Responding to the Obama Administration’s latest national drug control strategy, leading drug policy reform advocates assailed the president for “prioritizing low-level drug arrests” over other policies that even the White House has acknowledged to be more effective in boosting public health and safety.
In an introductory statement (PDF) issued Tuesday, President Barack Obama wrote that his strategy outlines “A Drug Policy for the 21st Century“ that emphasizes addiction treatments over incarceration and life-saving outreach over harsh law enforcement. The White House website even brags about the effectiveness of harm-reduction strategies over mass incarcerations, saying the approach is “grounded in decades of research and scientific study.”
“There is overwhelming evidence that drug prevention and treatment programs achieve meaningful results with significant long-term cost savings,” the Office on National Drug Control Policy claims. “In fact, recent research has shown that each dollar invested in an evidence-based prevention program can reduce costs related to substance use disorders by an average of $18.”
By implementing a drug control strategy that acknowledges the growing body of knowledge on how to mitigate the worst effects of substance abuse, “we will not only strengthen our economy but also sustain the national character and spirit that has made the United States a world leader,” Obama’s statement explains.