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Laws and Legal Issues

Federal And State Laws, Peyote: Legal And Sacred, Legal Or Illegal?, Criticism Of The Drug War

It is illegal to manufacture, distribute, possess, or use hallucinogens in the United States—with rare exceptions. A few of the substances are approved for medical prescription and, in a few U.S. states, for ceremonial use by Native Americans. Violations of drug laws can result in heavy fines and jail or prison sentences.

Nationally, drug laws and government policies attack the substance abuse problem from different angles. They seek to educate young people about drug use and abuse. They fund studies examining the use and effects of substance abuse. They support drug law enforcement efforts, which attempt to intercept drug trafficking at the borders and within the country. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), a Department of Justice division created in 1973, is the chief enforcer of U.S. drug laws.

For years, some people have argued that there is no good reason to ban certain hallucinogens. They reason that alcohol consumption, which is legal (subject to age laws and consumption limitations), is more dangerous to individuals and to society.

Additional topics

Science EncyclopediaCommon Street Drugs