Gil Kerlikowske on the Drug War

from the Drug Czar’s “blog

These consultations, across the country and across government, helped highlight an important truth — that public safety isn’t the only thing threatened by drug use; drugs also pose an extremely complex and dynamic challenge to public health. And the public safety community cannot bear the full weight of addressing drug use and its consequences. The result of our engagement with the American people is the Obama Administration’s National Drug Control Strategy — a shift in how we address drug control, by restoring balance in our efforts and treating drug addiction as a brain disease rather than a moral failing.

Tourette syndrome is a brain disease. That doesn’t mean we arrest everyone who says “fuck.”

Despite recent calls to do so, legalizing drugs is not the answer. Our opposition to legalization is not born out of a culture-war or drug-war mentality. It is born out of the recognition that our drug problem is a major public health threat, and that drug addiction is a preventable and treatable disease. Already drug use — legal and illegal — is the source of too many of our Nation’s problems. Why would we implement policies that would make these problems worse?

As President Obama said — we’ve made huge strides in reducing smoking, drunk driving, and other public health problems through a policy approach that stresses prevention and changing public attitudes about dangerous behavior. There’s no reason we can’t build on those successes and achieve the same results with drug use and its consequences.

We can’t change public attitudes about dangerous behavior as long as we give the control of it to criminals.

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