dr. joycelyn elders and the war on drugs

Project Description:

after the nancy reagan slogan, “just say no,” and 12 years of republican administration efforts to fight illegal drug use and trafficking, on december 7, 1993, then attorney general dr. joycelyn elders mad a startling statement. in response to a reporter’s question, she indicated that, based on the experiences of other countries, the crime rate in united states might actually decrease if drugs were legalized. she conceded that she did not know all of the ramifications and suggested that perhaps some studies should be done.
the nation and especially the clinton administration were shocked to hear this statement. what hersy after all the efforts to control illegal drugs! of course, the white house immediately went on the defensive, making sure that everyone understood that president clinton was not in favor of legalizing drugs. and dr. elders had to clarify her statement; it was her personal opinion, not a statement of administration policy.

1. what decision situation did dr. elders identify? what specific values would be implied by choosing to study the legalization of drugs?
2. from a decision-making perspective, which makes more sense: nancy reagan’s “just say no” policy or elders’s suggestion that the issue of legalization be studied? why?
3. consider elders’s decision to suggest studying the legalization of drugs. was her decision to respond to the reporter the way she did a good decision with a bad outcome? or was it a bad decision in the first place?
4. why was elders’s suggestion a political hot potato for clinton’s administration? what, if any, are the implications for decision analysis in political situations?
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