Illegal substance abuse has been a problem in the United States for centuries. There have been several different strategies and theories attempting to stunt the amount of drugs being used, imported, and exported throughout the United States. Despite popular belief, over the past three decades there has been a legitimate reduction in illegal drug use in America, especially in regard to the younger generations.
President Obama’s drug czar, Gil Kerlikowske, is pushing a new national strategy for dealing with illegal substance abuse. Kerlikowske’s new plan stresses heavily on treatment, with a slightly lighter focus on the criminal penalties associated with illegal substance abuse. The White House is calling this new approach a strategy for the 21st century, focusing more on the scientific research behind drug addiction. This new strategy emphasizes drug addiction as a preventable disease.
Gil Kerlikowske, the president of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, recently met with clergy members of the First A.M.E church for a news conference explaining his drug control plan. Kerlikowske also pointed out to the members of the clergy that African Americans and Latinos disproportionately receive harsher sentences for drug related crimes, not only in terms of victimization, but also on arrests. Kerlikowske then shifted the focus onto the prescription drug problem that has been recently plaguing the United States. His outreach effort focuses on prescription drugs because, recently, prescription drugs have taken more American lives than heroine and cocaine overdoses combined. Throughout Obama’s time in office, his administration has given out over $300 million to hundreds of drug prevention programs throughout the United States. Overall, the Obama administration has allotted over $30 billion in federal funds for the education and treatment for illegal substance abuse. Kerlikowske stands fast in his belief that drug prevention and treatment programs can achieve considerable results with convincing long-term cost savings.
I agree with Kerlikowske’s new plan for dealing with illegal substance abuse, especially with the strategy involving prescription drug abuse. As a relatively new epidemic in the United States, I believe that this kind of drug abuse be seen more as a disease, with strong efforts going towards treatment programs. The fact that prescription drug overdose causes more deaths than heroine and cocaine overdoses combined is a startling statistic, which should speak volumes to the American people about the seriousness of this epidemic. I believe that it is also important to look at this substance abuse problem from a scientific perspective. With knowledge of drug abuse and treatment programs becoming more prevalent to the American people, it is important to stress that the problem of illegal drug abuse is a treatable condition.