Tuesday, May 11, 2010

White House Releases New National Drug Strategy

The official press statement.

The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
May 11, 2010

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, President Obama released the Administration’s inaugural National Drug Control Strategy, which establishes five-year goals for reducing drug use and its consequences through a balanced policy of prevention, treatment, enforcement, and international cooperation.   The Strategy was developed by the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) with input from a variety of Federal, State, and local partners.

“This Strategy calls for a balanced approach to confronting the complex challenge of drug use and its consequences,” said President Obama. “By boosting community-based prevention, expanding treatment, strengthening law enforcement, and working collaboratively with our global partners, we will reduce drug use and the great damage it causes in our communities.  I am confident that when we take the steps outlined in this Strategy, we will make our country stronger and our people healthier and safer.”

The 2010 Strategy highlights a collaborative and balanced approach that emphasizes community-based prevention, integration of evidence-based treatment into the mainstream health care system, innovations in the criminal justice system to break the cycle of drug use and crime, and international partnerships to disrupt transnational drug trafficking organizations.  

During a nationwide listening tour soliciting input for the development of the Strategy, National Drug Policy Director Gil Kerlikowske met with police and medical professionals, drug treatment providers and people in recovery, elected officials, corrections officials, academics, parents groups, faith leaders, and others.  Throughout the consultation process, significant themes emerged which connect the drug issue to major Administration policy priorities, including the economy, health care reform, youth development, public safety, military and veterans’ issues, and foreign relations.

“In following President Obama’s charge to seek a broad range of input in the Strategy, I gained a renewed appreciation of how deeply concerned Americans are about drug use,” said Director Kerlikowske. “It touches virtually all of us, whether we know a family member, a friend, or a colleague who suffers from addiction or is in recovery, a police officer working to protect the community, or a parent striving to keep a child drug free,” said Director Kerlikowske.

The 2010 Strategy establishes five-year goals to reduce drug use and its consequences, including:

• Reduce the rate of youth drug use by 15 percent;
• Decrease drug use among young adults by 10 percent;
• Reduce the number of chronic drug users by 15 percent;
• Reduce the incidence of drug-induced deaths by 15 percent; and
• Reduce the prevalence of drugged driving by 10 percent.

In addition, the Strategy outlines three significant drug challenges on which the Administration will specifically focus this year: prescription drug abuse, drugged driving, and preventing drug use.  Prescription drug abuse is the Nation’s fastest growing drug problem, driving significant increases of drug overdoses in recent years.   Drugged driving poses threats to public safety, as evidenced by a recent roadside survey which found that one in six drivers on weekend nights tested positive for the presence of drugs.  Preventing drug use before it starts is the best way to keep America’s youth drug-free.  In addressing each of these issues, the Strategy outlines a research-driven, evidence-based, and collaborative approach.

New Strategy elements also include a focus on making recovery possible for every American addicted to drugs through an expansion of community addiction centers and the development of new medications and evidence-based treatments for addiction.  Continued support for law enforcement, the criminal justice system, disrupting domestic drug traffic and production, working with partners to reduce global drug trade, and innovative community-based programs, such as drug courts, play a critical role in reducing American drug use and its effects.

For more information about the 2010 National Drug Control Strategy visit www.whitehousedrugpolicy.gov.

Photo Credit: http://www.whitehouse.gov

1 comment:

Dr. Agresti said...

This new strategy really is good news, and I'm especially happy about the 3 areas the administration intends to focus on. Indeed, prescription drug abuse is one of the most common issues I see come into my facility, and it has a variety of alarming causes. In my opinion, focusing on building up the health care system will alleviate quite a few of these issues. Better and more affordable health care will make it easier for seniors to get the medications they need without breaking their banks, which will likely reduce the number of seniors who've turned to selling prescription drugs to make extra money. Improving health care will also make it possible for more addicts to get serious help and kick the habit for good. This kind of service should be available to all Americans. Addiction can become a serious and even infectious condition just like many other medical conditions, and Americans should not be left on their own to try and pay for complete recovery. I believe we as health care providers can work with the Administration on this to create a common-ground approach to helping the entire population of addicts fully recover - they will have to give of their time and effort, but in exchange we'll ensure they become drug-free for good.

Prevention is also key. The starting age of drug use is getting younger and younger, and I fear it has a lot to do with how parents today attempt to shelter their children. We will have to start educating our youth about the dangers of drug abuse and addiction at an earlier age instead of trying to protect them because we feel they're too young to understand or witness this often graphic part of life. The truth is that children these days are much smarter than adults give them credit for, and much more capable of understanding danger, right and wrong even as early as 6 and 7 years old than they once were. Parents, teachers and other adults in authority (and even older siblings) will have to stop neglecting this part of a child's education and stop being afraid to talk to younger children about the dangers and consequences of drug abuse. How else are we to fight the growing problem if we don't?

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