The Obama Administration has announced a new policy for fighting drug abuse; one that emphasizes treatment over incarceration.
The plan will use public health tools to address the root causes of drug use and abuse, and divert offenders to rehabilitation programs.
Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske will be releasing the full plan at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.
“We know that if drug treatment is done early it is usually more effective, and it’s usually less costly than longer term, because drug addiction is a progressive disease,” Kerlikowske told The Associated Press in an interview ahead of Wednesday’s announcement.
The strategy also includes a greater emphasis on criminal justice reforms that include drug courts and probation programs aimed at reducing incarceration rates. It also will include community-based policing programs designed to break the cycle of drug use, crime and incarceration while steering law enforcement resources to more serious offenses, according to details of the strategy released by Kerlikowske’s office.
“I think the important part is that a lot of criminal justice experts and police chiefs and sheriffs — my colleagues for many years and myself included — recognize that with a drug problem you can’t arrest your way out of the problem, and so we really need to be smart on the drug problem,” Kerlikowske, a former Seattle police chief, said.
The War on Drugs has been ineffective and expensive, exploding our nation’s prison population.
And it’s been particularly harmful to the black community. According to NewsOne, 45 percent of black prisoners are incarcerated for drug offenses, and black women are more than twice as likely to be imprisoned because of drugs than white women.
An overhaul to our nation’s drug policies has been LONG overdue.
Do you agree with Obama’s new strategy for dealing with America’s drug abuse problem?
Thoughts on the failed War on Drugs?
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