Making Democracy Work

2010 LWVCA Study: Illegal Drugs In SC

Background and reports of LWVCA's Study of Illegal Drugs in South Carolina, concluded in 2010.

Study Background

Study Purpose and Objectives: In order to understand how the U.S. drug prohibition policy affects drug use and related crime in South Carolina, the League of Women Voters of the Charleston Area (LWVCA) did a year-long study on the subject from 2009-2010. Our local League (as well as the state and national Leagues) did not have positions on drug laws prior to that time. We undertook the study to educate ourselves thoroughly on the subject, and after much consideration of the results, the LWVCA adopted the positions shown below by consensus.

Study Content: Review and evaluation of (1) the history of drug laws in SC; (2) the effects of current laws and policies governing the sale and use of illegal drugs, including their effects on young people, African Americans, and the general public; (3) medical care and public health; (4) the social and economic costs of relying on prohibition, law enforcement, and incarceration to counter drug use and sales; and (5) possible alternatives to current policies.

Study Chair: Sharon Fratepietro, contact at #843-670-3077

Drug Study Report

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Complete Drug Study Report - "Mapping the Elephant" - This 110-page study includes charts, graphs, and the full findings.

Drug Study Summary - This 21-page summary provides highlights of the full report.

LWVCA Positions on Illegal Drug Policy

- Advocate for prisoner rehabilitation programs in South Carolina prisons and jails.

- Advocate for LWVSC's policy positions on illegal drugs: Illegal drug use should be considered a public health issue. Drug use and addiction should be addressed by substance abuse treatment and education programs instead of incarceration.
Note: In 2011, the League of Women Voters of South Carolina adopted the preceding position, which supercedes positions previously adopted by the LWVCA and mentioned at the end of the drug study report.