Law and Philosophy

, Volume 36, Issue 4, pp 345–366 | Cite as

Drug Proscriptions as Proxy Crimes

  • Douglas HusakEmail author


Our drug policy has been widely deemed a failure because the criminalization of drug use has not succeeded in reducing prevalence rates. I contend that the most promising basis to defend the justifiability of drug offenses is to construe them as proxy crimes: offenses designed to prevent the commission of other, more serious crimes. I make a case that many law enforcement officials use drug proscriptions for this purpose in the real world. When construed as proxy crimes, drug prohibitions are less vulnerable to some of the familiar objections brought against their legitimacy. Nonetheless, the justification for punishing those who violate drug proscriptions remains unpersuasive.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Rutgers UniversityNew BrunswickUSA

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