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New High: A Future-Oriented Study of American Drug Policy

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[Technical Report, Master's Thesis]

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Drug policy in the United States is reactive and unprepared for burgeoning phenomena related to the convergence of drugs and technology. In the twenty-first century, innovations are disrupting society with unconventional rules. This thesis investigated how emerging technologies and global megatrends might converge to affect the future of United States drug policy. Through a scenarios-based future studies methodology, global megatrends and other nascent variables intertwine in two fictional scenarios to highlight regulatory and ethical challenges. Thesis findings underscore how it is critical for the United States to remain adaptable and identify general long-term, cyclical forces. Subsequently, it is imperative to analyze how these forces might influence the environment of illicit drug use before current regulatory drug frameworks become obsolete. Thesis findings recommend that the U.S. government decriminalize illicit drugs and transition drug policy from the domain of law enforcement to a strengthened public and behavioral healthcare system. Finally, this thesis also recommends the creation of a national biotech ethics committee and an office of the future.

Subject Categories:

  • Sociology and Law
  • Government and Political Science

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[A, Approved For Public Release]