This year the Obama Administration allocated more money for drug prevention and treatment programs -- $10.1 billion -- than for U.S. law enforcement and incarceration. This Administration understands substance dependence is a public health issue, not just a law enforcement issue.
Our European counterparts acknowledge the horrific impact drugs have had on their societies, and they continue to pursue more rational policies. Next year, I hope we will join them to assess the damages both drug addiction and drug policy have cost our nation.
The Obama administration has adopted a mainstream approach to the drug problem, employing a balance of public health and safety approaches to reduce drug use and its consequences. All of these policies are grounded in science and research -- not politics or ideology.
In more than twenty years with the Los Angeles Police Department, where I retired as deputy chief of police, I saw a lot of puzzling behavior at close range. This week I saw some odd behavior from Google, YouTube and President Obama.
There is no simple, straightforward fix to America's drug problem. Successfully combating this social challenge requires an approach that blends drug treatment, smart law enforcement and alternatives to incarceration.
I do not believe drug policy reform should end with the legalization of marijuana. Yet, when asked to contribute a foreword to the new book Marijuana is Safer: So Why Are We Driving People to Drink, I eagerly accepted.
When approached in isolation, drug policy almost always backfires, because it doesn't take into account the powerful economic, social, and cultural forces that also determine how and why Americans get high.