: Drug Policy Reform
Drug Policy Reform
The Obama Administration’s New Drug Control Strategy
Forty years after President Richard Nixon first declared that drug abuse was "public enemy number one," the Obama administration has announced an end to the so-called "war on drugs" approach to drug policy. Recognizing that America will never be able to arrest its way out of the drug problem, the administration’s newly announced drug policy strategy shifts away from a law enforcement only approach to a drug policy recognizing that America’s drug problem is a public health issue—not just a criminal one. It outlines significant reforms aimed at treating drug addiction as a chronic disease instead of a “moral” failure.
Even though overall drug use is down, and the U.S. prison population declined for the first time in 40 years, more than 7 million people remain under the supervision of the criminal justice system. Of these, more than 2 million are behind bars. Making matters worse, drug-induced deaths now claim more lives than gun violence, and prescription drug abuse has been declared an epidemic. Will these reforms really break the vicious cycle of drug use, crime, incarceration, and rearrest in America?
Please join the Center for American Progress for a discussion with Gil Kerlikowske, the director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, as he lays out the Obama administration’s new national drug control strategy.
R. Gil Kerlikowske, Director, Office of National Drug Control Policy
Neera Tanden, President, Center for American Progress