This morning, President Obama nominated Gil Kerlikowske, the director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, to be the Customs Commissioner. Kerlikowske has been an unimaginative drug czar, often invisible. His departure is good news for drug policy.
This year, exactly three decades after both Democrats and Republicans first focused on creating the office that today leads drug policy efforts, both parties should co-lead today's drug challenges based on what we know can work.
Though the White House's new National Drug Control Strategy embraces specific policy options counter to those of the past thirty years, it differs little from its predecessor on fundamental issues of budget and drug policy paradigm.
President Obama spoke for millions when he said drug use should be treated as a health issue instead of a criminal justice issue. He has failed, however, to change the drug war budget in a meaningful way.
Having spent eleven years in the Office of National Drug Control Policy, I can say that in contradiction to a recent report, we have little reason to believe that America has reached a turning point in the war on drugs.