A new drug policy begins in our own hearts. —Sher Horosko, The Drug Policy Foundation Newsletter, 1998

Illicit drugs cause social problems; licit drugs, it seems, solve them. Illicit drug use signals nonconformity; licit drug use represents compliance with cultural norms. Illicit drug use among women-especially women of color-is a political shorthand by which our culture anxiously encodes notions of social decay and deviance. “The birth of a drug-damaged child is not only a tragedy; it can also be considered a crime against humanity.”1 As I have amply demonstrated, by this calculus, women’s crimes outweigh men’s. My work began from a sense that public discourse on drugs revealed deeply held governing mentalities about women as political persons.