White House Report Asks to Focus on Drug Addiction Treatment Rather Than Prison Sentences

White House Report Asks to Focus on Drug Addiction Treatment Rather Than Prison Sentences

A new report, presented by members of the Obama Administration, calls for Congress to focus more on the prevention and treatment of drug addiction than severe incarceration of drug offenders. The report was presented by Director Gil Kerlikowske of the Office of National Drug Control Policy Focus, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius.

The administration’s 2012 National Drug Control Strategy encourages our government to focus on the cure rather than the punishment. Their suggestions hope to break the cycle of addiction and crime. They stress that drug abuse is a treatable and preventable disease. As more individuals are treated, less will be involved in the illegal exchange of drugs in America and across international borders.

A New Approach to Drug Prosecution

Kerlikowske says that drug incarceration policies are outdated. The new strategy emphasizes changes that will stop the cycle of addiction. Rather than merely sending offenders behind bars, this plan hopes to get offenders into treatment programs.

The proposal also mentions fostering more youth outreach programs about drugs and involving healthcare professionals in prevention and treatment. The proposal is backed by recent research explaining how recent findings in neuroscience are helping predict, prevent, and treat addiction.

The report stresses that drug addiction can be treated and prevented. With proper treatment, not only can offenders be given a chance to overcome their dangerous addiction, but it will lower the number of individuals involved in drug traffic.

Treatment Reduces Drug Traffic

Kerlikowske stresses that a focus on treating criminals for drug addiction will eventually help diminish the demand for drugs overall. Drug offenders who are imprisoned without treatment may return to the streets and repeat their cycle of addiction.

With proper treatment programs, some individuals may be able to escape from the world of drugs for the rest of their life. In having their addiction treated, they will be protecting the lifetimes of multiple others who may have shared in their drug addiction.

Timely Topic

The new report comes on the heels of an international meeting in Colombia that addressed the need for controlling violence and crime spurred by drug sale and possession. National leaders at the Summit of the Americas vowed to find strategies to combat drug use.

The new National Drug Control Strategy supports the efforts of other nations in the war on drugs. It also pledges to improve border security to help prevent the narcotic problem from spreading from country to country.

The administration hopes to procure $10 billion specifically for drug addiction treatment and education programs. In addition, they have requested $3.7 billion to combat smuggling and $9.4 billion for law enforcement.

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