Obama Stresses Treatment in New US Drug Policy

Posted April 18th, 2012 at 3:00 am (UTC-5)
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The Obama administration says its new policy to curb illicit drug use will focus more on prevention and treatment, and less on mass arrests and incarceration of drug offenders.

The new strategy was announced Tuesday by Gil Kerlikowske, the director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. Kerlikowske says the

policy will approach drug addiction as a treatable disease rather than a crime, and bring an end to what he calls the “revolving door” of drug use, crime, incarceration and rearrest.

Kerlikowske says it is time to realize the U.S. simply cannot “arrest our way out of the drug problem.”

The new policy is being implemented as illicit drug use in the United Sates is declining. Kerlikowske's office issued a report Tuesday showing cocaine use has dropped 40 percent between 2006 and 2010, along with a 50 percent decline in methamphetamine use.

U.S. President Barack Obama was challenged on the decades-long U.S.-led “war on drugs” by Latin American leaders during last week's Summit of the Americas in Colombia. Mr. Obama rejected calls by Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and other leaders to legalize drugs, who argued that it is a more effective and less expensive alternative to the U.S.-led “war on drugs.”