Exploring Texas Policy Toward Narcotics
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Purpose: The general purpose of this research project is to explore state narcotics policy, with more in-depth research into the political and bureaucratic factors that influence Texas narcotic policies. This is accomplished through a case study of House Bill 1287, which requires Texas counties with a population exceeding 550,000 to establish drug court programs.
Method: After a review of relevant literature, a conceptual framework was developed, which allowed working hypotheses to be created and studied. Two working hypotheses were formed that examine narcotic policies at the state level. Working hypothesis one examines the political factors that influence drug policy and has two sub-hypotheses that further study the impact of political party and party competition on policy. Working hypothesis two considers the bureaucratic factors that influence drug policy and has three sub-hypotheses that give attention to the influences of state agency resources, federal agency involvement and the quantity and type of state agencies involved with drug policy. All hypotheses were tested using focused interviews and document analysis.
Findings: Based on the information obtained through both interviews and document analysis, mixed support was found for both working hypotheses, as well as all sub-hypotheses. While the documents showed strong support for political party affiliation, political party competition and federal agency involvement, the interviewees gave only mixed support for these points. Those interviewed agreed that agency resources, particularly an agency's budget, have a strong influence on substance abuse programs. According to this study, the influence least likely to impact narcotic policy is the number and types of state agencies. Although competition between agencies had been predicted, this proved to be totally unsupported by the interviews and only partially supported by the document analysis.