Project Outline: Illicit Substance Abuse Policy and its Impacts on Labor Outcomes

Supervised by: Matt Saleh, Maja Anderson
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Project Summary: This research project delves into the interplay between legal frameworks, societal attitudes towards illicit substance use, and their impact on labor outcomes. Specifically, I aim to  compare policies and outcomes across the United States, the United Kingdom, Norway, and Mexico to understand how different legal systems and social values affect laborers' access to fair employment, government safety nets, and overall economic well-being. Each country represents a unique case study due to variations in substance use patterns, drug trade structures, and legal approaches to substance abuse.

Work to be Undertaken: The research will employ comparative analysis across selected countries, focusing on incarceration impacts on employment, differing theoretical purposes of punishment, and economic structures' influence on substance abuse policies. Community engagement with organizations like the Alcohol and Drug Council of Tompkins County will provide firsthand insights from affected individuals and aid in understanding the social and labor repercussions of drug-related convictions. Interviews with staff and community members will be instrumental in gauging the evolving societal attitudes towards substance abuse and its implications on labor outcomes.

Planned Research Impact: Potential impacts of this research include the creation of evidence-based policy recommendations for legal reform in relation to drug-related incarceration; these policies and legal attitudes will be selected based on their predicted impact on ensuring safety, reducing recidivism, optimizing opportunities for re-integration, increasing access to stable employment, etc. Policies and changes will be suggested on an international, federal, and city level (in relation to how individual communities can provide programs that promote harm-reduction, recovery, re-integration, etc. strategies and resources).

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