The New Drug Czar is Right, End The 'War on Drugs'
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The New Drug Czar is Right, End The 'War on Drugs'
Posted by CN Staff on May 15, 2009 at 15:37:16 PT
Seattle Times Editorial
Source: Seattle Times
Seattle, WA -- Former Seattle Police chief Gil Kerlikowske is making headlines by making clear the nation's new drug czar intends to scrap the frayed and fractious "war on drugs" for a fresher description.He is absolutely right, words do matter. The "war on terror" was more than hyperbole for the Bush administration, which used the phrase to invoke, and invent, all manner of executive powers and prerogatives the country is still learning about.
Kerlikowske, the Obama administration's director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, wants to promote treatment over sending drug users to jail: "Regardless of how you try to explain to people it's a 'war on drugs' or a 'war on product,' people see a war as a war on them," he told The Wall Street Journal. "We're not at war with the people in this country."Kerlikowske has his own long law-enforcement career to draw on, but he was also exposed to successful use of drug courts in King County, which work to steer those convicted toward help and away from being locked up. National experience with diversion and drug courts found them to be half as expensive as prison time.Resources for law enforcement and the bricks and mortar of jails and prisons is clearly an issue for the administration, and states and local governments around the country. Locking people away yielded dubious results at very high costs to public treasuries.The Obama administration already decided not to go after medical-marijuana facilities in states that changed local laws, laws in tension with federal regulations. The president campaigned on lifting a federal ban on needle-exchange programs that seek to reduce HIV infections.The United States is working through the consequences of three decades of policy that was no more creative than lock 'em up, forever. Columnist Neal Peirce has reported on an unintended consequence to prison reform: politically powerful unions representing tens of thousands of guards. Prisons are employment centers in many states.Kerlikowske raises important points about treatment versus incarceration as he assumes his new job. He will accomplish none of the good ideas  including banishing the war on drugs  without the steady support of his new boss, President Obama.Note: The nation's new drug czar, Gil Kerlikowske, wants to move federal policy toward treatment and away from incarceration. He begins with a good idea, scrap the "war on drugs" for a description that does not sound like the country is against its own citizens.Source: Seattle Times (WA)Published:  Friday, May 15, 2009 Copyright: 2009 The Seattle Times CompanyContact: opinion seatimes.comWebsite: Articles:Ending The War on Drugs: The Moment is Now House Czar Calls for End To War on Drugs
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Comment #4 posted by Hope on May 15, 2009 at 21:13:21 PT
Storm Crow Comment 1
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Comment #3 posted by mykeyb420 on May 15, 2009 at 21:11:34 PT
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Comment #2 posted by mykeyb420 on May 15, 2009 at 21:09:00 PT
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Comment #1 posted by Storm Crow on May 15, 2009 at 19:07:49 PT
A war on a product??? Sure................
 "Regardless of how you try to explain to people it's a 'war on drugs' or a 'war on product,' people see a war as a war on them,"Funny, I don't see any baggies of cannabis locked up in prison! As far as I can tell it is PEOPLE who end up as POWs in prison! And the gross racial and financial inequality during sentencing makes it a war on the poor with race playing a major role! 
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