The Caribbean poses a significant drugs problem for the UK and the US, as the recent phenomenon of yardie gangs in British cities graphically illustrates. But in the islands themselves ganja, crack cocaine and the policies to control them have become, as this book demonstrates, a veritable social disaster. The authors, who are among the leading local researchers and engaged professionals in the region as well as the former regional head of the UN Drugs Control Programme, bring together new research investigations, insightful policy analysis and practical experience of on-the-ground interventions putting demand reduction into practice. The dimensions of the illicit drugs market in the Caribbean are made clear. The origins of the problem lie in part, it is argued, with the impact of neoliberal economic policies that have opened up the region's borders and gravely undermined its traditional sources of employment and exports, like bananas and sugar. The islands, in part under external US pressure, have adopted a region-wide policy of criminalization This has involved the creation of specialized drug courts and serious human and social consequences as a result of criminalizing traditional cultural practices around ganja consumption. Fascinating light is thrown on the difficulties facing drug abuse and rehabilitation centres and the dilemmas they throw up. Harm reduction as a fundamentally alternative approach to the drugs problem is also explored. This is the first book to examine the experiences of Caribbean countries since they adopted a coordinated approach to the drugs problem. There are valuable lessons to be learned at both policy and practical levels for other countries, and in particular those like the UK and US with large Caribbean populations.
Publisher: Zed Books Ltd
Number of pages: 272
Weight: 349 g
Dimensions: 215 x 135 x 16 mm
'This very welcome book provides a unique insight into smaller countries' attempts to shape their policy and response to drugs in the context of national, regional and international imperatives.' Gerry Stimson, Imperial College, London 'About a century ago a few colonial countries plus the USA designed a system of prohibiting drugs that now can be considered a major problem for human rights and state sovereignty. This book's useful analysis of the unintended consequences in the Caribbean transit zone of prohibition as drug 'control' may help bring about a much needed review of the system.' Peter Cohen, University of Amsterdam 'A refreshing look at how the criminalization of ganja has driven a wedge between society and the state in the Caribbean, and how the prosecution of possession fills up the gaols while the differential application of the law allows traffickers to go free. The book is realistic in acknowledging the irresistible pressure from North America and Europe to stop the trafficking through these countries but cogently makes the point that this should not drive domestic policy into more and more punitive responses.' Cindy Fazey, University of Liverpool 'This book fills a major gap, providing substance abuse researchers, clinicians, policy makers, and general readers on both sides of the Atlantic with a collection of interesting and provocative essays. I highly recommend it.' James A. Inciardi, University of Delaware 'Provides a useful introduction and examination of key policy issues raised by illicit drugs and their considerable impact on Caribbean societies...the book would be useful in courses like Drugs and Society or those on Cultures of the Caribbean.' Merrill Singer, Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 'It offers a unique quasi-Historical-Comparative (H-C) analysis of illicit drug use, its production, and transshipment across Caribbean countries and beyond...offer readers a thorough review of the contemporary challenges and opportunities enacting an effective Caribbean drug policy entails. The editors show great diligence in outlining social, economic, political, and historical Caribbean realities which few texts currently offer; a practice which surely will keep audiences engaged...The editors of Caribbean Drugs set out to dismantle centuries old stereotypes surrounding illicit drug use in Caribbean region. To this end, they were successful.' Wilson R. Palacios, Journal of Ethnicity in Criminal Justice
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