26 May White House Strategy for Tackling the Drug Problem: Is It Enough?
Gil Kerlikowske, White House drug czar, is not wrong when he points the finger at Americans as being involved in the drug abuse problem. According to a report in the Christian Science Monitor, the United States is a disproportionate global drug abuser.
One of the reasons the drug war is so intense in Mexico is because there is so much money flowing out of the U.S. in drug transactions. While this country has merely 5 percent of the world’s population, it consumes two-thirds of the world’s illicit drugs.
Kerlikowske noted that most people probably know a family member, a colleague or a friend who is affected by this in one way or another. As a result of this growing problem, the Obama administration has laid out its five-year strategy for fighting against the growing tide.
The plan emphasizes drug prevention and treatment and notes the U.S. must make more headway on reducing the demand for drugs if it is to make progress in the war on drugs. The administration has already proposed a 13 percent increase in spending on prevention programs and a nearly 4 percent increase for treating addiction.
Statistics from the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University in New York show that 80 percent of felony inmates and juvenile arrestees are connected to drug or alcohol abuse in some way.
The administration’s plan calls for special attention to the fastest-growing drug problem – abuse of prescription drugs and the rise in overdose deaths. The Office of National Drug Control Policy wants to help more states set up databases to track doctors who over prescribe addictive painkillers.
While this plan is necessary, the real question is whether or not it will be effective and if it is enough to make a dent in the national problem. Many contend that more of the money spent on the drug problem must be moved from law enforcement to prevention, education, and treatment.
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