Unbiased Analysis of Today's Healthcare Issues

End of the War on Drugs?

Written By: Jason Shafrin - May• 11•10

According to Businessweek:

President Barack Obama’s plan to fight drug abuse and trafficking proposes spending $15.5 billion next year and shifting the emphasis from fighting a war on drugs to treating the problem as a national health issue, the administration’s top drug-policy adviser said in an interview.

“It’s a disease, it’s diagnosable and it’s certainly something that can be treated — but it’s not a war,” said Gil Kerlikowske, director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.

Just because the President increased spending on drug treatment, however, does not mean that the war is over.  In fact, President Obama plans to increase spending on domestic law enforcement by “1.9 percent to $3.9 billion under the plan, with $579 million going to the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force.”  Plus, the U.S. still supports Colombian efforts to destroy cocaine growing plants in South America.  Drugs are still illegal and penalties for drug use–although moving gradually towards decriminalization in many states such as California–have not changed on the federal level.

Despite the rhetoric, the War on Drugs continues.

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2 Comments

  1. Lisa says:

    I like the cognitive shift from legal “war” to treatment of drug addiction, but the United States tends to underutilize the most cost efficient treatment we have for addiction: exercise. The UK is well known for utilizing exercise in the treatment of depression and addiction but sadly, the US has failed to follow through with the extensive body of research on exercise and addiction. The cost offset of using exercise in treatment programs would be so enormous that it may pay for this bill on it’s own!

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