The Battle Continues –
Oct. 16, 2018 – One of the best studies backing this is a 2014 review of the research by Peter Reuter at the University of Maryland and Harold Pollack at the University of Chicago. They found that while simply prohibiting drugs to some extent does raise their prices, there’s no good evidence that tougher punishments or harsher supply elimination efforts do a better job of driving down access to drugs and substance misuse than lighter penalties. So increasing the severity of the punishment doesn’t do much, if anything, to slow the flow of drugs.
This might defy intuition. Why don’t harsher punishments work? One big problem is that people simply don’t know how harsh the laws are. Just consider this for yourself: Can you say, off the top of your head, what the punishment for heroin trafficking is in your state or under federal law?