Thursday, February 4, 2010

New approach or more of the same?

On Monday,  the Office of National Drug Control Policy announced its 20100 budget proposal.  I had hoped new leadership in the White House would mean a new approach to drug policy --  one that focused on reducing drug-related harm, rather than on failed interdiction, law enforcement, and criminal justice approaches. Indeed, the press release announcing the budget proposal says:

"Funding for prevention measures under the President's proposal would increase 13.4 percent over the level of funding for the current fiscal year, and expenditures for treatment programs would be increased by 3.7 percent."

This is a step in the right direction, but with a total increase of 3.5%, one wonders just how many dollars are being wasted on failed drug war policies --  policies that do little stop the flow of drugs but do have a deleterious effect on our neighbors to the south.   I had hope for bolder leadership from the new drug czar, Kerlikowske.  Let's hope he's just getting started.


  1. Julie,
    As you know, I've worked in criminal justice for many years and have no doubt that the "war" on drugs will never be won if kept in the criminal justice area. We should decriminalize all drugs, if not legalize, and take the money and use on education, prevention and treatment. I'm sure it will cost less and be more effective. Hopefully someday we'll have the leadership that will move in that direction instead of taking the popular political stance. dad

  2. to answer your initial question: more of the same.