sales and associated violence; 2) enhance state and federal budgets by lowering costs of law enforcement and corrections, and raising income from taxation of the widely used drug; and 3) halt damage caused by applying criminal sanctions to people who use a drug less harmful than either tobacco or alcohol. Gary Hale, former chief of intelligence in the Houston Field Office of the Drug Enforcement Administration, works with both the U.S. and Mexican governments as they grapple with drug trafficking organizations operating in the two countries. Nathan Jones continues extensive research on the major Mexican drug trafficking organizations. Dean Becker hosts weekly radio interviews with a wide range of drug policy experts.
The Policy and Politics of Drug Sentencing
May 06 2013William Martin
Texas should not mandate drug tests for unemployment benefits
Mar 29 2013Nathan P. Jones
Marijuana Prohibition: Going Up in Smoke? and Sterile Syringes for Injecting Drug Users
Mar 08 2013William Martin
The unintended consequences of kingpin strategies: Kidnap rates and the Arellano-Felix Organization
Jan 28 2013Nathan P. Jones
Baker Institute Policy Report 55 -- Cartels, Corruption, and Carnage in the Calderon Era
Jan 14 2013William Martin
Mexico Drug Policy and Security Review 2012
Jan 11 2013Nathan P. Jones
Monopoly of Force Does Not Always Explain Peace: Illicit Network Evolution Does
Aug 29 2012Nathan P. Jones
Conference Report -- The War on Drugs Has Failed. Is Legalization the Answer?
Jun 29 2012William Martin
Tijuana Cartel Survives, Despite Decade-long Onslaught
Jun 20 2012Nathan P. Jones
Mexico is a Friend, Not an Enemy
Feb 16 2012Gary J. Hale
Mexico's Government Begins to Retake Northeastern Mexico
Dec 09 2011Gary J. Hale
A "Failed State" in Mexico: Tamaulipas Declares Itself Ungovernable
Jul 27 2011Gary J. Hale
Syringe Exchange: Responsible, Prudent, Compassionate
Apr 12 2011William Martin
Time for Latin America to reconsider prohibition
Nov 05 2010Erika de la Garza, William Martin
Baker Institute Policy Report 45: Cartels, Corruption, Carnage, and Cooperation
Oct 25 2010William Martin
- Cultural Baggage Radio Show: Nathan P. Jones, 10.07.12
- Century of Lies: William Martin, 09.23.12
- The War on Drugs Has Failed. Is Legalization the Answer?
- Travel as a Political Act, with a European Take on America's War on Marijuana
- Century of Lies: William Martin, 06.12.11
- Cultural Baggage Radio Show: William Martin, 05.23.10
- Century of Lies: Ambassador Edward P. Djerejian, 11.22.09
- Cannabis, Cartels and Crime: Would Legalization Help?
- Century of Lies: William Martin, 09.20.09
- Houston-Harris County Regional Drug Summit: The Urgency of Now
- Why Our Drug Laws Have Failed and What We Can Do About It: A Judicial Indictment of the War on Drugs