Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

J. Sherwood Williams


The United states has been plagued with the problem of illicit drug use for many years. Drug abuse has continued to increase and is prevalent among all races and social classes of people. The question is what efforts have been or are being made in order to deter the influx of drugs into the country along with stopping the suppliers of these drugs and what has hindered the effectiveness of these efforts.

The theory of deterrence was applied to this problem because the model presumes that the punishment of criminal acts could deter potential offenders by making the negative consequences of crime greater than the rewards. The theory also assumes that people act, behave, or respond only after careful and rational consideration of the consequences of their actions.

The Drug Enforcement Administration provided the data for the research. Statistics revealed that during the years 1975 through 1986, the arrests of drug offenders steadily increased. The Data showed increased efforts in arrests; however, inconsistency was shown when it came to the conviction of the offender. Prison sentences were imposed in many cases, but showed no impact on deterring the drug offender. It was determined that if punishment was certain the deterrent effect should work.


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