White House Drug Policy Shifts Towards Treatment

Written by Eliza Player on Wednesday, 18 April 2012. Posted in Breaking News, Treatment

Treating Addiction

The White House believes that the U.S. government's drug strategy should focus more on treating addiction and less on imposing harsh prison sentences. According to CNN.com, drug czar Gil Kerlikowske said, "Outdated policies like mass incarceration of nonviolent drug offenders are relics of the past that ignore the need for a balanced public health and safety approach to our drug problem."

The annual report to Congress calls for a "new national approach," that would include criminal justice reforms aimed at stopping the revolving door of drug use, crime, incarceration, and re-arrest. This new policy reflects the well-supported belief that addiction is a disease, and we cannot simply arrest such a problem away. Treating addicts will not only help reduce crime, but it will also reduce the demand for drugs.

The report "outlines ways to break the cycle of drug use, crime, incarceration, and re-arrest by diverting nonviolent drug offenders into treatment, bolstering support for re-entry programs that help offenders rejoin their communities and advancing support for innovative enforcement programs proven to improve public health while protecting public safety."

The policy office also claimed that overall drug use has declined in the last 30 years, showing figures for a sharp drop in cocaine and amphetamine use. (Although, I would personally argue that prescription drug abuse is at an all-time high, and heroin use is steadily rising, especially among young people.) President Obama warns that young people have changed their perceptions about the dangers of drugs, which could lead to an increase in future drug use.

It is about time that we started to look at treating addiction, rather than simply locking it away.

About the Author

Eliza Player

Eliza Player

I have been writing as long as I can remember, even carrying tattered notebooks with me through the streets and strip clubs of New Orleans, in the midst of my heroin addiction. I lived a life saturated in heroin until Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans, leaving me to fend for myself, eventually facing my demons and coming face to face with my addiction. I have been clean for five years, and since then I have become a mother, graduated college, and started a writing career. I have a B.A. in Mass Media Communication, with a minor in Journalism. I have also written one published book, Through Both Hell and High Water: A Memoir of Addiction and Hurricane Katrina, which tells the story of those dark days I spent in New Orleans after the storm, battling with addiction amidst a natural disaster. I am the blogger and news curator for RecoveryNowTV, and I love sharing the stories of the world, as well as my own personal journey, with my readers. I hope that my words can touch others out there, struggling with addiction.

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