White House 2013 National Drug Strategy Released

The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP — the drug czar's office) released its 2013 National Drug Control Strategy Wednesday. The strategy is being billed as a "21st Century Approach" to drug use and trafficking, but despite some rhetorical softening maintains the US hard-line approach to the issue.

"The president has outlined his vision of an America built to last — where an educated, skilled workforce has the knowledge, energy and expertise to compete in the global marketplace. Yet — for far too many Americans — that vision is limited by drug use, which not only diminishes the potential of the individual, but jeopardizes families, communities and neighborhoods," ONDCP wrote on a blog post announcing the strategy's release and touting reductions in cocaine and prescription drug abuse as progress made.

"Today we are releasing a science-driven plan for drug policy reform in America to build upon this progress," ONDCP continued. "This 21st century drug policy outlines a series of evidence-based reforms that treat our nation's drug problem as a public health issue, not just a criminal justice issue. This policy underscores what we all know to be true: we cannot arrest or incarcerate our way out of the drug problem."

The strategy emphasizes treatment and prevention, but despite the rhetoric, the Fiscal Year 2014 federal drug budget it accompanies continues to be imbalanced, with 58% of federal anti-drug spending directed at law enforcement and interdiction efforts. That figure does mark a decline from previous years, but only a marginal one.

And even its emphasis on treatment also includes punitive criminal justice elements, such as its embrace of the drug court system, where drug-addicted people are subjected to legal sanctions for such addiction-related behaviors as failing a drug test or missing an appointment. That has some drug reformers calling foul.

"The administration says drug use is a health issue but then advocates for policies that put people in the criminal justice system," said Bill Piper, director of national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance. "Until the drug czar says it is time to stop arresting people for drug use, he is not treating drug use as a health issue no matter what he says. I know of no other health issue in which people are thrown in jail if they don't get better."

While much of the strategy is little more than the same old same old, the strategy does call for expanded access to naloxone, a low-cost antidote that can reverse the effects of opioid overdoses. That is in response to the rapid growth in prescription drug overdose deaths in recent years.

"Director Kerlikowske should be applauded for taking steps to reduce drug overdose fatalities, but he's not doing much to reduce drug arrests or the many other problems associated with treating drug use through the criminal justice system," said Piper.

But while the drug strategy shows flexibility in its efforts to deal with fatal drug overdoses, it maintains a staunch opposition to marijuana reform and includes attacking outdoor and indoor marijuana cultivation as one of its key goals.

"The administration's continued opposition to marijuana law reform shows they're not serious about reforming US drug policy," said Piper. "At the very least they should stop getting in the way of states that are trying to improve public health and safety by regulating marijuana like alcohol."

– Article originally from Stop the Drug War, used with permission.



  1. Anonymous on

    This approach is the same closed minded fascist thinking as usual, but with an additional boast added to the dust jacket: “21st century approach”.  I’d love to see the ‘science’ that supports these extremely ignorant drug laws that were enacted to protect decent Americans from the evil influence of the degenerate races; all the scientific studies I’ve seen as well as TV ‘locked up” shows, and reports from users, doctors, and police show that alcohol is far more harmful than marijuana- so is alcohol their new focus because it’s where the most improvement can be made in public health? Is the recent decline in tobacco smoking because they banned tobacco, or was it due to having a more regulated and honest legal tobacco market?     

  2. Rev: DJG on

    he saz he took quite a few hits and did inhale but he cant run a country under tha infleuance of it 

    didnt stop george washington or lincoln it was mandatory people had to grow some in there gardens 

    it was law


    jah rastafari black jesus 

    you wanna beleive in white jesus christ he used about 9 pounds in his holy annointing oil recipe

    is religion constational i think so as is keneh bosem {cannabis} constational

  3. Anonymous on

    X fuking Zakly

  4. Rider on

    When more than half the country wants something legalized in a democracy it should simply be done.  This only shows that the US government doesn’t care about what its people want.  It is a government of the 1% for the 1% by the 1%.

  5. Cliff on

    Obama is for sale to the highest bidder. He is bought and paid for just like the Bush before him. The Obama puppet is no diferent than the Bush puppet except he is so much more boring. Obama is not the answer to the problems, he is part of the problem.

  6. InnocentToker on

    Obama is a liar. He is a 2 faced bogart. Everything he has said has turned into a lie or half truth at best. I had Hope and Change and now only hope for a change. He is no better than the rest who have been POTUS. He has had chance after chance to follow through with what he originally said. He throws EOs around like party favors yet turns a blind eye to an obvious win. His current political path is treasonous. The GOP is just as self-righteous and hypocritical. I dont see how the USA is ever going to return to We the People. We have allowed ourselves to be hijacked by corporations and government and now just mill around whining about the injustice.

  7. gstlab3 on

    shut up and die hater.


    Obama is a patsy stooge empty suit.

  8. Anonymous on

    your a dead nigger, radiations are not american

  9. gutrod on

    Obama wake up! Recent gun violence and terrorists acts on American soil is the new norm. There are enemies out there more worthy of pursuing that make pot smokers appear like angels.

    Get a grip. U 2 Harper.

  10. Anonymous on

    really dumb shit.

    how is the new strategy helping the hundreds of thousands of young black people in prison who were arrested only because they were smoking marijuana?

    the single mom who did nothing bad besides smoking marijuana?

    the old man who did nothing bad but smoking marijuana?



  11. Anonymous on

    really dumb shit.

    how is the new strategy helping the hundreds of thousands of young black people in prison who were arrested only because they were smoking marijuana?

    the single mom who did nothing bad besides smoking marijuana?

    the old man who did nothing bad but smoking marijuana?



  12. Anonymous on

    what idiot said that Obama would “come around” one he was re-elected? ME! Thank’s for nothing Mr. President.