Evidently, the war on drugs is over. At least, according to Gil Kerlikowske, a former police chief and President Barack Obama’s director of policy for national drug control. Kerlikowske is trying to reshape America’s attitude toward national and international drug policies.
He has even banished the term “war on drugs”.
The question is can this work. The U.S. Government believes so. They have gone so far as to modify the National Drug Control Strategy by approaching drug addiction as a disease of the brain, which is a methodology based on science. The Obama Administration will now work to prevent addiction and treat it as a disease from which people can recover.
A New Plan of Attack
This new line of attack will study the results of Latin America and their attempts in reducing the consequences of those abusing narcotics on an individual basis. Kerlikowske stated:
“The end of the ‘war on drugs’ does not mean we are giving up on our efforts or making dangerous, addictive drugs more easily available for abuse.”
Part of the reasoning for making these changes is due to the constant violence and rising prison population that is caused by illegal drug usage. Since 2006, there have been over 70,000 confirmed deaths contributed directly to drug-related violence in Mexico. This violence is now spilling into the U.S. In addition, the answer is not arresting all of the users and building more prisons to house them.
Would it not be better and more cost effective to treat the addiction and help the person get well? Well, that is the direction the U.S. is going. The government has spent more money on drug prevention and treatment than domestic law enforcement over the past four years.
Will The New Strategy Succeed?
Will this work, and is it working? The jury is still out. Cocaine usage is down a little bit, but heroin is on the rise. The abuse of prescription and psychoactive designer drugs has also seen a significant increase.
The “war on drugs” may not be as successful as desired, but is the new approach of prevention and treatment? The answer to this may not be truly realized for another 20 to 40 years. After all, it took 40 or so years to see that the war will not be won.