Tuesday, May 11, 2010

New drug control strategy signals policy shift

By SAM HANANEL (AP) â€" 1 hour ago


(Brett adds - You can read the ONDCP 2010 Strategy report at -
http://www.whitehousedrugpolicy.gov/strategy/ and the ONDCP press
release is below)

WASHINGTON â€" President Barack Obama on Tuesday announced a
revised approach to "confronting the complex challenge of drug use and
its consequences," putting more resources into drug prevention and

The new drug control strategy boosts community-based anti-drug programs,
encourages health care providers to screen for drug problems before
addiction sets in and expands treatment beyond specialty centers to
mainstream health care facilities.

"By boosting community-based prevention, expanding treatment,
strengthening law enforcement and working collaboratively with our
global partners, we will reduce drug use and the great damage it causes
in our communities," Obama said. "I am confident that when we take the
steps outlined in this strategy, we will make our country stronger and
our people healthier and safer."

The plan â€" the first drug plan unveiled by the Obama White House
â€" calls for reducing the rate of youth drug use by 15 percent
over the next five years and for similar reductions in chronic drug use,
drug abuse deaths and drugged driving.

In an interview Monday, Gil Kerlikowske, the White House drug czar,
said, "It changes the whole discussion about ending the war on drugs and
recognizes that we have a responsibility to reduce our own drug use in
this country."

Kerlikowske criticized past drug strategies for measuring success by
counting the number of children and teens who have not tried marijuana.
At the same time, he said, the number of deaths from illegal and
prescription drug overdoses was rising.

"Us facing that issue and dealing with it head on is important,"
Kerlikowske said.

The new drug plan encourages health care professionals to ask patients
questions about drug use even during routine treatment so that early
intervention is possible. It also helps more states set up electronic
databases to identify doctors who are overprescribing addictive pain

"Putting treatment into the primary health care discussion is critical,"
Kerlikowske said.

The policy shift comes in the wake of several other drug policy reforms
since Obama took office. Obama signed a measure repealing a two-decade
old ban on the use of federal money for needle-exchange programs to
reduce the spread of HIV. His administration also said it won't target
medical marijuana patients or caregivers as long as they comply with
state laws and aren't fronts for drug traffickers.

Earlier this year, Obama called on Congress to eliminate the disparity
in sentencing that punishes crack crimes more heavily than those
involving powder cocaine.

Some drug reform advocates like the direction Obama is heading, but
question whether the administration's focus on treatment and prevention
programs is more rhetoric than reality at this point. They point to the
national drug control budget proposal released earlier this year, for
example, which continues to spend about twice as much money on
enforcement as it does on programs to reduce demand.

"The improved rhetoric is not matched by any fundamental shift in the
budget or the broader thrust of the drug policy," said Ethan Nadelmann,
executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, which favors drug policy

Nadelmann praised some of Obama's changes, but said he is disappointed
with the continued focus on arresting, prosecuting and incarcerating
large numbers of people.

Kerlikowske rejected that as "inside the Beltway discussion," and said
there are many programs that combine interdiction and prevention.

The drug control office's budget request does include a 13 percent
increase in spending on alcohol and drug prevention programs, along with
a 3.7 percent increase for addiction treatment.



ONDCP Press Release:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, May 11, 2010

President Obama Releases National Strategy To Reduce Drug Use and Its

New Balanced and Collaborative Approach Emphasizes Prevention,
Treatment, Enforcement, International Cooperation


WASHINGTON, DC - Today, President Obama released the Administration's
inaugural National Drug Control Strategy, which establishes five-year
goals for reducing drug use and its consequences through a balanced
policy of prevention, treatment, enforcement, and international
cooperation. The Strategy was developed by the Office of National Drug
Control Policy (ONDCP) with input from a variety of Federal, State, and
local partners.

"This Strategy calls for a balanced approach to confronting the complex
challenge of drug use and its consequences," said President Obama. "By
boosting community-based prevention, expanding treatment, strengthening
law enforcement, and working collaboratively with our global partners,
we will reduce drug use and the great damage it causes in our
communities. I am confident that when we take the steps outlined in this
Strategy, we will make our country stronger and our people healthier and

The 2010 Strategy highlights a collaborative and balanced approach that
emphasizes community-based prevention, integration of evidence-based
treatment into the mainstream health care system, innovations in the
criminal justice system to break the cycle of drug use and crime, and
international partnerships to disrupt transnational drug trafficking

During a nationwide listening tour soliciting input for the development
of the Strategy, National Drug Policy Director Gil Kerlikowske met with
police and medical professionals, drug treatment providers and people in
recovery, elected officials, corrections officials, academics, parents
groups, faith leaders, and others. Throughout the consultation process,
significant themes emerged which connect the drug issue to major
Administration policy priorities, including the economy, health care
reform, youth development, public safety, military and veterans' issues,
and foreign relations.

"In following President Obama's charge to seek a broad range of input in
the Strategy, I gained a renewed appreciation of how deeply concerned
Americans are about drug use," said Director Kerlikowske. "It touches
virtually all of us, whether we know a family member, a friend, or a
colleague who suffers from addiction or is in recovery, a police officer
working to protect the community, or a parent striving to keep a child
drug free," said Director Kerlikowske.

The 2010 Strategy establishes five-year goals to reduce drug use and its
consequences, including:

* Reduce the rate of youth drug use by 15 percent;
* Decrease drug use among young adults by 10 percent;
* Reduce the number of chronic drug users by 15 percent;
* Reduce the incidence of drug-induced deaths by 15 percent; and
* Reduce the prevalence of drugged driving by 10 percent.

In addition, the Strategy outlines three significant drug challenges on
which the Administration will specifically focus this year: prescription
drug abuse, drugged driving, and preventing drug use. Prescription drug
abuse is the Nation's fastest growing drug problem, driving significant
increases of drug overdoses in recent years. Drugged driving poses
threats to public safety, as evidenced by a recent roadside survey which
found that one in six drivers on weekend nights tested positive for the
presence of drugs. Preventing drug use before it starts is the best way
to keep America's youth drug-free. In addressing each of these issues,
the Strategy outlines a research-driven, evidence-based, and
collaborative approach.

New Strategy elements also include a focus on making recovery possible
for every American addicted to drugs through an expansion of community
addiction centers and the development of new medications and
evidence-based treatments for addiction. Continued support for law
enforcement, the criminal justice system, disrupting domestic drug
traffic and production, working with partners to reduce global drug
trade, and innovative community-based programs, such as drug courts,
play a critical role in reducing American drug use and its effects.

For more information about the 2010 National Drug Control Strategy,
watch a video message from R. Gil Kerlikowske, Director of National Drug
Control Policy, or visit www.whitehousedrugpolicy.gov.


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xyzseira said...

Addiction therapy strategies and the like are indeed needed by these victims of substance abuse. The earlier help they attain the swifter they can get rid of the vice.