Double Defaults: Behavioral Regulation of Cocaine

10 Pages Posted: 26 Feb 2016 Last revised: 3 Aug 2017

James A. Leitzel

University of Chicago

Date Written: August 3, 2017


Public policy towards some potentially addictive drugs such as cocaine and opium is highly coercive and punitive, even though the direct harms associated with these drugs generally fall upon the users themselves. Behavioral research has identified non-coercive methods to guide decision making, including the judicious selection of default settings. This brief paper suggests replacing drug prohibition with a regulated system that involves two levels of defaults for adult drug consumers. The defaults are designed to guide people towards abstinence, or, for the non-abstinent, into moderate drug consumption.

Keywords: drugs, cocaine, prohibition, defaults, licenses, waiting periods

JEL Classification: I18, K49, L50

Suggested Citation

Leitzel, James A., Double Defaults: Behavioral Regulation of Cocaine (August 3, 2017). Available at SSRN: or

James A. Leitzel (Contact Author)

University of Chicago ( email )

1101 East 58th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
United States
773-702-8555 (Phone)

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